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grow your own microgreens & sprouts

So this month I turned fifty. Instead of a weekend away or diamond jewelry, I opted for a grow light system which hubby so sweetly rigged up for me. Watch these bok choy microgreens grow by swiping on your ipad, or use your cursor to click and drag side to side on the image below. Why wait for spring when you can grow fresh greens in winter?

A camera was set up over the course of a week, and we tried to do a shot every hour. Thank you hubby for making my photos move.

Microgreens are tiny tender sprouts that are grown in a medium (hydroponics, soil, baby blanket). Nutrient dense with concentrated flavour they are a perfect garnish to soups, salads or sandwiches. Harvest by snipping with scissors right before eating at 1-1/2 to 2 inches tall.

This is rainbow kale, grown hydroponically in clay pebbles (hydroton). Seeds are sprinkled directly on top, and is misted daily with a spray bottle. Whatever doesn’t get harvested just keeps growing into baby greens. We can’t get enough kale around here, I’ve got four varieties started. There will be plenty of kale here for a winter salad that I recently posted at EatBoutique.

I went a little crazy with seeds here. Some were ordered on the internet, but most came from a health food store. Make sure the seeds you purchase are organic. You may already have some lurking in your pantry — wheat berries, kamut, quinoa, sesame seeds, beans, peas, lentils…

This is “baby blanket”, a natural jute cloth made especially for growing microgreens. Cut a pad to fit your tray, wet it, and add seeds. Keep moist and misted. Tent with plastic keep humidity high. The cloth can be used repeatedly. Be sure to sterilize your blanket between each crop either by boiling or bleaching (soak in 1 tsp of bleach to 1 pint of water and rinse well).

Another method is to first pre-soak your seeds till they begin to sprout, then spread them over the wet baby blanket. Keep the blanket moist. The roots will find their way down in a few days. Pre-soaking is a faster and better way of getting larger seeds to germinate.

This is shanghai bok choy after one day using the “sprinkle direct method”.

This goopy, mucousy grey mess is chia seeds. They are mucilaginous seeds, where the husk turns into a moist and sticky gel sac when wet. Mucilaginous seeds need to be grown in a medium rather than sprouted in jars.

The same tray after two days, chinese mustard is in the foreground, chia growing well in the background.

Two kinds of bok choy, and wheat grass. It’s amazing how fast the wheat grass grows. This is after one week and ready to harvest.

48″ wide shelving from Costco, 12 hanging light fixtures, a package of S-hooks to hang the lights from, 24 daylight fluorescent tubes & 3 power bars make up this unit. The lights can be easily raised or lowered to be 3″ from the plants.

Wheat grass for our green smoothies. Once cut, they can be grown again for a second harvest. After that, it’s better to start with new seeds.

Microgreens and sprouts is a great way to engage children. They can see fast results – plant, water, harvest and eat within 3-7 days.

With sprouting, you will need some glass jars. We used mason jars. Window screening purchased from the hardware store is cut to fit the rings. You can also use cheesecloth and a rubber band. It all works, just as long as you can strain your seeds.

Wash and soak your seeds for a minimum of 2-5 hours, or best left overnight. The larger the seed (like beans and peas), the longer the soak.

We started off with 2-3 tablespoons of seeds per jar. The great thing about sprouting indoors is you do not need light. In fact, do not place it in direct sunlight. Just keep it on your kitchen counter, preferably near a sink for rinsing.

After soaking, rinse with cold water and strain through the lid.

Drain all the water out before laying it on it’s side, make sure the seeds aren’t sitting in excess water or they will rot.

Be sure to rinse the seeds twice a day, then lay it back down on it’s side. If you are going away for a few days and can’t rinse, then store in the fridge.

These jars are draining, and almost ready. Eat before they start to form their first set of leaves.

Mung beans (bean sprouts) are ready. Sprouts can be store for several days in the fridge. If it goes a bit longer, just give it a rinse. Do not store sitting in water.

It took 4-5 days for these to be ready. Favourite so far is broccoli sprouts (which taste like fresh crispy concentrated broccoli!) and the daikon radishes which Henry does not like.

The daikon radish sprouts are hot and spicy. You won’t need dijon mustard with these stuffed in your grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

  • Winter Salad with Miso & Ginger Dressing | Eat Boutique - handmade food giftbox, homemade, homespun, gift basket, food that hugs you back - […] veggie to grow in your backyard (yes! it will survive winter with very little help), we are even growing kale “micro-greens” and sprouts […]ReplyCancel

  • Maggie at Eat Boutique - Oh my, those sprouts must be delicious. I just need time to do it all… Where online do you buy your seeds?ReplyCancel

  • Welcome to 2012 » Kevin Hewitt's Blog - […] We are always adding new examples so follow us and we’ll keep you updated. Here is one of the more recent interactive timelapse images we did for […]ReplyCancel

  • Growing Microgreens - Growing Microgreens is so fun and it’s cool to see how it all works. But those sprouts look so good…ReplyCancel

  • Chez Us - Hi Jill,

    I remember my mother growing sprouts like this. I have been thinking about it for the past couple years, but have not attempted. Now, I am completely motivated. Your gorgeous photos and the step by step photos make it seem so much easier than I thought! Thank You.ReplyCancel

  • Growing Indoors » FreestyleFarm - […] stopped. Between the plastic covered hoop tunnels at both home and cottage; and experimenting with microgreens and sprouts with indoor lights, I was able to keep growing through fall and winter, and now into […]ReplyCancel

