Eygyption Walking Onions?

Lee True HulcherApril 22, 2005

Here is the question:

What do you do with these onions? Are they ornimental or are they eatable?

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They can be used for green onions in the early spring and the bulblets that form on top can be used for pickling onions in mixed pickles. If you use them later in the year they are reallllly strong. Hope you found some help. I ended up with a really bad cold for several weeks and am just getting back on my feet.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 3:10PM
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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

For a market gardener, I've found these are useful. I have a variety which are not 'egyptian', but are a somewhat milder, and maybe better storing variety called 'Heritage white sweet'. I received some other topset onions in trade which were identifed as 'egyptian' which I'm trialing.

The ones I have in the ground right now were planted in late summer from topsets in a double row 12" apart on a 2ft wide bed. I graded the topsets and selected the larger ones, about marble size then planted them about 1" apart. Each topset produced 2-5 scallions and during the fall I thinned them by pulling up about 3/4's and left one clump of 2-3 plants every 4-5 inches.

This produced all the scallions I needed to sell for the fall season, and the quality was very good, yet stronger than your average store-boughten green onions. Good for cooking, but I eat them. I sold them in a 10-stalk bunch for $1 and almost always sold out. The remaining plants overwintered and are now beginning to produce topset buds.

Once the topsets are fully matured in midsummer, I will dig up the plants and harvest 1" bulbs at the base of each plant and sell them like shallots, then start the whole process over like last year by replanting the topsets in late summer.

Since I was unsure about the sucess I woud have with this crop last year, I withheld from sale almost half of the bottom bulbs, but ended up not using them, and they carried over fairly well during the winter in a mesh bag hung in my unheated workshop. I have some available for trade, and am seeking garlic chives in trade

I was able to carry over the smaller grade topsets through the winter in storage, and planted them a few weeks ago and will be able to sell them for scallions this summer.

So this form of allium appears to be a sustainable source of easy-to-plant and quick-to-grow scallions and "shallots" from which you can get three harvestable crops/year, and requiring no input for seed. Who could ask for more?

If I could figure a way to sell enough locally, I would venture to say these could create a foundation for an entire business.
The guy at the link below, and everybody else, it seems, charges an outrageous price for topsets.

Here is a link that might be useful: various topset onions

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 11:22PM
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Lee True Hulcher

Well thank you for the info.
However I am beginning to think that what I have ate not eygyptian, as they don't have the bulblets that you speek of.
They are huge plants about 24" high, thick stalks over 1" around and seed heads that produce hundreds of seeds. But no bulds. Or is there some trick to getting the bulbs to form?
Lee H

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 10:38AM
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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

If the leaf blades are hollow, sounds like onions, if the leaf blades are flat, probably leeks. If they are making seeds, they are not topsetting onions. There is an allium forum here at gardenweb that might help you identify what you've got.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 1:35PM
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I have been potting up some of the heads to sell. These walking onions have been in the family for about 50 years and traveled from NY to Washington State and are still walking.
We have always used them in the spring as the storage onions were used up.
The last two winters I have attended upscale garden talks and shows. It seems like the walking onions have become quite the desirable item to have in the perennial garden. I think that I may have also seen them at the Herronswood Garden.
Walking onions are fun and need some marketing.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 10:19PM
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Lee True Hulcher

Well, it looks like mine are just plain old onions. Nothing fancy. But if anyone out there has a few bulbs of Eygypian Walking Onions, I would be willing to trade, some Swedish Butter Fingerling Potatoes for a few.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 11:45AM
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Lee I don't have any to trade (just starting with 'em myself) but go a askin' on the plant or seed forums and I am sure you will get more starts than you'll ever use ;-) They are very easy from the bulbiles.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 4:54PM
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echoes_or(Zone 3)

Did you ever get your walking onions? If not I have a ton of babies setting on mine right now. They have been in my family for 50+ years also... Got them from my name sake Great Aunt... Anyhoo let me know and I would be glad to share some with you.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 4:58PM
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micropropagator(zone5 S Indiana)

I have been growing Egyptian Onions since 1942 when as a kid I got some from my grandfather. I use lots of onions for taste and health. Since the Egyptian onions are so easy to grow (just keep them growing in the garden until I use them) I grow fewer dry onions each year. I use Egyptian onions to eat year round.
The scallions are best in April-May, but some years the green onions are nice in September to December or later if protected. When the cold gets below 20 or 25F they freeze back, but if clumps are dug from garden in a lump of topsoil and set in a 5 gallon plastic bucket and set in a warm room, it is nice to see the winter growth and as I eat them. I move a succession clumps from garden to a protected porch or lighted room. Harold Eddleman 30 miles west of Louisville KY in Indiana.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 12:43PM
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