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Egyptian Walking Onions

April 4th, 2011

A few years ago, after reading Gaia’s Garden, a book about permaculture, I started adding more perennial vegetables to my edible garden. There are the usual suspects like rhubarb and asparagus, but many people don’t realize you can buy perennial onions and leeks as well.

I planted these Egyptian Walking Onions 2 years ago along with some perennial potato onions (which aren’t technically perennial because you have to dig them up and replant them). They did well last year, I didn’t harvest any because I wanted to let them get established. Last fall I had a few with the little bulblets on the tops of the stalks. This spring they’re looking great. I haven’t harvested any yet, but they’re large enough I could any day (I’m thinking an omelet might be the reason). These photos were taken 2 weeks ago, and the onions are much larger now.

I even noticed that one of them had “walked” into another area of my raised bed. I’ll be moving these little guys soon to another area of the garden. I’m hoping to have a good patch of these in a few years because they make a nice early onion. A perfect way to supplement the few remaining storage onions in the pantry. They certainly are interesting plants to grow.

Do you have any perennial vegetables in your garden?

24 Comments to “Egyptian Walking Onions”
  1. KimH on April 4, 2011 at 5:16 am

    I have asparagus, rhubarb, and garlic along one side of my house in a flower bed turned herb bed. ;) I have horseradish as well..
    I always wanted to try the Egyptian walking onions but havent done so yet.. One of these years.. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  2. Mich on April 4, 2011 at 5:20 am

    The only perenial veg in my garden are rhubarb, an asparagus bed which I will be able to harvest a few spears off this year. Yay.
    I am having to replant globe artichokes as I lost them in this last winters extreme weather….and I am wondering if my sea kale made it too..

    Reply to Mich's comment

  3. kristin @ going country on April 4, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Rhubarb, asparagus, chives, tarragon, the immortal chervil, and usually some dill that keeps self-seeding.

    It is nice to have plants that don’t require, um, planting every year, but the weed control around plants that are never moved is a pain.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  4. Jennifer Fisk on April 4, 2011 at 6:44 am

    I have garlic, which probably isn’t really a perennial, Rhubarb, chives, and a Sage bush.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  5. Joan on April 4, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I’m confused about the different types of perennial onions – egyptian walking, potato, multiplier… I’ve never been able to figure out what each is and what the differences are. Can you explain? Thanks!

    Reply to Joan's comment

    • Susy on April 4, 2011 at 11:02 am

      Basically potato and multiplier are the same – they’re like shallots. You plant one onion and they multiply into a bunch of onions, which you dig up, keep some for replanting in the fall and eat the rest.

      Egyptian onions are kind of like green onions, they don’t really bulb much. You can harvest the green tops and use like green onions and you can harvest some of the small bulbs from the ground. They propagate by forming tiny bulblets on the tops of the stalks, which flop over and replant themselves and multiply in that way. No replanting needed unless you want to move them to another location. You can harvest these little bulblets and plant where you want them to grow.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Melissa on April 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I tried multiplier onions this past fall and they are doing great! I’m planning to add the leeks and Egyptian onions this year as well! I love perennial vegetables!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  7. Daedre Craig on April 4, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I wish I had some perennial vegetables, but I’m not planning on living in my current location long enough for it to be worth starting some. Some day when I’m in a more permanent location I’ll add asparagus, rhubarb, fruit trees and all the other fun stuff.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  8. Brittany P. on April 4, 2011 at 9:56 am

    No, I don’t but I really appreciate this post. Who knew?

    Reply to Brittany P.'s comment

  9. KimP on April 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

    My mother-in-law was just telling me about potato onions last night! I had never heard of them and decided I’ll try them this fall. What a coincidence that you posted about them today – I must have started reading your blog after your last post about them.

    Reply to KimP's comment

  10. Janet on April 4, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Egyptian walking onions are brilliant aren’t they? you can see why they got theor name!

    Reply to Janet's comment

  11. Andrea on April 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I’ve got some Egyptian Walking Onions and rhubarb. I got about 10 onions 3 years ago and they went crazy. I must have at least 100 now and I’ve been giving them away to everyone I know.

    Reply to Andrea's comment

  12. Libby on April 4, 2011 at 10:31 am

    My part of the country is too hot for rhubarb (however much I’d love to grow it) so my perennial crops have been limited to herbs. Just this year I’ve added some Egyptian walking onions. They are growing happily in their raised bed with the shallots and garlic. When they need to walk though, I’ll have to direct them to another part of the garden…

    Reply to Libby's comment

  13. goatpod2 on April 4, 2011 at 11:08 am

    We just planted some onions and peas but no perennials in our garden now.


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  14. Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig on April 4, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Oh…my ignorance… I didn’t even KNOW there were perennial vegetables! Good to know…I will have to look and see if these do well in my zone.

    Reply to Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig's comment

  15. nic@nipitinthebud on April 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I have a very funny image in my head now of onions doing an egyptian walk across your beds.
    Veg that keeps popping up in our patch are jerusalem artichokes, globe artichokes and rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries and damsons for fruit.

    Reply to nic@nipitinthebud's comment

  16. Kathi on April 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Rhubarb,blueberries,strawberries,tarragon,lavendar,chives,oregano,sage, savory and mint. Would love to have raspberries,blackberries,asparagus, and a small orchard, but no room right now. Those onions sound interesting. Are they alot of work to keep in a smallish bed?

    Reply to Kathi's comment

    • Susy on April 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm

      Not really, you can dig them up and eat them to keep them from getting to rampant.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. Beegirl on April 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks for posting these again. I’ve had them on my mind since you posted about them last year. Did you mention where you can find them? I haven’t really looked yet..but I’d love to try them. They look great!

    Reply to Beegirl's comment

    • Susy on April 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      I got mine from Southern Exposure, you may be able to find some locally if you ask around.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. Jenny on April 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks so much for the tip on perennial onions {who knew? Apparently not many of us!}. I have asparagus, chives, oregano, strawberries, chamomille, grapes, blueberries, and horseradish but I hope to add many more.

    Reply to Jenny's comment

  19. lawrence kolada on April 5, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Great article Suzy! I wish I had known of these years ago. Are they cured for storage the same as regular onions and then replanted? do you have to heavily mulch for over wintering to protect from freezing. I’ll be on the lookout for some to plant later this year!

    As for perenials that I grow a few are asparagus, sunchokes, chives, garlic chives, rhubarb, horseradish, and numerous herbs, sage and thyme are available mostly all winter long for use, and parsley in a protected hoop house usually survives the winter and offers a somewhat continual supply for harvest

    Reply to lawrence kolada's comment

    • Susy on April 5, 2011 at 8:45 am

      The potato onions you treat as regular onions, but like shallots they don’t store as long as traditional storage onions. They don’t really need mulched heavily they do just fine here with a little leaf mulch. The Egyptian Walking Onions didn’t get mulched at all.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  20. Morgan G on April 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Gaia’s Garden is a real treasure of a book. I just started asparagus, so I’m looking forward to years of ’em.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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