Walking Onions for the Prepper’s Homestead
Walking onions, also known as Egyptian onions or tree onions, are a fascinating and useful addition to any prepper’s homestead. These unique plants provide a sustainable source of fresh onions year-round and require minimal maintenance. In this article, we will explore what walking onions are, how to grow and harvest them, and the various ways you can use them in your prepping endeavors.
What are Walking Onions?
Walking onions, scientifically known as Allium cepa var. proliferum, are a perennial vegetable related to common onions. What sets them apart from regular onions is their unique growth habit. Walking onions produce small onion bulbs, known as bulbils, at the top of their stalks instead of flowers. These bulbils eventually bend over and touch the ground, where they take root and grow into new onion plants, hence the name “walking onions.”
Growing Walking Onions
Walking onions are incredibly easy to grow and require minimal maintenance. Here are the steps to get started:
1. Obtaining Walking Onion Bulbils
You can start growing walking onions by obtaining bulbils from a local gardening center or exchanging them with fellow preppers. Another option is to purchase them online from a reputable seed company. Ensure that the bulbils are firm and free from any signs of disease or mold.
2. Choosing the Right Location
Walking onions prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Choose a location in your prepper’s homestead that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil should be well-draining to avoid waterlogged roots.
3. Planting the Bulbils
Plant the bulbils in early spring or fall, about 1-2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart. You can either plant them directly in the ground or in containers if you have limited space. Ensure that the bulbils are positioned with the pointy end facing upwards.
4. Watering and Fertilizing
Keep the soil consistently moist but not overly saturated during the growing season. Walking onions do not require excessive fertilization, but you can apply a balanced organic fertilizer in early spring to give them a nutrient boost.
5. Managing Weeds and Pests
Regularly weed the area around the walking onions to prevent competition for nutrients and water. These hardy plants are not usually bothered by pests or diseases. However, if you notice any issues, consult with a local gardening expert for appropriate remedies.
Harvesting Walking Onions
Walking onions can be harvested at different stages, depending on your preference and intended use.
If you prefer the mild and tender taste of green onions, you can begin harvesting the walking onions when the leaves reach approximately 6-8 inches in length. Snip the leaves close to the ground, leaving about an inch of the stalk intact for future growth.
To harvest bulbils for propagation, wait until they have fully developed and turned brown. Gently pull them off the stalks and store them in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them.
Walking onions can also produce mature bulbs similar to regular onions. Allow the bulbils to remain in the ground, and they will continue to grow into larger bulbs. When the leaves turn yellow and start to die back, it is a sign that the bulbs are mature and ready for harvest. Dig them up carefully, brush off excess soil, and store them in a cool, well-ventilated area.
Utilizing Walking Onions
Walking onions are not only a sustainable source of fresh onions but also offer various culinary and medicinal uses. Here are some ways you can utilize these versatile plants in your prepping endeavors:
- Chop the green leaves to add flavor to salads, soups, and stir-fries.
- Use the mature bulbs in any recipe that calls for onions.
- Plant the bulbils to expand your walking onion patch and ensure a continuous supply of fresh onions.
- Share bulbils with other preppers or gardening enthusiasts to spread the knowledge and benefits of walking onions.
- Walking onions have various medicinal properties and can be used to make herbal infusions for digestive issues and respiratory ailments.
- Apply a poultice made from crushed leaves to soothe insect bites and stings.
- Walkings onions can be fed to livestock, such as chickens and rabbits, as a nutritious and flavorful addition to their diet.
Natural Insect Repellent
The sulfur compounds present in walking onions act as a natural insect repellent. Planting them around your homestead can help deter pests and insects.
My 2 cents
Walking onions are a unique and valuable addition to any prepper’s homestead. Not only do they provide a sustainable source of fresh onions year-round, but they also offer numerous culinary and medicinal benefits. By growing and utilizing walking onions, you can enhance your self-sufficiency and resilience in times of uncertainty. So why not give them a try? Your taste buds and pantry will thank you!