Growing Your Own Sprouts and Microgreens at Home
We recently ran a series of workshops on this topic. Here is some information to get you started. We get our seeds online from Mumm's Sprouting Seeds, Canadian, organic, and delivered to your door. There are many great companies in the US and elsewhere as well, like Johnny's Selected Seeds - a quick search will help you.
We are available and happy to answer any questions you have on this topic. Message us @realfoodmicrofarm on Instagram or Facebook for help or questions! These are easy to do (especially jar sprouting to get started). Grow your own healthy food at home and great project to do with kiddos.
For additional sanitation, our best practice is to soak seeds with a special hydrogen peroxide solution and to add H202 to the water we use to water our greens as well. For more information on how to pursue this method, ask us, or search for trusted information online.
Growing Sprouts and Microgreens - Guide to Getting Started
Jar Method – I like this method for big, crunchy sprouts like pea, chickpea, lentils and the like.
Use a 500 ml size jar with cheesecloth across the top secured with a rubber band.
Soak your seed (1-2 tbsp) with fresh water in your jar according to size of seed/instructions on packet, larger seeds need a longer soak (ie. peas or chick peas soak for 8 hours, crimson clover or kale soak for 2-3 hours).
After allotted time drain your seeds and rinse well. After this, rinse your seeds morning and night allowing to drain thoroughly in between (ie position your jar upside down in a clean bowl for a while so all water may drain). You don’t want your sprouts sitting in a puddle of water! I like to keep mine beside the sink once they are done draining so I don’t forget to rinse them, but I cover them with a cloth so they are not exposed to bright light while they grow.
In 4-8 days (depending on variety of seed) you will have an abundance of crunchy sprouts to enjoy. I like to leave them out in the light the last day so they can “green up” a little before I use them.
Tray Method – This is my favorite way to grow all smaller seed sprouts. They grow vertically rather than piled on each other, more like micros. This method allows them to “green up” for a few days, enhancing their chlorophyll content and nutritional value.
There is an excellent commercial product that can be used for this method, I have used for years – the white specialized tray from Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds.
The other way to use trays to grow vertical sprouts is to use any kind of tray (clean trays from produce work, even cookie sheets work, or 10x20 black trays available at Home Hardware, Canadian Tire etc. Line this tray with a cut to size piece of “baby blanket” - a jute grass compostable mat. Again, Mumm's has this, as do I at this point, happy to share until its gone, let me know if you need some.
Soak your seeds according to size (as with the jar method) and spread evenly across the jute mat. If you use a plastic tray with a hinged lid, you xcan partially close the lid and get a natural greenhouse effect. If it is hot in your home, keep it propped open a little so your sprouts don’t overheat. Cover with a cloth and check every day to make sure the seeds and mat are moist but not sitting in a puddle of water. You may spray with a good mister if you like, that works well as it does not displace the seed.
After a few days your sprouts will be pushing against the lid of the container, it is time to open the lid and expose them to light – a good sunny window works well.
Water once a day in the morning at this point, do not overwater. Harvest when your sprouts are greened up nicely and looking appetizing, varies by variety but 6-8 days is about right.
Other Methods – There many sprouting methods and commercial products you can try from sprout bags (I like these), to sprouting tubes, to automatic sprouters, to the trays I mention in the workshop. By all means experiment with these if you like! It’s fun to try different things and find out what works for you.
I have been growing micros as a farm business for six years, and for my family for even longer, and I am still learning every day. There is much to learn and that is why these young tender greens are so much fun to grow. As with sprouts, micros can be grown many ways, including hydroponically, and on the jute mat or other materials. My preferred method is on organic soil in simple flats (10X20) and mini trays – I find this the most consistent, efficient, and cost effective method. Growing demands vary by variety of seed, but this starter guide will get you started with most. Again, reach out if you need help, I am happy to help you.
If you are growing any of the “larger” micros such as pea, sunflower or wheatgrass, I find it best to soak the seed for 8 hours, then sprout for two days before planting. Smaller seeds can be sown directly.
Spread a thin layer of soil (use organic soil mix if you can) in your tray, not all the way to the top, but near enough.
Spread your seed across the top of the soil as if you are sprinkling herbs on a fine dish. Make an even layer of seed.
Water your seed in well, taking care to be gentle not to displace the seeds all over the place. This can be a challenge, but you will get the feel for it.
Cover your moist seed with another tray, they like to germinate in darkness and grow better with a little weight on them initially. Some growers advise paper towel to cover the seed but I find they just grow into it and stick and you lose valuable micros this way.
Check your seeds twice a day to make sure they are moist. If they dry out germination will not be even, if they are too wet (sitting in a puddle of water) they will not make it. Make sure they are kept moist but not soaking.
After 2-3 days your micros will be pushing up the top tray, you can remove it now. If you have LED or florescent lights, it’s time to put them in light at least 12 hours a day. In Canada, by mid-April until end of September all you need is a South facing window for adequate light. Experiment! It’s amazing what you can grow with the help of our sun, even in Canada!
Water once per day in the morning. Make sure they are moist but not sitting in puddles of water. You can use trays with drainage holes to prevent this entirely, just be sure to put something underneath so you don’t ruin your windowsill or table!
Depending on the variety in 10-21 days you will have a nice tray of micros you can harvest and eat as you like. Share with your family, friends and neighbours – people love these tasty fresh greens and they are packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s nice to have an indoor garden going and know you can grow your own healthy food at home. Good luck and enjoy!
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