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Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Today I'll write about Onions.  The blog is called Whittling and Other Affairs.  I have been doing a little whittling, but I can't talk about it -yet.

So on to onions- I love onions, I don't mind onion breath either.  I also love to dig in the dirt (what boy doesn't?)  Seems kinda natural to grow onions, right?

I don't grow normal onions though.  I grow topset onions, or walking onions, Egyptian walking onions (I have no idea if they are really from Egypt).  I do know they are fun to grow and perennial even here in zone 5.

The pic's not great, but here they are the first year I tried.  Ran across them on the 'net, found a seller on EBay, it was late in the year but she assured me they'd have no problem with snow and frost.  So I bought a couple dozen sets in November (I'm in Buffalo NY) and planted them in the bed out back just before the snow flew.  The pic is what they looked like mid summer the next year- they really did overwinter.  The cool part is, they grew scapes the first year.  With most onions, scapes grow the second year and have flowers- walking onions don't grow flowers, they grow little onions, usually 5 or seven on each plant.  The onions are small, like cooking onions, but tender (harvest them one year old or less) and pretty potent.  I planted 27 bulbs in Nov, the next summer I had 27 onions and about 150 new bulbs to plant.

Wish I could do that with money.

Well they've been out there for the last 6 years or so, neglected most of the time because of a major renovation project on my house taking up all my sunny days.  I still have a few dozen onions out there, mostly growing wild- they are not stopped by weeds or cold.  The scapes eventually fall over and some of the bulbs take root- that's the walking part.  I'd have a LOT more if more of the scapes fell into the neglected veggie bed and not into the lawn.  Last fall I planted a bunch of the sets into a not-very-well prepared bed, trying to grow them properly.  I intended to harvest them early as scallions, but once again life got in the way and they have set scapes again- I'm planting sets now and eating onions.  Its not unusual for me to come in from the back yard smelling of them this month.  I'm taking a different approach to the sets now-break the biggest one off each bunch and plant it alone, plant the rest of the bunch together to encourage them to grow more like scallions.  I'm planting them deeper than I have been too- shallow planted bulbs are largely brown and tough skinned, the deeper planted ones whiter and more tender.  I'll try three inches deep or so this time.
Based on last fall, I might get some scallions out of them this year.  I suspect I could have a nearly endless supply of onions as scallions or as little cookers if I work it right.

I've heard of a walking garlic too...

Well thanks for stopping by, and letting me ramble.