There is something about the sound of a “perennial scallion patch” that should have irresistible appeal to any onion lover. To get one – you grow bunching onions.
As much as I love onions, I can’t for the life of me figure out why I haven’t grown them. But I’m remedying that this year.
Allium fistulosum – the true scallions – bunching onions.
I always thought scallions were just very young regular (or bulbing ) onions – only a couple of weeks away from green onions. I have just learned that bunching onions are the true scallions. They make no bulb.
What They’re Like
There are numerous varieties. Each performs a little differently, but all have basic characteristics.
They have hollow green stems and a long blanched white stalk and can be harvested at any stage.
They divide at ground level and form evergreen clumps up to 1 foot in diameter to 2 feet tall. Depending on the variety – they will divide the first year or the second.
They multiply but are not invasive.
Perennial (Enduring for a long time.)
Once your bunching onions are established, you should have them for years and years.
Some varieties winter over and the ones that don’t can be lifted and potted to winter over inside the greenhouse or porch.
Once established, all you have to do to make more plants is divide them.
Lift the plants you want to harvest and leave the rest to continue. Or move them where you want more.
You can let heirloom varieties reseed or divide them. Hybrids, although sterile, can be propagated by division.
When to Harvest
I read of someone who was able to start harvest after 3 weeks, but the norm seems to be 8 to 10 weeks.
Some reviewers think the new growth in spring is the tastiest.
Some varieties have a more intense flavor than others.
They may be used raw in salads, as a garnish, or as a substitute for chives. Use them in soups, stir fries, or anything you use onions for.
They impart authentic flavor to Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine.
I saw pictures of the variety Franz bunching onions and loved the flowers on them. So much so, that I plan to use them in some of my flower borders.
Varieties I Ordered and Why
Evergreen Bunching – I hadn’t found a source for Franz at the time I ordered and wanted to make sure I grew one that would winter over. Also, Evergreen Bunching is said to outshine most for intense flavor.
Red Bunching Onions – Just because they’re red.
Franz – Produces beautiful flowers. Is said to be one of the best performers. Starts dividing the first year. Is an old heirloom. Hardy in winters.
A Perennial Scallion Patch sounds like a winner to me!