Everywhere you look during this time of year, you may see wild green onions poking their tall green stalks above the grass line. The beautiful green onions can be transplanted into your garden easily to bring a wonderful wild taste to your garden. To transplant wild green onions to your garden follow these steps:
1. Identify the wild green onions. The green onions will be taller than the grass line and in bunches. If you pick a wild green onion you will see a long green stalk with a white bulb on the end submerged in the soil. Perhaps the most identifiable trademark of a wild green onion is the pungent onion scent. Wild green onions can smell even stronger than domestic varieties.
2. Be sure you have permission to dig up the wild green onions before you start.
3. Gently dig a hole around the wild green onions. You want to go deep enough so you can get the wild green onions out of the ground without breaking the roots or bulb.
4. Gently dig under the wild green onions.
5. Remove the wild green onions and bring to your prepared garden plot.
6. Dig a hole in your garden and set the wild green onions inside the hole.
7. Cover all the white roots of the onion with soil.
8. Water the wild green onions.
9. You may lose some of the wild green onions on the end, but after a few days your wild green onions will begin to perk up after the transplant shock.
10. If you are saving the seeds, then a one mile radius is needed to ensure seed purity. Wild green onions will cross pollinate by bees with members of the Allium cepa, Proliferum Group (other seed head producing onions) and some members of A. fistulosum (Japanese bunching onions). (see Reference)
11. Green onions are biennials, meaning that they need two seasons to produce seeds. You may have transplanted a green onion that is ready to go to seed making seed saving very easy. Wait for the seed stalk to form. A flower head will form. When the flowers open up, wait for flower head and seed pods to dry out. Cut the flower top off and place the flowers in a paper bag. Shake the paper bag. The tiny black seeds will fall out of the flower head. Store the seeds in a cool dry place to continue drying. Onion seeds will retain 50% germination over 2 years if stored in a cool, dry, dark place. (see Reference)
12. If no seed stalks form, then seed saving will require more work. In mild climates, you can keep the green onions in the ground to over winter, but in harsher climates you need to harvest the bulbs when they tops begin to dry out and keep them alive all winter before they can be replanted in the garden. You can keep them simply by placing them in a jar with water in a sunny location. Keep the green onions well watered and they should last all winter. Replant the onions in spring and continue on to step 11.
Ashworth, Suzanne. Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners. 2002. Seed Savers Exchange (Suzanne uses a different seed saving method than I outlined here; she suggests drying out the onions over winter but I have found the method outlined above works for green onions)