Growing Things: Regrowing Green Onions

Green emerges!

Spring is the time of growth and renewal, as evidenced by the transformation of the farm landscape from austerity to verdancy. I’d read over the winter that it was easy to regrow a number of different common vegetables, so after I used green onions in kimchi, I decided to try my hand at regrowing the (root) ends that I’d cut off. Based on the green I see, it looks like it really does work!

First, let me recommend that the instructions for regrowing green onions be reviewed prior to attempting it; since I did it after the fact, I realized later that I had cut the bottoms of the onions way too short – they were supposed to be 1-2″ above the roots. Oops. Good for kimchi, bad for the onions.

The onion nubs still had a healthy number of roots, though, so I proceeded with placing them in filtered water on a window ledge that would have reasonably good natural light. And then I waited.

Just 4 after the first batch of kimchi…

At first, it was difficult to tell if anything was happening. The onions looked pretty much the same…until I took a closer look at the roots and realized that new ones had grown. I figured that was a good sign.

A couple more added, and growth!

Just a couple of days ago, I realized that the onions’ roots were outgrowing the small dish they were in, so I repotted them into soil. As you can see in the top photo, most of them are happy and sending up green, with the exception of a couple that were cut so short that there was barely any onion left above the roots (though I still have hope that, with time, they’ll grow, too – their roots have continued to grow).

Update 1: growth two days after original post

This has been a fun experiment, and I look forward to trying my hand at regenerating useful plants from what would otherwise be food “waste”. Of course, the green onion roots wouldn’t really have been wasted because the pigs would have enjoyed them; instead, we’ll enjoy them someday in another batch of kimchi.

Update 2: it definitely pays to cut the onions thoughtfully – these are from my last batches of kimchi, and look at the growth in just a couple of days!

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