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Walking onions?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 86
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Hey everyone - any wisdom on walking onions?

I was gifted a bubil bunch by a neighbor.  I made a bed in partial sun outside of the deer fence with normal garden soil and good drainage and just down hill from the drip hose so it should get second hand irrigation.  The bubils got separated out and put green pointy edge up.  Some random salad green that tastes like anise got its seeds draped over top as a green cover (maybe).  A lavender plantlet got nestled in the corner of the bed. It's the end of July.

Should this be expected to work?  Anything to do better next time?
 
pollinator
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I find them to be virtually unkillable.
 
Genevieve Higgs
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Good to know!  That is my hope
 
gardener
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I think it will work. You're location isn't listed so I'll assume you're in the northern hemisphere and I'm not sure how large they will grow being planted this late in the season, being a month past the solstice with the days getting shorter. It's certainly worth a shot, and the beauty with onions is they don't need to mature to be useable. You may experience better results next year planting in the spring about 4 weeks before last frost date, and planting in full sun. When I plant my onions, I sprinkle a granular fertilizer made from seed meal and guano in between the rows of onions.
 
Posts: 31
Location: 100 acres in Abitibi, Quebec, Canada zone 2a
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Here on zone 2 they compete with grass but won't make large shoots or bulbils. Since this didn't work I plant them anywhere that's mulched or disturbed like a garden bed. Only rhubarb fights harder than this miracle. Let the bulbils get as big as they can and let them reseed or separate them and and turn 11 plants into 110 aprox next year.
 
master steward
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I killed a great number of mine. I planted them around my fruit trees and they either got accidentally pulled out with grass, or were just too wet during the spring or something. I had planted about 30 of them, and only three survived. I moved them to a raised garden bed, and they are doing much better there. I have a hard time growing any alliums other than chives, though...
 
Eric Grenier
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Location: 100 acres in Abitibi, Quebec, Canada zone 2a
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I killed a great number of mine. I planted them around my fruit trees and they either got accidentally pulled out with grass, or were just too wet during the spring or something. I had planted about 30 of them, and only three survived. I moved them to a raised garden bed, and they are doing much better there. I have a hard time growing any alliums other than chives, though...

I suspect once you grow out the the walking onions two years your original three will do very well by your trees. The bulbuls are meant to stay attached to the mother plant to ensure reseeding. The mother (large onion) plant will fight and win against any weed/ grass. Im going to try this next year as I will be on my third year on some of my plants
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Genevieve Higgs
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I'm on the west coast - frost occasionally comes but my green onions survive through it, so I have hopes for the walking onions.  They just look so neat! I'm hoping they will "jump the fence" well and survive the deer in my garden expansion.  The lady I got them from had 100% deer munch of broccoli and a beautiful patch of onions right beside so here's hope
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Eric Grenier
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Location: 100 acres in Abitibi, Quebec, Canada zone 2a
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Np for helping them expand; let those walking onions grow up and lean down into your new bed. Work that bed with a pitch fork or broad fork and add mulch after putting a little soil on the bent over plant and keep it attached to its mother. Nature will do the rest. I have to add mulch ASAP too into my new beds
 
Genevieve Higgs
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So here are the walking onions just over a month later.  Some bubils were dug up and some fresh sprouts got mowed down with the green cover crop.  But enough survived to promise a nice bed of them in the future!

If you're a newbie I highly recommend chatting with gardeners in your neighborhood!  Not only is it great to get a heads up on what might be happy growing in your yard they might share cuttings seeds starts etc with you.

I also highly recommend learning seed saving and other propagatuon techniques once you can keep store bought starts alive.  It makes gardening much more economic.
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Genevieve Higgs
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here's another example of a helping hand from a neighbor turning into wonderful plant varieties: raspberries have come across the fence and vastly increased the productivity of my family member's very conservative garden.  All it took were a few root slips that wanted to migrate anyways.  Barely any maintenance needed.
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Posts: 59
Location: North Carolina
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Here's a tip for walking onions,

If you cut the flowering stalk, or rather, the 'bulbil bearing' stalk before it can make bulbils it will sink its energy into making larger bulbs instead. Doing this, I've gotten them to the size of a large shallot.
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I find them to be virtually unkillable.



Yup, I had a few that managed to escape captivity, I now occasionally find clumps sprouting up in random locations.  This prompted me to set up a large plot and then ignore them to see how they do on their own.  Even here in southern Arizona they manage to survive on just our sparse rainfall, although they do better if I throw some water on them occasionally during May and Jun (the hot dry months here).
 
pollinator
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Another walking onion question?     I planted these really late and they have no bulbils.    

How can I ensure that these come up next year?  Should I just cut them to the ground and let them sprout from the onion in the ground?   I think this is right but I'm not 100%    I love these onions!  When I make a stirfry I use the entire onion...so good.  Seem to have a flavor similar to a garlic chive.
 
garden master
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Here is an article by permies member, Joseph Lofthouse:

https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/egyptian-walking-onions

Highlights from the article:

They grow under the snow during the winter and are ready for harvest about 3 weeks after our winter snow cover melts. My father calls them forever onions because they continue to produce food for my family until covered with snow in the fall.  ...

Walking onions are a hardy perennial. In my climate they can be planted or harvested any time of year except when the ground is frozen. If pulled, the roots and a small piece of bulb may be replanted. They'll grow a new plant. They may be propagated by planting the bulbils that form on top of the flower stalk, or by digging and dividing the mother clump. There are a few weeks after the flower stalk forms in which the stem becomes hard and undesirable. New bulbs form beside the flower stalk producing tender bulbs later in the season.

I typically keep a perennial mother clump to generate bulbils that I harvest and store in a dry area. I then replant the bulbils every few weeks as an annual to grow successive crops of green onions for market and to feed my family.   ...

Conclusion

Egyptian walking onions are a wonderful plant in the home garden because they can provide great onion taste any time of year that the ground isn't frozen. Even though they are grown as clones, I suspect that the creation of new clones may be within the skill set of the average landrace gardener. This is part of the reason why I believe that landrace gardening is a path towards food security through common sense and traditional methods.
 
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