• Home Home

Garden expert shares perfect kitchen-staple food to grow for any lazy gardener: 'Let them do the work for you'

"Thank you for this!"

"Thank you for this!"

Photo Credit: Instagram

Planting a food garden on a spring day can be a pleasurable sensory experience with the smell of fresh soil, sight of perky rows of crops, and sounds of birds. But maintaining it is another matter.

To take the edge off, Instagrammer Dagny Kream (@thecottagepeach) highlighted a crop that literally plants itself so it keeps returning even if you're a haphazard gardener: walking onions. "These green powerhouses get in more steps than I do if you let them," Dagny says.

The scoop

Usually, to grow an onion you plant a seed or seedling in soil, wait for green sprouts to mature, and then harvest the whole thing. At the bottom, buried in the soil, is the round bulb that gets peeled and minced. On top are the onion greens (or spring onions) that get used as a garnish.

The onions we're accustomed to eating are from the species Allium cepa. Dagny introduces another onion — the walking onion (Allium x proliferum) — that's a cross between the old-fashioned A. cepa and a Welsh onion (Allium fistulosum). It grows above ground and keeps replanting itself.

Dagny explains that "instead of growing bulbs underground like a regular onion, these onions do things in reverse by forming mini bulbs at the tip of the stem, which then bends over to the ground from the weight." 

Voilà, a new onion gets planted, by the plant itself. 

"Let them do the work for you," Dagny says.

How it's helping

Walking onions will gleefully spread and grow back every year as a perennial. So once you've planted a few, you can sit back and enjoy the harvest. No need to shop for onions.

You've also just made the planet a better place by growing your own food. With no packaging, no shipping, and no driving to a grocery store, you've reduced your pollution contribution.

And you may notice improvements in your health as well. Onions are high in vitamins C and B, and they act as protective antioxidants, among other nutritional benefits. The actual act of planting and eating your own crops can be good for your health too. A recent study found that gardening is a great release for stress and anxiety and can help you eat more fiber.

What's everyone saying?

On Instagram, people were intrigued and eager to share their experiences with walking onions.

One user said: "Thank you for this! A neighbor gave us some and he had no idea what they were called! Do you just eat the green stem?"

"I absolutely love these things! They're so cute and precocious," another user said. "They get all sorts of weird curly parts near the bulbs."

A knowing user corroborated Dagny's story, saying, "We have them all around our garden now after planting them 2 years ago."

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider