Egyptian Walking Onions are one of the first plants to emerge in the spring even when there is still snow on the ground. Many people still don’t know that this onion is a perennial. You pop it in the ground and it grows year after year and makes lots of babies, so with just a handful of bulblets you will end up with hundreds of onions in 3-4 years. I live in a zone 3 and these do wonderfully. Every spring after our hard winter, they come up.
I live in a zone 3 up north in Canada and we have winters of -24 and there are a few days of the winter where we see -35. These onions grow back every year. If you are still worried about them surviving a winter, then put a layer of leaves on top or evergreen branches or compost.
I have a lot of onions and I don’t let mine grow very tall because I am always using them. I have seen them grow to over 2 feet in height and the stalks are more than a quarter inch in diameter. You really have to see it to believe it. The little bulblets are your easiest way to have a continuous supply of growing onions.
At the top of the green stalk are little onion bulblets that grow in a cluster. These bulblets are what you plant in the ground to make more onions. There are many bulblets that emerge on the stalk and as they grow bigger and get heavier, the onion stalk falls over.
If you leave the stalk fallen over and wait a while, the little bulblets will root in the ground and a new plant will come up. That’s why they are called walking onions. There is a new plant that grows every few feet across your garden. But don’t worry, they are easy to dig up and man do they have roots!!!!!!
As you can see in this picture, their roots are very strong and thick, not thin like chive roots. I planted little bulbets in small plastic pots and in under 2 weeks those were the roots that were poking out of the bottom of the pots. Why are they called Egyptian? I don’t know but makes me think of the song Walk Like An Egyptian….actually Wikipedia says and I quote ” “Egyptian onion” is derived from tree onions being brought to Europe from the Indian subcontinent by the Romani people.
If you feel you have too many, you can share with friends, or donate to a community garden. The entire onion can be eaten. The taste is a bit stronger than your supermarket shallot and if you don’t have a lot of onions to start with, then for the first few years don’t eat the root in the ground. Eat only the green stalk and don’t eat the little babies, plant them and let them multiply. Within 3-4 years you’ll get a nice production going and then you will be able to take the entire plant and eat it, share it will family and friends.
If you make your own chicken stock or beef stock, just substitute the bulblets for the onions you need and then you will discard them when you are done. Since they grow on the top of the stalks, all you need to do is break them off, separate them, run them under a bit of cold water and then you can put them into your chicken or beef stock. your don’t need to peel them since they are so small and the skin is very thin. Instead of using large onions, just throw a few bulblets and you get all the flavor and nutrients without doing so much work to peel them.
While surfing the internet, I came across…. I think it was wikipedia……apparently if you mix the bulblets with jalepeno pepper and a tablespoon of liquid dish soap and some water, this makes an excellent plant spray which is very effective in repelling aphids, cucumber beetles, squash bugs and similar pests. Now I’ve never done this, so I can’t say if it works. The bulblets are already tiny so I imagine that you don’t need to chop up them up.
So there you have the Egyptian Walking Onion. I hope that this is a new discovery for you. If you already know about this onion but don’t grow it, maybe something in here will make you think about giving them another chance in your garden.