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January 29, 2018

How to Grow Egyptian Walking Onions


With minimal care, this perennial will keep you in onions for years to come. From Oak Hill Homestead.

A few years ago a friend gave me a clump of walking onions from her patch. I'd been fascinated by them for some years and was thrilled to add them to my garden.

Walking onions are perennials; they overwinter and grow back when the weather warms up. I've been adding perennial vegetables to my garden lately, so the walking onions were a great addition.

My onion patch started out with the small plants from my friend, and as that summer passed the onion bulbs grew in size. The stalks grew taller and eventually they bloomed, just like regular onion plants do. Unlike regular onions, walking onions don't make seeds.

With minimal care, this perennial will keep you in onions for years to come. From Oak Hill Homestead


Instead, the flowers turn into little onion bulblets on the end of the stalks. As the bulblets grow, they get heavy. The stalks bend over under the weight, and the bulblets touch the ground where they take root and grow more onion plants.

Since I planted my starts in a large washtub, the bulblets were trying to land in the grassy yard and take root there. This is how they get their name: the plants "walk" across the garden.

To encourage them to stay in the tub. I wiggled a little depression into the soil with my finger, bent the stalk a little more and set the bulblet in the hole, nestling it into the loose soil. They took root and grew more onions.

If you want to start onion plants in another spot or give some to a friend, cut the stalk with the bulblets and plant where desired. They're pretty easy to establish in a new place.

With minimal care, this perennial will keep you in onions for years to come. From Oak Hill Homestead

The hollow onion stalks can be cut and eaten like green onions, or you can harvest the small onions. The older, large onions can also be harvested, but be sure to leave a few to continue growing and keep your patch going. 

The little bulblets can also be separated and planted individually. Planting them farther apart - about six inches or so - will give you larger onion bulbs. If you plan to harvest some as green onions, you can plant them closer together. 

Like regular onions, walking onions like well-drained, organic soil. Keep your onion patch weeded; weeds will compete with your plants for water. Divide your mature onion plants about every three years for maximum production.

Don't you just love perennial vegetables? Just plant them once, feed/water/weed them like the rest of your garden, and reap the harvest for years to come.

This perennial will keep you in onions for years! From Oak Hill Homestead


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16 comments:

  1. I just planted walking onions for the first time this fall! I'm super excited to have them in the garden, although I'm a little worried because the dog keeps walking on the spot where they're planted, so I hope they make it!

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    1. I hope they survive, Kathryn!

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  2. I have Walking Onions. They’ve multiplied rapidly and now I have more than I could ever use. I love having the “green onions,” and I’ve sliced and dehydrated the bulbs, and then put in the food processor to make my own onion powder or flakes. With some of the large bulbils, I take the outer skin off and put them in a baggie in the freezer. I’ll use them like pearl onions, like with green beans, for example. They’re extremely easy to grow, and handy to have around.

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    1. I like the idea of using the bulbils like pearl onions; I hadn't thought of that.

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  3. Anonymous10:40 PM

    I have had walking onions for years. I love being able to go to my patch and harvest green onions for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

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    1. I used some at Thanksgiving too. :-)

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  4. I have never heard of walking onions! Sounds like they can get out of hand pretty easily, so I like your washtub idea!

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    1. While they could get out of hand and definitely will move out of the space where you first plant them, they're not really invasive... plus you can always pull the travelers and eat them! Mine "walked" right out of the washtub and into the lawn, but I pull those when they're young and give them away or replant them. Sometimes we miss a few and when we mow the lawn it smells like noions.

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  5. I had never quite understood walking onions since discovering them a few years ago, until reading your post! I still have a few questions. It sounds like they are most useful as a 'green onion', correct? How strong are the bulbs? Are they more like a hot white onion, a sweet mild onion or somewhere in between?

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    1. Michelle, I've used them as both green onions and as chopped onions in recipes. I'd say they are more like a "strong" white onion; one nursery catalog describes them as "pungent." The thin green stalks of the very young plants can be used like chives too.

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  6. We have a big patch of walking onions and love them. Found you on Simple Homestead Link Party.

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    1. So glad you stopped by, Candy!

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  7. Anonymous8:41 AM

    Planted me some walking onions this past fall! We love eating the greens - I also look forward to the bulblets on top.

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    1. They are a wonderful addition to the garden!

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  8. Very interesting. I wonder how well they would grown in the Pacific Northwest with our cool wet winters. - Margy

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    1. Might be worth a try!

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