How to Plant Spring Onions: Home-Gardening Instructions

Spring onions, with their mild and versatile flavor, are a delightful addition to various culinary dishes. Growing these crisp and flavorful onions at home not only ensures a fresh supply but also allows you to experience the joy of cultivating your own produce.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of planting spring onions, from selecting the right seeds to caring for them through different growing stages. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice enthusiast, these home-gardening instructions will help you cultivate vibrant and tasty spring onions!

Selecting Spring Onion Seeds

If you’re propagating, go ahead and skip to the next section. Here’s what to consider when picking seeds:

  • Variety: Spring onions come in various varieties, each with its unique flavor profile and growing characteristics. Common varieties include White Lisbon, Tokyo Long White, and Evergreen Bunching.
  • Seed Quality: Opt for high-quality seeds from reputable sources. Check the seed packet for information on germination rates and any specific requirements.
  • Growing Conditions: Choose seeds that are well-suited to your growing conditions, considering factors such as climate, soil type, and available sunlight.
  • Organic Options: If possible, choose organic or heirloom seeds to ensure a more natural and sustainable growing experience.

Planting Spring Onions from Seeds

  • Timing: Spring onions can be planted in early spring or late summer for a fall harvest. Check your local climate and planting zone for the best timing.
  • Prepare the Soil: Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. Spring onions prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. Work the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches, removing any debris or rocks.
  • Seed Depth: Plant the seeds about half an inch to an inch deep. Space the rows 12-18 inches apart to allow for proper growth.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during germination. Once the spring onions are established, water them regularly, ensuring the soil remains consistently damp.
  • Thin Seedlings: When the seedlings reach a height of 2-3 inches, thin them to provide adequate space for growth. Space the seedlings 2-3 inches apart within the row.

Propagating Green Onions from Scraps

One of the most exciting aspects of growing spring onions is the ability to propagate them from kitchen scraps! It’s a lot easier than you might think.

  • Select Healthy Scraps
      • Save the root ends of green onions after use. Choose scraps with intact roots and place them in a glass with enough water to cover the roots.
  • Place in Water
      • Position the glass on a sunny windowsill, allowing the green onion scraps to receive indirect sunlight. Change the water regularly, and you'll notice new green growth within a few days.
  • Transplanting
    • Once the green shoots have reached a suitable height (around 4-6 inches), transplant them into soil. Bury the roots, leaving the green shoots above the soil line.
  1. Seedling Stage
    • The seedlings will continue to grow, forming thin green shoots. At this stage, thin out the seedlings to ensure proper spacing.
  2. Bulb Formation
    • As the spring onions mature, they will start to form bulbs at the base. This process takes several weeks, and the bulbs will gradually swell in size.
  3. Maturation
    • Spring onions are typically ready for harvest 8-12 weeks after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. Harvest when the bulbs reach the desired size.

Caring for Growing Spring Onions

Ensuring the success of your spring onion crop involves ongoing care throughout the growing season. Here are some essential care tips:

  • Watering: Maintain consistent moisture in the soil. Water the spring onions regularly, especially during dry periods. However, avoid waterlogged conditions, as this can lead to root rot.
  • Soil Conditions: Use well-draining, fertile soil for planting. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost, to enrich the soil and provide essential nutrients.

The Growing Stages of Spring Onions

Understanding the different growing stages of spring onions is essential for proper care and maintenance. Here are the key stages to know:

Germination

This initial stage occurs when the seeds sprout, usually within 7-14 days after planting. Keep the soil consistently moist during this period.

Fertilization

Apply a balanced fertilizer or compost around the base of the spring onions every 4-6 weeks to provide essential nutrients.

Weeding

Keep the area around the spring onions free from weeds. Weeds compete for nutrients and can hinder the growth of your crop.

Pest Control

Keep an eye out for pests like onion thrips and aphids. If necessary, use organic insecticides or insecticidal soap to control infestations.

Mulching

Applying a layer of mulch around the spring onions helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

How to Harvest Spring Onions

Knowing when and how to harvest spring onions is crucial for maximizing flavor and tenderness. Follow these guidelines for a successful harvest:

  • Timing: Harvest spring onions when the bulbs reach the desired size, typically 1-1.5 inches in diameter. For green onions, you can start harvesting when the shoots are around 6-8 inches tall.
  • Gentle Pulling: To harvest, gently pull the spring onions from the soil. You can also use a small garden fork to lift the bulbs without damaging the surrounding plants.
  • Continuous Harvest: Spring onions are often harvested continuously. As you remove mature bulbs, new ones will continue to form, allowing for an extended harvest period!

How Long Do Green Onions Take to Grow?

The time it takes for green onions to grow depends on the variety, growing conditions, and the desired size at harvest. Generally, green onions can be ready for harvest in as little as 8-12 weeks after planting.

Get Ready to Garden!

Growing spring onions at home is a rewarding and fun hobby that allows you to enjoy fresh, flavorful produce right from your garden or containers. Whether you choose to propagate green onions from scraps or start from seeds, following these home-gardening instructions will help you cultivate healthy and vibrant spring onions.

