Grandpa's Walking Onions

by Jerry (JW)

Simply: I was from New York met a girl in Oklahoma who's grandpa had been growing them (Egyptian walking onions all his life. He was 93). He couldn't remember where he had gotten them but told me that once you start them they were hard to stop.

I took a handful of bulbs and listened intently to how they should be grown , when to eat them, and what to expect as they changed texture etc. throughout the summer. I have now been planting mine for over 42 years from his handful of bulbs.

They are the first edible growth out of the garden, and I have found that is when they are at their best. They tend to toughen as the summer progresses from the original stand.

The best way to process them for edible tender shoots all summer is to follow these simple instructions. Pick them as young scallions (they really don't bulb up like onions) and place them in water in the refrigerator. Leave on the roots and clip off the tops so they are manageable in their container. After two or three days they are ready to eat. Peel them back to where they are very tender , cut off the roots and you have a very nice scallion to add to salads , cook or eat raw.

As the top bulbs form, I harvest them as well and later in mid summer plant them again as scallions in a cool part of the garden making sure they get enough water. They will grow in rows at this time and again when they are big enough you can process them the same way I mentioned above. (early in spring placing them in water is not necessary as they are already tender).

I establish a main grouping from which I harvest the top bulbs. This grouping becomes your source of very large bulbs and in early spring excellent scallions on new growth. I place this feeder grouping at the far end of my garden away from everything else and let it go. It is from this grouping that I harvest the bulbs for future plants.

Every couple of years I establish a new Main grouping location with new plants somewhere away from the original. This process keeps diseases (albeit very few) from taking hold and guarantees lots of fresh scallions each spring. Dig up the old grouping when the new one starts producing and regain that spot of your garden. You do this and I guarantee you will be telling someone a very similar story someday.

I also give some bulbs to friends and tell them what to do and most have had very good success. Remember : They really don't bulb up like an onion but are so flavorful just a handful cooked or used raw will definitely do the job.

Thank you for your time, and good luck.


PS Yes, I married the girl from Oklahoma and will be married 40 years this fall.

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