Monday, February 11, 2013

Gardening WITHOUT a Garden! Growing Sprouts

There is something about harvesting delicious veggies straight from one's own garden and eating it the same day!

But for some, time, space, and even health constraints may make planting and caring for even the smallest garden seem a bit overwhelming.

Growing sprouts can catapult the would be gardener beyond all of those hurtles!  It is the easiest!  Requires only the simplest equipment, found in any household, no soil, no pots, no outdoor space at all!

All you need are some sprouting seeds (buy seeds suitable for sprouting and eating -- conventional seeds for planting may not be the freshest and may even be treated with anti-fungal agents);  a quart size jar of some sort, and something to put over the top of the jar that you can drain water through when you rinse the sprouts (or a cover that can breath, at least, like cheesecloth or a paper towel -- then you will need to drain and rinse the sprouts through a strainer or colander and replace back in the jar, rather than rinse and drain directly in the jar); a counter where you can keep the jar so you see it and won't forget about it; and maybe some indirect sun from a window to green the sprouts up on the last day in the jar.

And talk about economical!  I do believe sprouting must be the most economical form of home gardening there is, with the highest return on one's investment.  I calculated that my investment in a $4.99 8oz packet of "salad mix - alfalfa, radish, and broccoli" sprouting seeds will yield the equivalent of $54.00 worth of sprouts purchased from a grocery in my area.  Add to that the economy of being able to sprout what one needs -- so that hopefully one is not left with half a plastic clamshell of sorry dilapidated uneaten sprouts, it is very economical indeed.

And I can tell you that the quality and flavor, the juiciness and crunch, of sprouts that you have grown yourself, eaten within days of their first sprouting, is far superior to anything you can buy at a store, where it's been shipped and held who knows how long.  And growing it oneself avoids the problems with contamination that commercially grown sprouts have suffered from in the past year or so.

Here is how I grow a quart of sprouts:

Buy seeds (I found mine at Whole Foods).

Measure out 2 teaspoons, and soak them in warm water for a few hours in a quart jar.  I have a set of plastic lids with holes in them that I got way back in the 70's when sprouting was required for any self-respecting reader of Mother Earth News.  These lids fit any wide mouth quart jar.

Drain the seeds, and prop the jar so that any excess water can drain out.  You want the seeds to stay moist, but not swimming.

Now, at least 2 times a day (morning and night) -- 3, if you can remember -- pour some fresh water on to the seeds, swish them gently, rinsing them, then drain the water out.

On the third day maybe scooch the jar a little nearer to a window (not in full sun! they would cook then), so the light will green them up a bit.  On the third or fourth day they are ready to eat!  Keep your uneaten sprouts in container in the fridge.  Easy Peasy.  Growing your own food just doesn't get any simpler.

And here's my lunch that very day (bought and soaked the seeds on Sunday, lunch on Wednesday.

As usual, my photos do not do it justice, but here is my sandwich -- whole wheat bread, spread on one side with mayo with a bit of pesto mixed in, and on the other with a bit of leftover chickpea puree from the previous dinner, and for the filling:  bacon, cucumber slices, sun dried tomatoes (much better than so-called "fresh" tomatoes in the winter time!), sliced avocado, and fresh sprouts.

It was so good, I had the same thing for lunch on Thursday!

Linking to The Backyard Farming Connection Blog Hop; Sunny Simple Sunday; Tuesday Garden Party


Amber said...

oh how wonderful. Good on you! i have a giveaway you maybe interested in too. xx

Bargain Hoot said...

Thank you so much for sharing how to grow sprouts. I should really try make it look easy!!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I've been wanting to try sprouts. Thanks!

Sandy said...

What great instructions as I love
sprouts and the store bought kind
are full of E coli and such horrible
Thanks for sharing

acorn hollow said...

I love this idea so much I stopped buying sprouts. I have just placed an order for organic seeds on line.
looking forward to growing my own sprouts in snow cold NH

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

I used to do this back in the 70's too. I have to try this again. Thanks for the reminder on how easy it is. Stopped by from Sunny Simple!

Debra @ Homespun said...

I'll have to try this! :)

Rhonda said...

I have been wanting to do this, thanks for all the good advice. I am guessing the seeds are in the bulk food section of Whole Foods?

Gretchen Stuppy Carlson said...

Great post - I'm featuring you this week on the Backyard Farming Connection!

Diana Schmied said...


~ Janis said...

Good Post!!! I drain my sprouts using an old nylon stocking over the jar top.
If you do not have a nylon, you can use a coffee filter. I love the sprouts and my chickens love the sprouts too!!

tina said...

I so love alfafa sprouts and bought a whole kit to try to grow them, but failed miserably. I am very envious of your sprouts! They look perfect on that bread just ready for munching!

Angie A said...

Great pictures! We too have been doing sprouting around our house. We chose Lentils. It's been great and our chickens have LOVED them! And, it's super easy. We haven't yet eaten them ourselves. The sandwich pictures you've included make me want to hurry up and try our sprouts for ourselves. The look yum!
(You can see a post about our sprouts at