It’s spring and the garden or farmer’s market is brimming with fresh, tender, delicious veggies. One of the most versatile is the spring onion. Spring onions (Allium fistlosum) look much akin to scallions, but they have a small onion bulb at the base. They are a product of many different onion varietals and can be red or white. The bulb size varies depending upon when it is picked and what type of onion it is, but can be as small as a scallion or as wide across as a softball. It tastes like a muted version of the mature onion varietals, only with a much mellowed, sweeter flavor.
Care Of Spring Onions
Growing spring onions is easy and because they take up so little space and have a shallow root system, the plants can be tucked in here and there in the garden or into containers. You can buy seeds for sowing or if you had a previous crop, allow the seed heads to mature and then lop them off. Put the seed head in a paper bag and allow to dry for two weeks. Voila, you now have seeds. Store them in a cool, dry area. Sow the seeds indoors or out in a prepared bed. Spring onions like a soil pH of 6.0-7.0 in well-draining, humus rich soil and full sun exposure. Sow seed ¼ inch deep in rows 6 inches apart. Care of spring onions thereafter is minimal. Be sure to provide them with one inch of water per week depending upon rainfall. Feed them with a liquid fertilizer 2-3 times during the growing season. Keep the area around the onions weed free. You can keep growing spring onions year round either outside or in a greenhouse through succession planting every 3-4 weeks for a steady supply of this luscious allium. Your spring onions will be mature and ready to eat in between 8-12 weeks.
Uses For Spring Onions
Spring onions have a bolder flavor than scallions, however, so if you don’t want such an “oniony” burst, use the scallion. Spring onions are ideal on the grill, brushed lightly with olive oil and grilled to a charred exterior and a sweet, succulent inside. They also make a terrific sweet onion pickle “relish” that is sublime over hot dogs and brats. They are delicious sliced thin and sautéed or tossed into the wok.