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Free Onions for Life

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Sometimes in our weekly grocery menu folks will ask why they almost never see onions in our “purchased” groceries for the week. Well, I’ll tell you why, because if you buy onions just once, you can have free onions for the rest of your life, with very little effort. Here’s how we do it . . .
growing onions in water bottles

The next time your purchase onions, Gently cut the root end off each onion (it doesn’t really matter what kind, purple, red, yellow, white, etc) as you use them.

Place the root end that you just cut off and plant it in the dirt, making sure that it is well watered. You’ll have the best results if you use potting or container soil rather than “topsoil”.

It will take root and sprout a new onion, which can be harvested when the stalk starts to yellow and lean a bit, about 90-120 days in all.

sprout onions

You can leave these on a window sill in your home for easy access year-round. They do prefer lots of sun!

As you need an onion, simply cut one off right at the ground, leaving the intact root and another will sprout in its place. This technique also works great with Leeks as well.


For scallions or spring onions you can place a few marbles or stones in the bottom of a mason jar and place the roots on top with just enough water covering the roots. They will take hold and re-sprout in just a few days’ time.

How to Regrow Vegetables from Scraps

Other vegetables that will “magically” regrow include:

  • Garlic Cloves
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Carrot Greens from discarded carrot tops (which will seed, allowing you to plant more carrots!)
  • Lemongrass (from discarded roots)
  • Basil from cuttings, change the water every other day
  • Celery, from the cut, discarded bottom
  • Bok Choy, from the cut, discarded bottom

Some types of vegetables do best when placed in soil, such as this Beijing cabbage. Simply place the cut, discarded bottom into the soil and moisten. It will sprout within a few days.

growing beijing cabbage from scraps

Others, such as green onions and scallions sprout best when placed in clean, cold water. Don’t use warm water as it promotes bacterial growth. Change the water every few days.

growing green onions from scraps

Lettuce sprouts rapidly in water when placed in a sunny windowsill.

growing lettuce from scraps

How to Grow Onions Indoors in a Vertical Planter

You’ll Need:
onion bulbs
Juice or other Beverage Bottle
Knife or scissors to cut holes in the bottle

  1. Separate the onion bulbs to ready them for planting.
  2. Cut holes in the bottle, spacing them an inch or two apart. The holes should be large enough to accommodate the largest part of the onion bulb.
  3. Fill the bottle with soil
  4. Tuck the onion bulb, fat end, into each hole.
  5. Water from the top, then mist all of the bulbs externally as well
How To Grow Green Onions in Plastic Bottle

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