The Herb that was Grown from Trash

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The Herb that was grown from trash1

This post is by Bernie Carr,

This year I am going to make an effort to avoid wasting food.  I made a salad and had used up a bundle of scallions, except for the root which I had left in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  I was about to toss these soggy roots into the trash when I decided to see if they would grow back:

The Herb that was grown from trash

If you have never used scallions, they have a mild onion flavor and are usually chopped up for use in salads, soups or stir fry dishes.   You can also mix them with chopped tomatoes and jalapenos for fresh salsa.  Scallions are also known as green onions or spring onions.

Steps I took:

I removed the rubber band and set them in about 1/4 cup of water in a Styrofoam cup.  After a couple of days, the roots grew and the green stem grew about an inch.

I took 3 of the roots and set them in dirt out in the balcony.

The other 3 I left in the water.

After about a week, the ones left in the water got wilted and the water smelled like rancid onions.  I dumped those out.

The ones I stuck in the dirt grew a new set of green stems.

Sprouted green onions from roots
Sprouted green onions from roots

We had freezing temperature for a couple of days but luckily they survived.  If you live in a colder climate, plant them in a small pot of dirt and leave it in a sunny window.  Now they are ready to use for the next salad or stir fry.  If I don’t use them up, I will try letting them dehydrate and use them dried.

For more fast and easy tips to become more prepared, read my book:

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  1. I have discovered that if you leave regular brown potatoes alone long enough, they will start sprouting and growing things that look exactly like green onions! Yes, I need to be better about cleaning my kitchen. 🙂

  2. I have been doing this for the last year or two, the green onions (aka scallions) will continue to grow for almost a year, if you keep cutting a few leaves from each one, they do go on and on. I first read about this in an old issue of The Mother Earth News, they talked about doing it in a pot for growing in a sunny window in the wintertime. Well, Acorn Cottage has NO sunny windows, so I just tried outdoors. I did not even put them in water for a few days, just set them into the dirt and watered them.

    Apparently it is also possible to do this with celery, though I’ve not tried that… information on that here:
    and details here:

    1. Hi Alison, It’s true, the green onions keep growing for a while for what I have seen. Thanks for the celery link, I will have to give one that a try now.

  3. How clever – I never would have thought of recycling the green onion roots to grow new ones. Survival Husband uses a lot of green onions but there are always a few close to rotting in the refrigerator bin. Plus, I have never had much luck growing them from seed. Thanks for the tip.

    I would be interested and other garbage “rescues”. Now only if we could grow t-bone steaks from the remnants on our plate LOL.


    1. LOL, t-bone steaks would be pretty impressive! I’m not great at growing from seed either, so this was fun for me.

  4. We use quite a bit of these at work. I took some home a couple of years ago and planted them in the garden ( Ark ). They keep coming back year after year. That is my type of gardening – low maintenance!

  5. Chives are essentially unkillable and work the same way. When dug up, they look like a bundle of very slim green onions. They can be separated into singles or bunches and replanted almost anywhere. I put them on “bad” edges, like at the edge of the alley, or on the border of the garden where the kids have a swing and often kick them. I swear they thrive on maltreatment, and can be harvested right through the snow.

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