Growing Egyptian Walking Onions, The Perennial Onion
What is an Egyptian Onion?
Egyptian onions are an onion that puts on baby bulbs at the top of the plant every year.The plants don't put on a seed head like other onions. It is known as a perennial onion, but it is really self-planting. You'll have green onions to cut early in the spring when other plants aren't ready to harvest yet. You can continue pulling them throughout the spring.
There are many other names that these onions have been given, that you may recognize. Many people refer to them as tree onions, top-sets, or multipliers.The onions are a native to the United States.
The bulbs are hardy in Zones 3-10, so can be grown in almost every state in the US.They make a wonderful edition to the garden and if properly cared for will return year after year.
How to Plant Tree Onions
Fall is the best time to plant the bulbs. If a friend is sharing a plant, these can be planted anytime. Plant the tiny bulbs as soon as they arrive if possible. If not, store them in a cool dry place until planting.
Planting should be done in a fertile well drained soil. If you have sandy soil ,mix in some organic matter. Each tiny bulb should be planted individually.
How to Harvest
Don't pull the plant like you would regular onions. Instead, Just cut off the top and leave the root in the ground to produce another green onion. Eventually, in late spring they will become tough and inedible. Leave the root in the ground to produce the bulblets that you will plant later in the ground.
Replant the tiny bulbs that the plant has produced in the spot where you'd like new onions next year. Sometimes the plants will replant the bulbs on their own, but this isn't always reliable.
Where to Find Egyptian Onions
My original plants came from an elderly great aunt of my husband's. The bulbs are a little hard to find, but there are a few places online where you can purchase them. The bulbs are only sold in the fall. I couldn't find any of the major seed suppliers that carried them.
One way to get the bulbs or plants is to join the Garden Web site. Gardeners exchange plants there. This can be a lot of fun, because some of the gardeners have unusual plants to exchange. I tried trading one summer and everyone wanted my coneflowers that grew like weeds in my garden. In return, I traded for hostas and daylily varieties that I didn't already have. Once in a while you'll run into a dishonest trader. I did a lot of trading and only had 2 people that didn't return their trade.
A website where you can order the sets is the Egyptian walking Onion.At the present time they are 70 cents each in lots of ten. They aren't inexpensive for onion sets, but remember you'll have fresh onions for years. They aren't available until August.
If you are lucky your local greenhouse may carry the plants or the bulbs. Just ask.
How to Use the Onions
These onions will be the first thing you can pick in your garden in the Spring. They make tasty green onions. Use the bulbs that set on the plant later for soups, stews, potato salad or anything you'd use onions for other than slicing. The onions that set on the top of the plant are small, but work well in cooking. Use them just like you would a pearl onion. They make especially good pickled onions.
Don't forget to leave enough bulbs for your onions next year. Give them a helping hand in the fall if you'd like.
Don't forget to share the onions with friends.
Recipe for The Onions
Recipe Using Egyptian Onions
16 oz cream cheese
2 bunches green onions, chopped with tops
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 14 oz. jar salad olives, drained and chopped
1. Mix the cream cheese with onions and chopped olives until smooth.
2. Add mayonnaise.
3. Refrigerate overnight and serve on crackers or bread triangles.
Other Ideas for Using The Onions
Add the chopped onions to soups. They would be especially good with potato soup.
Add them to green salads or potato salads. Any recipe that calls for onions would work great.