Newest Review: ... my onions but you can have problems sometimes with birds pecking at the bulbs. Onions can also rust and get mildew, the base of the onion... more
Amazing everlasting onions! (No less)
Member Name: worst_trip
Advantages: A world without onions would be a lot less interestingly flavoured, if nothing else
Disadvantages: None, if you like onions
In a bid to cram away as many write-ups for plants before the powers-that-be at dooyoo decide to downgrade yet another category of reviewable objects - presumably as part of their long-term plan working towards the point where it won't be worthwhile writing a review for anything other than electronics, Guerlain fragrances, or mobile poxy 'phones - in this review I shall mostly be concentrating on onions.
And not just any old onions - because even though I like vegetables, and I like gardening, quite frankly I think I'd find myself hard-pressed to find 150 words to write about 'onions' in general.
No. What I've got are amazing ever-lasting onions, no less. These are also known as 'tree' or 'walking' onions, and the variety I've got, I'm astonished to see from the picture on Wikipedia, is actually called the 'Egyptian Walking Onion'. (They just called them 'everlasting' or 'perennial' onions, when I got mine.)
Tree onions don't grow bulbs under the ground like regular onions. They have the hollow, typical onion leaves, and sturdy, upstanding stems of an onion, but these root straight into the ground (albeit pretty shallow-rootedly) like any other (non-bulbous) plant. The difference is that they bear, at the top of the stem (which can be up to a couple of feet tall, in a larger plant), a stuck-together cluster of little miniature onion bulb-lets, each with a little green shoot of its own.
These attractive, reddish-purple coloured bulb-lets start small and grow bigger- eventually till they reach maybe the size of a large hazelnut. The bulbs from the tops of the stems can be detached and potted up or put in the earth separately, to grow new, full-sized tree onion plants. If you leave them in place, I suppose their eventual fate would be to fall to the ground when the (surprisingly sturdy) stem that supports them eventually fails - in my slug-infested garden, these stems seem particularly susceptible to being munched through by garden molluscs - and then at that point they'd root close to the parent plant, and begin growing independently from there. Meanwhile, the parent plant is also growing larger, and out from the base, so it has a double-pronged strategy for reproducing vegetatively. Hence these being known as 'everlasting' onions, because they go on and on.
Despite the reference to Egypt in the plant's name, these onions grow perfectly happily outdoors in temperate climates. I was given some small bulb-lets about 15 years ago, and the progeny of this first batch are still going strong - at several locations up and down the country, in fact, as I tend to take new colonies of the plant whenever I move. I mostly plant these onions in containers but they grow well directly in the ground as well; what they don't seem too good at is at competing with faster-growing plants in a garden bed, which is why I find they are more successful grown in pots. They're not too fussy about aspect either, and will grow in full sun as well as in the partial shade.
The bulb-lets are just like miniature onions, down to the papery, purplish outer skin, and if you have an excess of them, instead of being kept for the purposes of propagation, they can be peeled and cooked just like regular, shop-bought eating onions. The younger green eaves of everlasting onions can be use like spring onions (or chives) too, as an added bonus. These plants are very easy to grow, and I would recommend anyone who has a herb bed to include some of these oddly attractive and useful plants. You can easily get them on Ebay, if not from your local garden centre.
Summary: A world without onions would be a lot less interestingly flavoured, if nothing else