Vetetable plants – The Egyptian Onion or Walking Onion

A friend of mine was talking about an Egyptian Onion or Walking Onion plant as some refer to it. This onion will grow small onions like onion sets on the top. You use the smaller onions in salads and for pickling. The onion stalks become hollow as they grow and can be cooked or stuffed.

I was told if you let the onion go to “seed” the onions on the top would get top heavy and pull down the onion. The onion sets would then seed into the ground and spread.

This plant sounded like it had to grow in my yard and gardens. It had an ornamental look to it, plus the onions and other parts of the plant were useable.

My friend sent me five bulbs or bulbils, which I nurtured that year. I only used a few of the new bulbils to see what they were like. The rest I replanted the fall for a larger crop the following year. The plants were productive so I had a nice size patch of onions I could replant, more than 100.

The onions are about the size of a nickel or Quarter. They are tender, savory, and mild with a bit of a garlic taste. I use them for many different cooking purposes. Being a perennial plant they will start to grow as soon as the weather slightly improves in the spring. This means you can start harvesting fresh onions very early.

The Egyptian Walking Onion is hardy across the U.S. in zones 3-10. They have clusters or white, red or brown bulbils at the top of the plant. It also grows a big underground bulb like other onions. The thick strong onion stalk is hollow. The stalks will bend over beneath the weight of the bulbils and will seed themselves so its best to plant them in an area that you do not plan to disturb or replant in the next year.

You can also plant flowering annuals or quick vegetable crops among your Egyptian Walking Onions. Let at least half of your plants “walk” the first year so that you have a nice patch of scallions, mini onions, and big delectable “in-ground” onions.

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Denise

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