Monday, January 11, 2010

Garden in a Jar

It's winter, and it's wet and cold outside. My garden is soggy and dormant, and it will be months before I can get back in there to grow anything. But still, I crave that fresh, juicy crunch of veggies that I have grown myself. So, what do I do? I take my gardening to a jar and grow my own tasty sprouts on my kitchen counter.Sprouting seeds is easy, and no special equipment is required. All you need is a clean jar, some cheese cloth and a rubber band. Basically all you do is rinse, soak, drain, let sit, rinse, drain, let sit, rinse again, drain again, let sit again and continue that for five or six days. Visable sprout grouth can be seen each time you repeat the rinse, drain and let sit steps. The entire process from seed to table takes less than one week, making the reward of growing your own sprouts pretty fast. Don't I wish that radishes would grow that quickly in the spring!
The water poured off during the draining process is chocked full of nutritients, so on plant-watering day, rather than just dumping it all down the drain, some of that water is reserved for my house plants.
Preferring to buy my goods locally, locating quality sprouting seeds was a challenge for me. Our Community Food Co-Op was the only store in our county where I was able to find sprouting seeds available. I was disappointed with what they carried, however, as they had a very limited selection and they were priced considerably higher than if ordered online - even after adding in shipping charges. The seeds that I purchased from them may not have been particularly fresh either as they took a few days longer than most sprouting seeds to sprout, and they had a very poor germination rate.

I ended up finding a supplier of high-quality, organic sprouting seeds online at wheatgrasskits.com. They not only carry a long list of seeds to select from but I consider their prices very reasonable. Their seeds are certified organic, seem very fresh and have a very high germination rate. Wheat Grass Kits also carries several sprouters if you want to use something other than just a plain old jar in which to grow your sprouts. My orders are always received within three or four days - even when placed during a weekend.

Here's how I garden in a jar.


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It is important to utilize food safe, sanitary conditions when growing your own sprouted seeds in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. Several years ago, there were reports of e coli in sprouts so stores pulled sprouts and sprouting seeds from their shelves. Guidelines for safely growing your own sprouts at home have been made available, and UC Davis has published such a guide. You will find their guideline here - http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/datastorefiles/234-412.pdf.

Happy sprouting!

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3 comments:

  1. its funny, i was just looking into growing my own sprouts a few weeks ago- i became overwhelmed with the different types of seeds available and didnt know which to choose- yummm- sprouts are hard to find around here- i love them on my sandwich! thank you for the how-to - your son, Brian

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  2. Brian, I highly recommend starting with the deluxe sprouting mix from wheatgrasskits.com.

    Here's the link - http://www.wheatgrasskits.com/sprouting/deluxe_10-part_sprouting_mix.htm

    Their seeds are so fresh that from the initial rinse to having a jar stuffed full of wonderfully fresh sprouts, the process only takes five days. Plus it's a nice combination of seeds already put together for you, solving that overwhelming decision of which seeds to buy. And wow, do they ever make a sandwich good!
    Mom

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