Onions in all shapes and sizes has been a loyal companion in my kitchen ever since I moved out of the house. I’m sure most will agree that there is nothing more welcoming in a home than the smell of onions frying in a pan.
The onion family has a huge variety of members, including leeks, spring onions, shallots, chives, garlic chives, garlic onions, Welsch onions and last, but not least the wild garlic plants decorating many gardens and sidewalks with their pretty mauve flowers.
Besides being a delicious and versatile companion in the kitchen with several health benefits, I recently learned about the advantages of planting onions in your garden. According to Margaret Roberts, pioneer organic farmer and herb expert, onions make fantastic companion plants in the garden to a large variety of plants.
In her book, Companion Planting (affiliate link), she explains the art of growing plants in certain combinations that optimise their beneficial effects while minimizing their negative effects. Onions are, according to Mrs Roberts, valiant soldiers in the garden. Their strong flavour makes them ideal companions to a variety of other vegetables like cabbage, beetroot, spinach, strawberries, carrots, green peppers, lettuces and tomatoes. The onions will protect your harvest and make everything taste better too.
But if you do not have a vegetable garden (yet), you can still benefit from growing onions. Giant spring onions, planted between roses, will trap black aphids and white fly. Wild mauve-flowered garlic, planted between roses and lilies will also make your roses smell better.
Onions can easily be grown from seeds, sown directly in the garden. Check sowing times on the packet to make sure that you can sow immediately. If growing onions from seed sounds a bit daunting to you, you can find seedlings at your local nusery.
Not only will onions improve the taste and smell of your other plants, it will also improve the biodiversity in your garden, attracting birds and other wild life into your garden. So grab a seed packet and start sowing today. I know I just did!