17 June 2009

Onions, green onions, and chives

I have recently discovered how fantastic it is to grow your own onions. Years ago, spurred on by the exorbitant price of fresh chives, I decided to grow my own chives in the garden. However, I never tried growing actual bulbing onions until a few months ago, when I was browsing the vegetable plants at Home Improvement Center and decided to give it a try with some sweet Walla Walla onions.

The onions came in a four-pack, and there were four clumps of tiny, chive-like stalks. I planted the clumps in a row, watered, and waited. Today, my onions are about 4 feet tall and are starting to flower. The leaves are much wider now--no way would they be mistaken for chives --and at the base of each clump are about a dozen or so yellowing onion bulbs of various sizes. The onions aren't as big as the store-bought kind yet, but that doesn't mean I haven't been enjoying them in my cooking! So far, I have used the young onions in place of green onions in stir fries and tuna sandwiches, and last night I plucked a few of the 1-inch bulbs and threw them on the grill alongside some chicken shwarma.

Growing my own onions solves so many problems. Okay, so it doesn't bring about world peace, but it does mean that I'll never have leftover green onions lying forgotten in the fridge because the dish I was cooking called for only 2 green onions when I have to buy them a whole bunch at a time at the store!

So try growing some onions of your own! When first planted, you'll have a good chives substitute. As they grow, you'll have fresh green onions whenever you want them. And when they start bulbing, you'll have delicious home-grown onions that weren't shipped from who-knows-where using who-knows-how-much gasoline. And when the flowers mature and dry up, sprinkle the seeds over the soil, rake it around, water from time to time, and voila, you'll have next season's crop for free!

1 comment:

Erin said...

So true! I keep my patch of onions going year round and never grow tired of being able to walk outside my door and snip off some green onions for whatever I am making, from salads to frittata to stir fry!

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