Egyptian walking onions are delicious as well as extraordinary. While they don’t exactly walk, they do replant themselves in a most peculiar manner that may be described as walking. If you’re looking for a low maintenance perennial vegetable, walking onions might be a good fit for your garden. They can be started anytime, but fall is ideal.
How it works:
The initial planting of Egyptian walking onions is done conventionally by you. After that, this hardy onion variety will “walk” across the garden to plant itself. The Egyptian walking onion accomplishes this because the seed bulb blooms atop the onion.
As the onion bulb grows it gets heavy and falls over. This allows the bulb to root and form a new plant. For this reason, they are said to walk. Once they’re planted, you’ll never need to buy another onion bulb.
Managing walking onions:
Egyptian walking onions can grow as high as three feet tall before flowering. The onion bulb is formed at the flower, much like tomatoes and peppers.
Walking onion bulbs grow in clusters at the top of the plant. The clusters can be planted as is or separated and planted as individual bulbs. Because they grow in clusters, you’ll also have plenty of onion bulbs to share with fellow gardeners.
To keep walking onions from taking over your garden, simply harvest the bulbs from the top of the plant before they fall over. This way, you decide where the bulb will be planted, thus controlling migration.
Eating walking onions
Egyptian walking onions are normally harvested for the underground onions but the whole plant is edible. The underground bulbs are quite strong in flavor and make wonderful soups and stews. They can also be used fresh in salads and such.
If you like, you can use the top bulbs to flavor your culinary creations, although they may be too tough to eat.
The stems can be used as you would green onion stems or chives.
Egyptian walking onions will grow just about anywhere and are cold tolerant. They’ll survive winter and be the first thing to bloom in the spring. Depending on the harshness of the winter, you may even be able to harvest walking onions year round.
Walking onion fun with kids
Getting kids involved in gardening increases the likelihood of them eating their veggies. Egyptian walking onions are a great plant to grow with kids. Tell kids these are magical onions that know how to walk. Putting them in charge of this interesting, yet low maintenance onion is a great way to peak their gardening interest.
Grow Egyptian walking onions in moist, well drained soil.
Plant the bulbs one inch deep and one foot apart.
Note: Even though either is edible, you normally plant the top bulbs and eat the underground bulbs.
Where to get walking onion bulbs
The best source for these is other gardeners. Most have plenty of “leftover” bulbs saved and are happy to share this prolific plant. If you don’t have any gardening friends with bulbs to share, you can also buy them from most online seed suppliers.
Walking onions are an heirloom plant so there are no worries about GMO’s involved. However, it’s always best to buy your bulbs and seeds from a company that doesn’t sell genetically modified products to avoid possible migrations and mutations.