Saturday, September 5, 2015

Egyptian walking onions

Springtime garden with walking onions in pot on right and in the garden on the left with bulbets forming

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Egyptian walking onions in pot on the patio
Egyptian walking onions are a hardy perennial onion that can be harvested year round.  They grow well in a pot or in the garden bed.

I got my walking onion from a bed and breakfast in Manhattan, Kansas.  She had hers growing in a pot.  This is in Zone 5!  They are very winter hardy.  

You can harvest from them year round.  In the winter, they will be soft on the outside, but the inner bulb is still firm and perfectly edible.  

Once or twice in the summer, each stalk will put on a set of bulbets on the top of the stalk.  They look like Medusa to me with all their curly tops!  These tops are where their name comes from.  The stalks will curl toward the ground so that the bulblets can take root and propogate.  They appear to “walk” across the landscape.  

I cut the tops off when the bulblets are ready and turn a reddish brown. You can plant the whole bulbet set 2" deep and will have a bunch of onions growing in no time.  They are tough.  I send them through the mail with no ill effects.  I always have plenty to give away. 

Don't get concerned after the onions put on their bulbets when some of the stalks turn brown.  The plant will regenerate with new stalks quickly.

Brown stalks after bulbets are harvested

For the onions that you do not harvest, they will also divide underground.  They propagate both above and below ground!

The bulb grows to about the size of a leek.  It has the taste of a white onion.  The bulb can be used in cooking and the stalk as you would fresh chives.  To get the larger bulbs, the onions need to be thinned out so that the bulbs can grow large.  If crowded, they will stay small.  This works great for the gardener.  Just strategically harvest  when you need an onion for cooking or salads!
Small, freshly pulled onion
Bulblet almost ready for planting
When pulled small, they can be used as you would green onions.  

The bulblets are edible as well.The larger bulbs can be used in cooking as you would a typical bulbing onion.

Egyptian onions do not store well.  They will keep in the crisper for a few days.
Onions in general are fertilizer hogs and like moisture.  Be sure to give them plenty of fertilizer each spring and if growing in pots, a monthly feeding.  We also feed our coffee grounds to the onions and lettuce.  Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen.

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