Onions and lettuce are perfect companions. Planting them together helps control weeds and keeps pests at bay.
Easy and dependable, onions planted now plump up in late spring, or you can harvest young onions to use as scallions.
The biggest challenge to growing onions is controlling weeds between the plants, but a companion crop of lettuce sown between the rows will smother weeds before they have a chance to grow. Plus, onions may help protect the lettuce from unwanted nibblers because few animals or insects are interested in onions.
Partner Upright Onions with Leafy Lettuce:
- Buy sturdy onion seedlings sold in bundles or “sets” that start growing as soon as you plant them. For best results with this companion planting project, prepare the bed and plant the onions a week before sowing its companion crop of leafy greens.
- Space onions grown to harvest as mature bulbs 3 to 4 inches apart, with 12 inches between rows. All types of onions can be used as scallions when harvested young. If you love fresh green scallions, grow them from sets planted 1 inch apart.
- Use a digging fork to cultivate the soil 12 inches deep in a sunny, well-drained bed, and mix in a 2-inch layer of compost along with a standard application of a balanced, organic vegetable garden fertilizer. Follow directions on how much to use.
- Plant onion sets shallow so you can barely see their tops. Transplant seedlings so that their roots are covered with at least 1 inch of soil, and water thoroughly.
- Use a hand-weeding tool to loosen the soil between the onion rows a week or so after the onions are planted. Make a shallow furrow between the rows of onions and scatter lettuce seeds in the furrow about 1/2 inch apart. Pat seeds in place, and lightly water the seeded rows.
- Start harvesting the lettuce when it is young to give the onions more room to grow.
- Mulch the bare soil after the lettuce is harvested to maintain moisture and prevent weeds.