Why You Should Plant Onions on a Windowsill and Not Leave Them in Water

Last summer, many of us learned to take care of green onion butts, put them in a glass of water and watch how bright green shoots appear before our eyes. This summer we must definitely do it again, but this time we actually plant the sprouts in the soil.

Green onions on the windowsill are great, but they have a significant drawback: they do not always taste so good, especially after a couple of germination cycles. Plain water is all they need to start sprouting, but it doesn’t offer our onion buddies any of the nutrients they need to grow properly. This is evident in the overgrown green onions. Personally, I’ve noticed that green onions grown in clear water always come out oddly watery and slimy on the inside, with noticeably less flavor than I would get from store-bought bunches.

The solution is to plant them in potting soil just like the plants themselves, and just about any store-bought soil will work. For pots, the most natural choice would be a long and narrow sill-type planter, but you can use anything with drainage holes. Once your green onions have sprouted, plant them 1/2 to one inch deep in potting soil and place the pot in a location that has plenty of bright direct light. (A windowsill or patio is ideal.) Onions grow well in moist, slightly acidic soil – for example, at a pH of six or slightly below – so frequent watering and occasional splashes of flat LaCroix or thinned black coffee will make them happy.

However, don’t worry if you can’t meet all the conditions. Onions are not picky; even if your apartment is not well lit, you will still reap the benefits all summer long. Last summer, we planted ours on a small shared patio that gets a lot of direct afternoon sun, and to be honest, they were mostly ignored. They were still going crazy – some had grown to nearly two feet in just a month or two, and I had to start handing them out. Most importantly, my homemade green onions had incredible flavor and a perfectly crunchy texture. Can’t wait to plant more and eat them all summer.


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