  • Shrimp Toast | Eat Boutique - handmade food giftbox, homemade, homespun, gift basket, food that hugs you back - […] over toast; here, I have cilantro and chives grown from seed this winter. Amazing what you can grow with regular daylight white fluorescent […]ReplyCancel

  • marc - Nice post. Can I ask where you get the baby blanket. Is it available anywhere in Canada? ThanksReplyCancel

  • sarah - Where do you find the jute cloth? Like the idea of having a reusable medium!ReplyCancel

  • Basement Aquaponics & Raising Tilapia » FreestyleFarm - […] Rather than feeding my fish commercial pellets, I’m trying to grow my own source of fish food. Soaking in water, is some wheatgrass, red clover, and alfalfa seeds. Here’s how to grow your own sprouts from a previous post. […]ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Frazier - Hi. Thank-you for sharing your information! I was wondering what steps you used to prepare the clay pebbles (presoak them)? Also, will I be able to grow the mucilaginous seeds on the clay pebbles as well? From your experience, which seeds grow best on the clay pebbles, and which in soil (other than sunflower, pea and buckwheat, which I understand need soil)?

    Thank-you for your lovely photos. I am very intrigued to grow micro-greens on the clay pebbles, especially kale, and possibly swiss chard and cilantro. Do you have experience growing swiss chard or cilantro on the clay pebbles?

    🙂 LisaReplyCancel

  • louise - hi
    I’m interested in knowing how you made that first picture touch interactive (grows or shrinks). did you use some kind of software? super info I’m glad you turned fifty! I’m fifty two and in my head, I’m 32

  • Iwona - I like your ideas.Where can I buy baby blanket -jute blanket that is.
    Happy sprouting and microgreening.

  • Stuart Franklin - Great post. I have been doing microgreens this winter and am loving it. How did the sesame seeds work for you? I’m going to try some this week.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - Love your page. So much great information. I love the shelves with the lighting, what an awesome idea!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!ReplyCancel

  • Irina - Thank you for this informative post on growing greens. I can’t wait to try growing my own. But before I begun I need to get my hand on some of that “baby blanket”. Can you recommend a place in Toronto that sells it. I seem to be having a hard time find some. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Pablo - I was wondering where did you get the baby blanket” – natural jute cloth.

    thanks a lot.. also for the photos and information.ReplyCancel

  • Grow Your Own Microgreens for Better Health - […] Hydroponically grown microgreens in clay pebbles growing media. Image via Freestyle Farm. […]ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Ingersoll - Thank you for the informative article on growing sprouts and microgreens!
    I’m anxious to get started but I can’t seem to find the Jute cloth “baby blanket” to use instead of organic soil. Where did you purchases yours?

    Thank you!
    Lisa IngersollReplyCancel

  • Renee - Pretty good site… But would like more detail. Do you have another place to look for the info you left out?
    Where do you you buy the baby blanket (jute)
    What plants need soil
    More detail needed on clay pebbles
    More detail needed on lights
    Thanks and keep growing!ReplyCancel

  • Carmen - I can you sent me more info on how you grew micro greens hydroponics way,and can you do all microgrenns that way?
    Can the natural jute cloth be reused?ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - OMG I love this so much. Thank you. our stores here in Fairbanks, AK have all but stopped selling the sprouts and my boy friend and I love them! I love the jar trick!ReplyCancel

  • Max - I love this article, thank you so much for posting! Beautiful pictures and lovely to read 😛 Thanks, MaxReplyCancel

  • Vlada - Do you cut your sprouts off the seeds before eating?ReplyCancel

  • Vlada - Thank you a lot for a such useful post!ReplyCancel

  • Tina - So I just bought a bung of organic seeds, to include popcorn, to grow as microgreens. Then I started looking at the difference between micrgreens and sprouts and I think I just bought seeds for sprouts 🙁

    Will all seeds work and taste good as microgreens?ReplyCancel

  • Ron McLean - Thanks! Extremely helpful for a newby!ReplyCancel

  • Luis reyes - Thanks you very much for sharing your production system,the photos are great.ReplyCancel

  • CHEEPING - hi im from malaysia im quite interesting to growing micro cress as apart ofbusiness.can how do i start form itReplyCancel

  • Elana - Where do you find the jute cloth?ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - I was just wondering where you get your seeds from. Do you buy bulk? Two to three tablespoons is definitely more then your average seed pack.ReplyCancel

  • Alina - Hi,
    Interesting idea with the baby blanket. Are there any seeds that have to have soil? Is there any difference nutrition wise between soil and non-soil mediums?
    Thank you.
    Best regards,

  • Angélica - Would love to learn to grow sproutsReplyCancel

  • Rose - Is it ok to just sprout the commercial microgreens seed,(assuming it is organic :-)) in jars instead of setting up a Microgreens system?ReplyCancel

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  • marge - Been wanting to start sprouting Your site has good infoReplyCancel

  • Cari - Where can I purchase the baby blankets? I grow for myself and my family:)ReplyCancel

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  • Suzanne - Love the idea of using pebbles and blanket instead of soils.
    Would like to try this method for micro greens.
    Always had difficulties with mold and gave up trying to do sprouting even when I drained jars or drip trays often.
    I need to find lighting system that would be available in Canada.ReplyCancel

  • Sourav - can you plz tell some seeds which is good for germinationReplyCancel

  • Ainslie Boone - I work for the manufacturer of Terrafibre hemp products. I was checking in to see if you would be interested in testing out some of our grow mats for microgreens. They are similar to the jute mats you have shown on your website, but are made from hemp fibre. Shoot me an email and I can send over some more information and I’d be happy to provide you with a sample box. Let me know!ReplyCancel

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