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Sprouting - Frances Bea
I'm hoping to get good enough at growing sprouts that I can produce some good fresh greens this winter that won't have had to travel thousands of miles to get to New York. It's going well so far. I got a couple of different kinds of vertical sprouting devices and have been growing those kinds of sprouts that are able to develop as far as I want them to without soil or fertilizer - just working off of the energy in the seed and a little sunlight toward the end.

This was my first attempt at faking a time-lapse video, but I didn't get the camera position and white balance quite the same between the shots so it's not that convincing. This is one tablespoon of indigo lentils growing in a 5" by 6" plastic vertical sprouting tray. The vertical sprouting tray is part of my new experimentation. It is easier to manage than a canning jar, which is what I had used in the past. It's only necessary to hold the tray under a running faucet two or three times a day. It has great drainage so I don't need to worry too much about leaving the seeds in enough water to allow mold. I got it here.

So far I've grown mung beans, lentils, broccoli, radish, clover, alfalfa, and some seed mixes with small amounts of arugula, cress, fenugreek, dill, garlic, onion, mustard, celery. The whole thing is proving to be incredibly economical. I'm not sure about the cost of one tablespoon of lentils, but I know it's pretty negligible. The trick then is to figure out what sprouts we like best. The smaller leafy sprouts like clover and alfalfa are sweet and yummy, but they will never replace lettuce in a salad because the seeds are very small and at the point that the seed is used up they are still about two-thirds white root and only about one-third green plant.

My next experiment will be a step will be trying some plants that will require soil. This is a step closer to actual gardening than sprouting, but a soil medium will allow the extra growing time needed to grow leaves that might serve as the base of a green salad. I have a larger tray and some appropriate seeds: buckwheat, pea shoots, and sunflower. I got the impression from some of my reading that I might be able to sprout popcorn, but I don't know if I need special popcorn or if regular organic popcorn would work. I got an organic fertilizer made from liquefied kelp. All I need now is the actual soil. This will be fun, and if this works well the greens I produce in the winter will far more than pay for all of these supplies.


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