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Sprouting Update - Frances Bea
Sprouting Update
My sprouting experiments are continuing. Here's an update on what I'm sprouting lately:

The buckwheat has been growing for 10 days. I'll probably be ready to harvest it as a green base for a salad about the middle of this coming week. I've planted the seed a lot more densely than in the past, so I'm watching for signs of plant over-crowding.

The mung beans are an old stand-by. I recently purchased a cookbook of Thai food and mung bean sprouts are a significant part of that cuisine. Growing my own is really inexpensive by comparison. (Have you ever priced out two tablespoons of mung beans?) But it does require greater foresight. These mung beans have been growing for seven days, and are now quite ready for use.

This is an experiment and won't necessarily be a successful one. I keep a large bucket of beans for making twelve-bean soup. (Though there's usually far more than twelve kinds of beans involved.) Whenever I have a small remaining amount of a bean variety - too little to make anything with - I dump the remainder into my mix so I can take the empty bean jar for refilling. Throughout these warm months that mix has grown and grown because no one needs warm comfort food in hot weather. Sprouting some of the mix isn't going to make a significant dent in the stash, but I had the thought that I might be able to discover some more about bean varieties which sprout well or badly. Some of the beans in the mix may be too old to germinate reliably. Some, like the green split pea in the upper left of the photo, I do not expect to sprout at all.

These have been sprouting for two days, and you can see several are showing healthy signs of life.

This is a leafy sprout mix - the seeds are clover, cress, and garlic. The leafy sprouts are some of my favorite. They make great additions to a salad. In a pinch they can serve as a yummy lettuce replacement in one, but they are very small and fragile and unadventurous diners might be a but put off. I usually grow these for about seven days. The ones in the photo are three days old, so I may harvest them along with the buckwheat later in the week for a really nice salad.

My sprouting set-up is focused around a window that gets pretty decent light throughout the year. My hope is to provide a good portion of the fresh vegetables that we need during the winter so that we can save the personal expense and the environmental damage of transporting them thousands of miles from warmer climates down south. I hope to avoid any dependence on artificial light for the growing or I will have negated a little bit of both advantages. I'm doing okay now, but the days are still getting shorter.

On the other hand, some of my sprouts are not supposed to be very green and I keep them covered most of the time. All of the various beans fall into that category. You can see from the photos that they do grow some green leaves and stalks anyway, and if I wanted to be more aggressive about it I think I could reduce this further by keeping them in a darker location as the tray lids are not light-proof.


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