I was first introduced to winter onions by the in-laws. Oh yum! What a joy to see such a large bed of onions that not only lasted through the winter but replanted themselves for decades!
The onions do not propagate through seed or bulb but instead by producing onion sets (mini onions or bulblets) on their tops. Once the tops are heavy with sets, which average 4-12, they tip over and hug the ground planting themselves. Talk about easy gardening!
These onions are white, have a wonderful sharp, bite, and cook up tender. They can be used young like scallions, green onions, or let grow into full size 2″-4″ bulbs for slicing and cooking.
Recently, the family onion garden came to an end. Even my my own starts placed in the herb bed died out due to this walking. So I went on a search for these “winter onions” to get us back in onion production again.
It took a bit to identify but I was happy to finally able to find they were called Egyptian Walking Onions (Allium proliferum). Their self-replanting of the onion sets earned them the nickname “walking onions” as they can move across a garden each season. But in a pinch, one can just pluck off the bulblets and replant them.
One may not find Egyptian Walking Onions at the local garden center or co-op but there are many garden seed companies online that do sell them. Shop around as they can be a bit pricey for a small amount of sets. I was very excited to locate them on the Ebay store One Stop Poppy in bulk. I purchased 200 onion sets for under $20! Do checkout this store as I’m unsure just how long this special will last.
They arrived quickly by mail in a bubble mailer ready for planting. I have more than enough bulblets now to restart a few onions in the herb bed, send to the in-laws, and share with my daughter to start her own walking bed of onions. But now the dilemma…deciding on a good location on the farm to plant a large portion of these lil’ yummies this fall and the remaining next spring with plenty of room for walking!
I love these onions and could go on & on but so many have already mentioned their sustainable character to add to garden. Here’s a few:
Mother News: Egyptian Walking Onions
Grow Your Own Greens (video): Easy to Grow Perennial Walking Onion Provides Food For a Lifetime