Egyptian Walking Onions, Allium proliferum
These are a perennial onion, meaning they will continue to grow from the same root system each year. This makes them a fantastic addition to the edible landscape because, once established, all you really have to do is eat them. And there are lots of ways to eat them. I like to tuck them in with other annual crops, in forgotten corners or at the ends of rows.
Eating Egyptian Walking Onions
- The Bulbs: once established the bulb growth at the base of the plants can be split and harvested, leaving some of the plant to continue growing. Or you can harvest whole plants like normal onions if you need to thin out your patch.
- The Shoots: the green shoots can be used as salad scallions when young, or as they get thicker they can be added to cooked recipes like quiche and soup.
- The Flowers: the flowers can be crumbled into mushroom dishes or scrambled eggs for a fun onion-y addition.
- The Bulblets: once the flowers have flowered, tiny onion bulbs will form in a tight cluster, slowly growing in size. These are edible at all stages.
- The Bulblet Shoots: if left to grow, the bulblets will send out new green onion shoots, which are tender and tasty.
- The Bulblet’s Shoots, Bulblets: OK, so it gets a little crazy, but the you’ll get a second flower set, which will form more bulblets, which will actually send out more tiny onion shoots.
With all these edible options, you can have something onion-y to eat year round from just one patch of Egyptian Walking Onions.
Growing Egyptian Walking Onions
Soil should be slightly moist and well drained. Full sun is best for growth but partial shade can also work. Plant onions in a location that allows them room to roam.
Plant in spring or in fall. Plant each top set 2″ deep, with 6″-10″ between plants and 1′ between rows. They may also be planted close together in clusters for an ornamental addition to any garden.
Cultivate as you would regular garden onions, keep weeds to a minimum and lightly mulch and fertilize when needed.
Top sets can be harvested in late summer and fall when the leafstalk has turned brown and begun to dry. Harvest the long green leaves of the onions (the ones without the top sets) year round. Harvest underground onions in late summer and fall – remembering that when removed this onion plant will no longer grow the following year.
Curing and Storage
Onions can be cured by being placed in a warm area with good ventilation. Allow them to remain until they are cured and the necks are fully dry (about two weeks). This will allow them to store longer in a dry area with low humidity and well ventilated containers.
Here’s a quick video to show the walking action of Egyptian Walking Onions:
Written by Chris Smith