What is a sprout? A sprout is nothing more than a germinated seed, a baby plant with its roots still attached.
When we eat a sprout we are eating an immature ‘baby’ plant, roots and all.
Is this a Sprout?
When this vegetable is eaten it is the flower we eat, like broccoli and cauliflower, NOT the root. The little round orbs are the flowers of the plant.
On the right are sprouts; notice the leaves, stem and roots. When you eat a sprout you are eating the potential of the plant. A seed holds the capacity to produce a plant to maturity. A mature plant has expended all of its energy into producing the ‘desired’ crop; leaves-as in lettuce, roots-as in carrot or fruit-as in tomatoes.
A sprout holds the genetic memory of a plant species (kale, beans, pansies) and all of the nutrients it needs to grow to maturity. When you eat that germinated seed you are eating a concentrated form of the mature plant. For example: a sprouted pea holds 300 times more vitamin C then a fresh pea. Why? Because when you sprout a seed, you have activated (germinated) its potential. The nutrients and energy that seed would have used to develop the plant to maturity is what you are eating.
Now that you know what a sprout is, you have unlocked yourself from what you can sprout and how to grow them.
What does a seed need in order to sprout (germinate)? CONSISTENT moisture, warmth and light.
Always strive for attaining the cleanest, freshest seed you can get your hands on.
ON WATER and MOISTURE. I use tap water for all of my rinsing’s, but for my first and only seed soak I use filtered water. Seeds go from shriveled to plump overnight meaning they are drinking up or soaking water into their cells and since I eat them I want to use the cleanest water.
Your small seeds will double in size overnight while the larger seeds quadruple, so be sure they will remain submerged until you greet them again in the morning. The first thing the next day, tip your jar over in the sink to drain. The morning drain and tilt (angle is important). Three times daily rinse the seeds and drain at a forty-five degree angle.
The reason to rinse often (4 times or more if you want) is to keep the seeds from getting too hot. Sprouting seeds generate a great deal of heat through their growing cycle. It takes a great deal of energy (energy equals heat) to grow and you have many itsy-bitsy plants in a concentrated space. Watering often keeps the fragile little roots from drying out. Rinsing s process, keep the plants cool and the roots vibrant.
ON WARMTH Seeds sprout best at temperatures between 65°F and 75°F; too cold and the seeds take longer to grow, too hot and they might rot. Keeping them moist and watered keeps them not just moist and growing but also helps moderate their temperature. A general rule of guide is that if you are comfortable your sprouts will be too. Keeping them covered with plastic allows you to go to work and know that your seeds roots will not dry out. It breathes from underneath through the strainer while the plastic wrap keeps the moisture from evaporating giving you the freedom to grow sprouts and be able to leave the house. ON WINDOW (LIGHT) AND CONSISTENCY Sprouts need CONSISTENCY in everything, consistent even warmth and consistent even watering. When I say WINDOW, I do not mean direct light. Sprouts are tiny, immature, ‘baby’ plants and no ‘baby’, human or sprout, wants to sit on a bright hot windowsill. Light from nothing fancier than a 60 watt bulb is ALL the light your sprouts will need in order to ‘green up’. I have no window near my kitchen sink so I use my craft light to sit next to the sink and keep on for 24 hours to ‘green out’ the sprouts. No special light is needed, just a simple light bulb works beautifully. In all of my years of trying various lights it never altered a thing about either the quality or length of sprouting in our commercial operation. Light gives the sprouts the ability to make chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is another reason you eat sprouts. The green taste from sprouts that we associate with green grass is what chlorophyll tastes like. You are now ready to grow your own sprouts with all of the tools you need to be a successful indoor sprout farmer. Happy Farming!
Teaser to PART ONE: SEEDS Why They Matter
Seeds not sprouting? You’ve soaked your seeds and rinsed for days but nothing is happening. Perhaps you’re thinking it must be you, you have a black thumb and can’t grow anything. NO! STOP! I can guaranty (almost 100%) that it is NOT you. In an effort to change the world and make it a kinder gentler place I invite you to always think ‘it must be the seed’ because it usually is. In order for seeds to remain viable (sproutable) they need to be stored at temperatures no higher than 60°F, and kept dark and dry (no humidity). look for more next month on GoGreen101.
ASK ALICIA, The Master Sprouter if you are having issues, problems or need clarification.