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                   My Method Of Growing Sprouts

After years of playing with different sprouting devices, I came up with a simple, inexpensive way to grow perfect sprouts in God's sunshine. It works for me, and it works for my friends. I think it will work for you, too.

The key piece of equipment you need is a round, black sprouting tray, which is 10" in diameter. The tray has tiny circular grooves in which the seeds insert their growing tails. One side of the tray is smoother than the other. You want the smoother side UP. The seeds poke through the smoother grooves and push their roots down into a shallow pan. It's an ingenious device.

The tray costs $9.00. This is your major, ONE-TIME expense for this method. The round, black tray is available from the Tribest Corporation. Tribest makes a sprouting machine called the Fresh Life Sprouter. The tray fits into the machine. BUT YOU DON'T NEED THE MACHINE -- JUST THE TRAY! Tribest's phone is 1-888-618-2078. The code number of the black tray is FRESHO5. Their website is: www.tribest.com Incidentally, I don't work for Tribest or ANYONE! I'm not trying to sell you anything. But this tray makes sprouting easy. I've had seven of them for years. They're made of strong, durable plastic.

Now you need a shallow pan to put the tray in. Go to your Home Depot and buy, for less than $2.00, a 14" clay-colored, plastic pan. It's about 2" deep. The black sprouting tray sits inside the shallow pan, smooth side up. Now all you need are seeds to sprout. I'll suggest sources of seeds later but first, an overview of what you do.

TINY sprouting seeds like broccoli, red clover, alfalfa, radishes, and Chinese cabbage do NOT need to be soaked first. The black tray I divided into four quarters. If you have four kinds of seeds, you can grow four "crops" at one time.

At your sink, wet the black tray. Make sure the glossier side is up. Then carefully spoon some of your sprouting seeds, say broccoli and alfalfa, onto the tray. The seeds are still dry, at this point. Now pour some CLEAN, PURE water in the 4" shallow pan; enough to almost float the round black tray. Carry the shallow pan to a sunny spot. Set it down. Now use a mister (not a husband, but a water-misting bottle) to mist the seeds. Get them good and wet. Mist them as often as you like, but at least 5 or 6 times a day. Mist them first thing in the morning, and just before you go to bed. In a couple of days, the sprouts will insert their tiny tails through the black tray, and begin growing. In a week, you'll have sprouts to eat.

Bigger seeds like sunflowers, wheatgrass, barleygrass, and buckwheat lettuce need to be soaked in pure water for around 7 hours. Use a glass jar or plastic container that has a screened top. You probably have an old sprouting jar in the back of your cupboard. Drain out the water, and let the bigger seeds sprout in the dark container for a day or less. As soon as you see the tiny white tails emerging, put the seeds on the black tray.

Sunflowers are a great sprout to start with, if the seeds are fresh and vital. You'll have a tray FULL of 6" sunflower seedlings in 7 days. Radishes are good, too. They grow so fast, that you can literally watch them.

Each morning, change the water in the shallow tray. The sprouts contain enough vitality to grow and live for about a week, with nothing added but pure water. Most of you will probably eat them before the week is up. But I live alone, and I grow a lot of sprouts that I'm still eating 10 days after I planted them. So I add some organic fertilizer to the pan water after 5 or 6 days. I use Sea-Plus, an all-organic, seaweed-fish fertilizer. It comes in a 16 oz bottle which costs me $8.20. I buy it from Johnny's Selected Seeds in Maine. Their website is: www.johnnyseeds.com. The Sea-Plus code number is $9578. I add about 6 drops of the fertilzer each day, so a bottle lasts me forever.

You can find sprouting seeds in lots of places. Try to use organic seeds. Whole Foods Market has a good selection, and their sunflower- seeds-for-sprouting, are fabulous! The best buckwheat sprouting seeds I've found come from Sun Organic Farms in California. Buckwheat can be hard to find. Sun also sells broccoli. alfalfa, sunflower seeds, and very tasty Daikon radish seeds. Make sure that you specify that you want seeds for sprouting! Sun Organic's phone is 1-888-269-9888.
Their buckwheat costs $1.95 a pound. SUN ORGANICS

Another terrific source of all-things sprouting is The Sproutpeople. If you go to their website, you'll learn TONS about sprouting. The address is: www.sproutpeople.com I use their Easy Sprout plastic containers instead of jars (for soaking). But the only things you really need for this method are (1) the round black tray, (2) the larger, shallow tray, (3) seeds, (4) a mister-bottle.

As I write, there are six pans on the floor in front of me. Two of them contain wheatgrass and barleygrass. I used to grow both grasses in compost, and it got to be a hassle. Now I grow both grasses on the black trays and they grow quickly into delicious blades of green grass. Soak the seeds for 8 hours, and then proceed as described above. In one week, you'll have green grass 6" high. You can then juice it (careful: some juicers don't handle wheatgrass), or you can cut a swatch, pop it into your mouth, and chew it thoroughly. Spit out the wad of fiber, through it won't hurt to swallow it. If you opt for the chewing method, grow wheatgrass. It's much sweeter than barleygrass. And that's it! Takes much longer to describe than it will to put into operation. For less than $15.00, you can give this method a try. Start with one black tray, like I did. If it works for you, you can always expand.

Last thought: Buy a copy of Steve Meyerowitz's book, SPROUTS, THE MIRACLE FOOD, or his equally good book, THE KITCHEN GARDEN. Steve will teach you all you need to know about sprouts.

Good luck with your sprouting!

Blessings,

Owen