Growing Sprouts at Home
We’ve covered why growing sprouts is good for you in a previous post, but I wanted to share how easy of a process it is to grow them. In this post I’m going to cover sunflower sprouts. This is my absolute favorite to grow and eat. They are rich in chlorophyll, protein and nutrition. Add them to your salad or even a wrap. My kids eat them right out of the bag!
STEP ONE – Selecting and storing seeds:
Purchase high quality organic seeds for sprouting. Not only are they healthier and chemical free, but I find there is a higher sprouting rate with the organic seeds. Store them in a cool or cold dry location and plan to use them within two years. The longer you store them the lower your germination rate will be. That means that not as many of your seeds will sprout.
To grow your sprouts first you must soak your seeds for at least eight hours. Soaking your seeds will bring them out of dormancy so they are ready to grow. I soak mine overnight, or even up to twenty-four hours, depending on the type of seeds. Rinse the seeds and make sure they are clean (no rocks, sticks, empty shells) – then put them in a mason jar. The amount of seeds you soak and grow will depend on the size of your jar and tray you are planting them in. If you use a full size gardening flat you can expect to plant approximately three quarters of a cup of seeds per tray. If you don’t have a special sprouting lid, any other type of mesh product will work. Use a ring on your jar to hold the mesh over the opening. Our nut milk and sprouting bags work well for rinsing seeds. Rinse your seeds twice and fill the jar with water. I take an extra step and soak the seeds with a tablespoon of liquid kelp to increase the germination rate. You can also add food grade hydrogen peroxide to your soaking water to sanitize the seeds.
STEP THREE – Plant:
The most important thing to remember is sanitize, sanitize, sanitize! This is a food product you will be growing and sprouts can easily grow mold if they are not in sanitary conditions. I use food grade hydrogen peroxide to disinfect my sprouting area. Sanitize your planting trays and fill them with an inch of a quality organic soil. The addition of earthworm castings can boost your sprouts growth as well. Follow the directions on the bag for adding them to your soil. They will increase the growth of your sprouts. Drain your seeds (I do not rinse
mine) and evenly spread them on your tray. Water them and cover the tray with another tray or a damp paper towel.
STEP FOUR – Grow:
Sprouts do not need a lot of special care. After two to three days you can remove their cover and a bright window will provide them enough light. Keep them moist by watering them once or twice per day. You do not want them to be too wet or they will grow mold.
STEP FIVE – Harvest:
Harvest your sunflower sprouts before their second set of leaves have fully developed. It’s best not to water them the night before you harvest so they are dry – which makes it easier to pull off any remaining seed hulls and they will also last longer if they are not damp. To harvest your seeds cut them off close to the soil line with a sharp knife or scissors. Brush off any hulls and discard discolored sprouts. Store them in a plastic bag with a paper towel to draw away any excess moisture. Sunflower sprouts should last in your fridge for about a week (unless you eat them sooner!).
Growing sprouts is easy! The time and effort you put in to them is minimal other than harvesting, and the resulting fresh food is worth it! Next time I will cover growing alfalfa sprouts. What are your favorite sprouts to eat?
Jessica Wick is one of our very own E3Live employees, she enjoys teaching her three children about organic gardening, has a horse, a goat, 2 dogs and a flock of chickens that also love E3Live!