“What are these things?” Jenny asked as she looked into the paper bag Survival Sally handed to her.
“Well, dear, they’re Egyptian walking onion bulbs you can plant in your garden this spring,” Sally said.
“They look funny,” said Jenny. “They’re little, and stuck together, and some have green things sticking out of them.”
“That’s right,” said Sally. “They’re alive and anxious to be planted when the weather warms up.”
“What do you say, Jenny?” asked Diane, who was preparing meatloaf for supper.
“Thank you, Sally,” said Jenny.
“You’re welcome honey. Now keep these in a cool dry place until you’re ready to plant them.”
“What’s so special about these onions?” Diane asked Sally.
“For one thing, they’re fun to grow,” Sally said, “and I think it would take a nuclear attack to kill them off once they’re established. They’ll come back year after year.”
“I’ve never heard of that,” diane said. “How do they do that?”
“Each year they put out these bulblets in clusters near the end of their spears, instead of seed heads. If you let the plants go, the stalks bend over, and those bulblets plant themselves and grow. That’s why they’re called walking onions. I didn’t attend to some of mine a few years ago, and they got out of control like weeds. I still find little onion plants now and then where I least expect them.”
“That’s funny,” said Jenny.
“Well honey,” said Sally, “these onions are actually a very good thing to have in your survival garden. You can harvest the bulblets in the late summer or fall to keep the plants from taking over in places where you might not want them. Sam thinks they’d be great to plant in the wild. That way they could grow on their own, and you’d always have onions in a special place when you’re away from home.”
“Wow! That sounds neat,” Jenny said.
“You said they’re hard to kill?” asked diane.
“Oh, definitely. Mine have survived very cold winters. They’re supposed to be hardy to zone 3. They’ve made it through some pretty hot dry summers, too. They always produce an abundance of somewhat small to medium sized brown onions. They’re a little strong I think, so I like to slow cook them in with other vegetables when I fix roast beef.”
“Where did you get these onions?” asked Jenny, letting onion bulbs slip through her fingers back into the bag.
“These are from onions I grew last year. I don’t remember where I got my very first bulbs, but they’re fun an interesting to grow, and you’re sure to always have onions in your survival garden."