Growing Sprouts at Home – Easy & Delicious!

sprouts2  sprouts

There are many great reasons to grow sprouts – here are just a few:

Sprouts are the delicious and crunchy. They are plants grown from edible seeds (usually alfalfa, clover, sunflowers, but your options are endless) that are grown anywhere from a few days to a week. They are very nutritious and can be included in almost any diet for health benefits. Growing your own sprouts is really easy and worth the effort! Here are some things to consider if you are new to growing your own.


Sprouts don’t take a lot of space – sprouts can be grown in the smallest of spaces in your kitchen. You have several options including sprouting trays, kits or even just a mason jar.  Sprouting doesn’t require direct light or an overly warm space. Pick a spot near water and a window and you will have sprouts in no time!  Our sprouting/straining bags also work great and are reusable:  http://www.e3live.com/all_products/nut_milk_sprouting_bag.html.Sprouting is less expensive – sprouting your own seeds is much cheaper than buying sprouts at the store. For the same several dollars you would pay for a small container, you could purchase enough seed to grow many times the amount of fresh sprouts. You can also customize your blend of seeds to match your preference or needs.Sprouts don’t take a lot of time – sprouts grow quickly and easily. Make sure they are watered on a regular basis and ignore them until they are ready to eat. They are one of the most rewarding things to grow and you can set a routine to provide them to you weekly. It’s much quicker than waiting on a garden.

Sprouts are delicious – fresh sprouts are amazingly delicious and nutritious! These barely grown plants pack a nutritional punch that can be enjoyed on sandwiches, salads, and even in smoothies. Most sprouts are mildly flavored and have a nice crunch to them. We will show in an upcoming post how to grow some sprouts from start to finish.

Growing sprouts is a great way to extend your food budget and improve your health.  Give it a try! You’ll be amazed at how simple it is. What kind of sprouts do you enjoy growing? We’d love to hear about your sprouting adventures in the comments below.

~Jessica

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!

Preparing your Garden for Winter – 4 Easy Steps

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It’s the end of the growing season in many places. Here in Southern Oregon we have already had frost several times. Ending your gardening season and preparing your garden area for next year is just as important as the daily maintenance. Here are some things you should think about when fall comes.

1.  Fertilize – I use my own organic compost for fertilizing. While I do mix some in the soil after I have harvested my plants you want to make sure you stop applying your fertilizer about a month before your final harvest. This will help your plants to focus on vegetables and fruit that are already set on the plants. You should also pinch off any new growth on the tops of your plants.

2.  Harvest – Before harvesting your food for the year make sure you have a plan for storing it. There is nothing worse than losing all your hard work because you are not prepared to handle it. Make sure you are ready to can, freeze, or provide cool storage for your root crops. This is a good time to share labor with your friends and family. If you will have excess you can share it with them or donate it to a local food bank.

3.  Protect – Fall is the time to protect your soil. You can do this by adding a deep later of compost, leaves or other material or by planting a cover crop. You want something that will be incorporated into the soil over the winter and provide nutrients as well as protecting from erosion. If you have chickens – letting them into your garden area before you cover it for the year can be beneficial as well. Chickens will eat insects and their eggs to help reduce infestations in the spring.

4.  Plant – Fall is the time to plant your spring bulbs and some flower mixes. Many of them need to be in the ground over the winter to bloom well in the spring. You can also divide your perennial plants. If you are planting seeds make sure they go in the ground 6 weeks before your first frost.

These are just some things to keep in mind as winter approaches. Do you have a different approach for an area with a longer growing season?  Please add your tips below in the comments and be sure to share this post!

~Jessica

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!

Straw Bale Gardening – Grow a Garden Almost Anywhere!

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Have you ever wanted to build a raised bed for your garden but didn’t have the materials or enough money? Gardening in straw bales is a cheaper and eco-friendly alternative. It may sound unusual but it’s extremely effective and reduces the amount of labor it takes to garden.

Straw is cost effective: Straw bales are cheap. You can get them from your local feed store or farmer. Straw (not hay you feed to animals) is animal bedding and usually ranges from four to six dollars for a large bale. They should be yellow in color and free of mold.

It is Versatile: Location is actually one of the easiest things to work out when you are using straw. You can put a straw bale almost anywhere the sun shines for most of the day. If you do not have any room in your yard you can even put them on the concrete of your driveway. You can also stack them and grow your garden vertically. Simply plant your plants on the sides of the bales instead of the tops.

Make sure to prepare your straw: Place your straw in the desired location (make sure you don’t want to move it because they are heavy when wet!) You want to put a sprinkler on them for the day and thoroughly soak them. Be sure the leave the strings holding them together on. One the second day cover the top of your bale with a high nitrogen source (I use my own composted manure from chickens) and gently water it into the straw. Let it sit dry the next day and then continue to water your straw for the next one to two weeks. Within a few days your straw should start to decompose on the inside and heat up. Do not plant your plants until the straw goes through its hot cycle and starts to cool down (about two weeks).

It is Simple: Planting is easy. You can top your straw with some soil and direct sow your seeds or you can transplant your plants. Use a screwdriver to pull out enough straw for your root ball. Make it somewhat larger and add some extra soil to give the roots an easy place to grow. I use the extra straw I pulled out as a water saving mulch around the base of the plants. Water heavily until your plants are well established. Then you should be able to water every few days. Straw stores an amazing amount of water!

You should be able to grow three large plants or up to eight smaller ones per bale. You can also plant herbs on the sides. Straw makes its own compost as it breaks down but you should gently fertilize through the season. Planting in straw means you can also plant sooner and grow slightly longer if you have a short growing season. The straw generates heat as it breaks down. A simple frame with plastic cover will give you a self-heating miniature greenhouse. At the end of the year cut the strings on your straw and add it to the compost pile.

Straw is an extremely easy way to garden in tight spaces. They are raised off the ground for easy access; virtually eliminating the need to weed, are cheap, and good for the environment. What do you use for unique gardening techniques? We would love to hear about them in the comments section.

~Jessica

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!