Friday, July 3, 2015


We're big eaters of onions, so I grow a lot. Most of what I grow is non-bulbing onions. They grow well here and I can produce them year around. I prefer the bulbing type for much of my cooking style, but I can only get them to bulb in spring and early summer. I haven't figured out yet how to get them to bulb at other times. 

With green onions I can use the entire plant for flavoring. Before moving here I wasn't aware that I could use the green leaves. My mother always threw them away. But I quickly learned about using the greens. 

I pulled some green onions yesterday for a bean dish I was making. I'll be using the entire plant except for the roots. 

The root area I cut off, leaving a bit of the bottom white stem. Why? I will replant them back into the garden. Most will sprout and go on to produce another green onion ready for harvesting far quicker than if I grew it from seed. Replanting the roots is another way to produce onions. Pretty neat trick. 

Rather than pulling out the entire plant when I harvest, I could have just cut it off at the soil surface. In fact, this method works better because all the roots survive and regrow, rather than having some roots die and the rest being shocked into a major setback. But these particular onions that I picked were crowding other onions, so I needed to thin them out anyway. 


  1. great idea on the cutting off at the ground. Did not know this! Can you grow sweet Maui onions or is that only for Maui?

    1. Maui onions are the same variety that is also called Vidalia. I think there are a couple of other regional names too. But they are all the same and are actually called Texas Supersweet by the leading onion plant producer that supplies the seedlings to most of the farmers. I really like Texas Supersweet because it grows well here, is a nice onion, and isn't "spicy". It isn't a storage onion, but we eat them fast enough that it doesn't matter.

    2. Thanks. I think I could be an onion aficionado given the time. Glad to hear that the sweet onions grow well there. I chop 'em up and put 'em in the freezer until I need them. They get big as melons here.

  2. First, I just wanted to say thank you so much for your wonderful blog. I found it a few days ago, and have spent the majority of my free time reading here since then. I live in Keaau, and am trying to be more self-sufficient as well, so this is a great resource for me. I just moved back here from Oahu a year ago, so am not anywhere close to self-sufficient, but I am working on it every day!

    I think we have even less soil than you do (maybe an inch over the pahoehoe) but we do have the advantage of the Hilo dump, with the free mulch, for which I am extremely grateful.

    I would love to grow bulbing onions. I have green onions, but it's just not the same. We get a lot more rain here than you do (average 138 inches/year, according to Google)... do you think bulbing onions would mind that?

    Also, do you have a post where you describe your pallet grow boxes in more detail? I think I have the basic idea (and I think I am going to do it!) but if you have more info on it I would love to read.

    I just pulled a huge pile of weeds in the garden today, and a fair bit of soild clings to the roots no matter what I do. Putting that into a composting grow box, with some other chopped up stuff sounds like a great way to use those resources and make sure that don't just get washed away. I cut tons of small junk tree branches for my goats too. Once they strip the leaves, I end up with huge stack of thin branches. I reckon chopping those a bit and putting them in the bottom would be a good use for them.

    1. I've learned that onions do better with less rain. So you may have a problem with the bulb types. I heard that a gardener up in mauka Honaunau uses poly tunnels for growing onions. It keeps the excess rain off of them. I've never tried this, but it apparently works.

      I will post a more detailed instruction for making the pallet boxes, give a day or two in order to get photos.

    2. Thank you! Yes, I have thought of doing some kind of plastic set up for keeping rain off cherry tomatoes as well (I can grow them here without, but they don't produce fantastically with all the rain). But with all the things that DO do well here that I have yet to plant, I doubt I ever will get around to it. I think for now I should just develop more of a taste for green onions.

      Thanks for your post on pipinolas, btw. I never grew them because I heard the tough rind was a hassle, but always wanted to because they are just so prolific, and naturally tropical, unlike so many of the things we try to grow here and have to baby along. Never thought of picking them young... will definitely be planting them now!