Growing Spring Onions
I have to go back at least 10 years when I first started to grow the Bunching, Spring onions or whatever you want to call them these days to satisfy a need for these little morsels on a regular basis in the kitchen. When you buy a bunch you invariably take 3 stems for the current meal and the rest go limp in the fridge by the time you want them so I decided there must be a better way when you grow them yourself and you pick fresh when the need arises.
I approached Fairbairn seed suppliers and purchased a pack (Javelin) of 100 gm, gave half to a friend to grow and the rest of the pack lasted me 10 years as I just ran out recently. Incidentally, that variety, imported from the USA is still sold by them today.
I took a styrene box about 50 cm long put a 13 mm poly pipe fitting 25mm above the inside bottom of the box as an overflow creating a 25 mm reservoir of nutrient in the base. The media was our standard perlite and the seed was spread evenly over the surface, watered in until the green shoots appeared and then I fed them several times a week with nutrient out of a watering can. How simple is that?
Today I have a more sophisticated arrangement, run 3 boxes continuously at various stages of growth, one ready for picking and the others at 3-month stages roughly which yields a generous supply all year round. Using a 50 x 30 cm styrene box with painted inside as they tend to leak, with drain plug, reservoir “T” poly fitting to give me a 25mm reserve of nutrient, a sheet of polyester fibre matt of about 200 gm / sq. meter and then filled with coarse perlite close to the top. This is followed by a layer 1 cm of fine perlite, seeds, and again a layer of fine perlite 1 cm thick. Water it in well and when the green shoots appear to switch on the nutrient flow as standard on all boxes.
Drain plug fitted to the box
25mm reserve of nutrient
Polyester matt 200gm/sq. meter
Filled with coarse perlite
Typical distribution of seed before covering
Close up of distribution
Different stages of growth above early and more mature.
Note the centre 25 mm Dia. feed pipes with 2 mm holes at a 5cm spacing at the bottom
Far box running the Bunching Onions
Notice the wire frame to hold the onions in a vertical position
Bunching Onions ready for picking