Despite making make our eyes water, the humble onion is an indispensable ingredient in any dish and deserves a place in every vegie patch. Spring onions are especially easy to grow even for the newest of green thumbs and will happily thrive in a raised garden bed so you can add that extra special touch to a salad, omelette or stir-fry. They are pretty much pest-free and when planted next to other veggies will help to keep the bugs away by masking the scents of the other plants (this is known as companion planting). We planted our spring onions next to our carrots as the onions keep the pests at bay and the carrots excrete minerals into the soil that help the onions grow.
What you’ll need
My First GardenTM
Spring onion seedlings or seeds (we used seedlings as it saves 6-8 weeks in growing time!). They will even grow from any leftovers you buy from the markets.
Good quality potting mix
Liquid seaweed concentrate
How to grow spring onions
- Choose a spot with at least partial sun.
- Prepare your My First Garden with good quality potting mix. Integrate a little compost if you have some handy.
- Plant your seedlings about 5cm apart.
- To get your spring onions thriving feed them with a liquid seaweed concentrate once a fortnight and water about 2-3 times a week.
- Keep an eye on weeds as they can smother all your hard work if they get too big.
- To harvest the whole onion, pull it out of the garden and shake off the dirt. Cut off the dangly roots and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. You can also just cut off the green leaves of your onions to use in salads or as a garnish and keep the rest growing.
Uncle Cam’s easy peasy beef and spring onion stir-fry (serves 4)
4 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 bunches of broccolini
1/2 cup (125mL) soy sauce
1/2 cup (125mL) water
2 tbsp brown sugar
500g sliced stir fry beef
1 bunch of spring onions, sliced on an angle and extra to garnish (use white and green parts)
- Heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add garlic and ginger. Cook and stir for 30 seconds or until they release their fragrance. Pour in soy sauce, water and brown sugar. Cook and stir for 4 minutes until sugar dissolves and sauce slightly thickens. Set aside.
- In a wok or frying pan, heat remaining vegetable oil. Add beef and stir-fry until brown (1-2 minutes). Add broccoli and onions and cook for 1 minute. Add sauce mixture and toss to combine.
- Garnish with extra spring onions and serve with brown rice or rice noodles.
Spring onions are not just taste enhancers but are packed with many vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B-complex, C and K plus copper, manganese, iron and calcium. They also contain quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory, antihistamine and antioxidant properties.