Good luck!


Ants in Potted Plants: Why They Nest & How to Get Rid of Them

Potted plants bring natural beauty and a touch of the outdoors into our homes and gardens, but they can also attract unwanted visitors—ants. Discovering ants in your potted plants can be a frustrating experience, raising questions about why they choose to nest there and how to effectively eliminate them.

Keep reading to find out why ants might be nesting in your plant pots and learn practical solutions on how to stop ants from making your potted plants their home.

Why Ants Nest in Potted Plants

Before we explore solutions, it's crucial to understand why ants are attracted to potted plants in the first place:

  • Moisture: Ants are drawn to moisture, and potted plants offer a conducive environment with damp soil. Overwatering or improper drainage can create an attractive nesting spot for ants.
  • Food Sources: Ants are opportunistic foragers, and if your plants produce sugary substances like nectar or honeydew, ants will be enticed to build nests nearby to access these food sources.
  • Shelter: Potted plants provide shelter and protection for ant colonies. The soil and the base of the plant offer a hidden and secure location for ant nests.
  • Planting Medium: Certain potting soils or planting mediums may contain organic matter that attracts ants. They might nest in the soil to take advantage of the available resources.

Do Ants Harm Plants in Pots?

While ants themselves generally do not cause direct harm to plants, their presence can indirectly impact your potted plants:

Disturbing Roots

Ants can disturb the root system of plants while constructing their nests, potentially affecting the plant's overall health.

Aphid Farming

Some ant species "farm" aphids (small, sap-eating insects), protecting them from predators and "milking" them for honeydew. Aphids, in turn, feed on plant sap and can harm your plants.

Nesting Damage

Ants may create extensive tunnel systems within the soil, potentially leading to soil compaction and affecting water drainage.

How to Stop Ants Nesting in Your Plant Pots

Now that we understand why ants are attracted to potted plants, let's explore how to prevent them from nesting:

Improve Drainage:

Ensure proper drainage for your potted plants. Use pots with drainage holes, and use a well-aerated potting mix to prevent waterlogging.

Watering Practices:

Water your plants in the morning to allow the soil to dry out during the day so they’re less attractive to ants. Avoid overwatering. Excessively moist soil is an ideal nesting ground.

Natural Repellents:

Use natural repellents like cinnamon, peppermint oil, or diatomaceous earth on the soil surface. These substances create a barrier that ants are less likely to cross.

Remove Food Sources:

Regularly clean plant leaves to remove honeydew-producing pests like aphids. This reduces the incentive for ants to build nests in search of food.

Seal Entry Points:

Inspect your potted plants for any cracks, gaps, or holes in the pots, and seal them.

Elevate Pots:

Place your pots on stands or use pot feet to elevate them. This creates a physical barrier that makes it more challenging for ants to reach the soil.

Ant-Repelling Plants:

Introduce ant-repelling plants around your potted plants. Mint, basil, and tansy are examples.

Rotate Plant Locations:

If possible, rotate the locations of your potted plants. This disrupts any established ant trails and makes it harder for them to locate and nest in the same spot repeatedly.

How to Get Ants Out of Potted Plants: Step-by-Step Guide

If you've already discovered ants in your potted plants, follow these steps to effectively remove them. Hopefully the first few steps work, and you don’t have to make your way down the entire list:

  1. Identify the Ant Species
    • Knowing the specific species can help determine the most effective treatment.
  2. Disturb the Nest
    • Gently disturb the ant nest by loosening the top layer of soil. This disrupts the ants' nesting environment and makes them more likely to relocate.
  3. Use a Natural Ant Repellent
    • Apply a natural ant repellent around the pot's base. Mix equal parts vinegar and water or use a solution of lemon juice and water. Spray this mixture on the pot's surface to deter ants.
  4. Introduce Beneficial Insects
    • Introduce beneficial insects like nematodes or predatory beetles that feed on ant larvae. This natural approach helps control ant populations without harming your plants.
  5. Remove Aphids and Honeydew Producers
    • Remove any aphids or pests producing honeydew from your plants to eliminate potential food sources for ants.
  6. Apply Diatomaceous Earth
  • Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the base of your potted plants. Diatomaceous earth is a natural insecticide that works by dehydrating and ultimately killing ants. Reapply after rain or watering.
  1. Use Ant Baits
    • Place ant baits strategically around the affected area. Ant baits contain a slow-acting poison that ants carry back to their colony, effectively targeting the entire nest. Follow the instructions on the bait packaging for optimal results.
  2. Neem Oil Solution
    • Mix neem oil with water according to the product instructions. Neem oil has insecticidal properties and can deter ants from nesting in your potted plants.

Successfully dealing with ants in your potted plants involves a combination of immediate action to eliminate the existing infestation and implementing preventive measures to keep them at bay.

By understanding why ants are attracted to your plants and using natural remedies and repellents, you can create an environment that discourages ants from nesting. Regular maintenance, proper watering practices, and strategic preventive measures will help ensure that your potted plants remain a thriving and ant-free part of your home or garden. 

Happy gardening!