The Q&A Archives: How and When to Plant Winter Onoins

Question: A friend gave me about a dozen onions he called winter onions. The blubs are about 2" diameter. A couple weeks ago they bloomed and now have about 8 - 12 small "sets" at the top of each stalk. I've never had this kind of onion before. He said to plant these small sets. Do I plant them now and just how do I plant them correctly?

Answer: These are also known as Egyptian or walking onions, and can be planted in fall. If you live in the colder part of Wisconsin, wait til spring to plant. Store the sets in a cool, dark, dry place. Plant each "set" 1" deep and space them 6-8" apart, and they'll result in a perennial scallion patch. Keep the patch as weed-free as possible, since onions are poor competitors. If you have enough scallions, just clip the bulblets off the stalks as they form. Otherwise, the tops will bend down to the ground and take root (this is where they get the name "walking onions). Mulch the patch annually with compost. If they start to crowd each other, divide the roots in spring. Enjoy!

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