The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

October 14, 2011

Egyptian Walking Onions

Filed under: Vegetables — bob @ 12:50 pm

The other day, a friend of mine gave me a handful of Egyptian walking onion sets.  I hadn’t thought about them for years.  The first thing I ever planted as a young adult with a garden of my own was a patch of walking onions.

Egyptian walking onions got their name from the unusual way they reproduce.   A walking onion plant grows through the summer.   As autumn approaches, they form a cluster of mini-onions at the top where you would normally see a flower.  The cluster of bulbs, or sets, grows until they get so big that they cause the plant to bend and fall over –sometimes as far as two or three feet from the parent plant.  The sets take root at that spot and grow into new plants.  The following year the cycle continues –that’s how they walk across the garden.   I don’t know about the Egyptian part of the name though.

Although it sounds like it, they are not invasive.  They are easily tamed by picking the sets and moving them where you want them.

Autumn is a good time to plant these sets since it is the time of year when they “walk.”  As a perennial, they easily survive our winter.   Egyptian onions are the first thing that comes up in the spring and can be harvested and used like green onions.

These Egyptian walking onion sets have been in the ground for ten days.  Now they are about one and a half inches high.

During the summer, the onions grow a cluster of bulbs that are about the same size and shape as a shallot.  Those can be dug up and used like a small onion. The taste is much more pronounced than most onions.  By the way, the sets are edible too.

At one time it was hard to find Egyptian onion sets unless you knew someone who grew them.  Nowadays they are available online.


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