If you’ve been bitten by the vegetable gardening bug this summer and are mourning the end of the growing season, now is the time to try your hand at kitchen gardening. Seed sprouting is a perfect way to start.
Fresh sprouts are far more nutritious than veggies grown in the garden or those purchased at the grocery store. And they can be used in salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, soups, omelets and smoothies. Sprouting is a great way to grow fresh and nutritious vegetable crops indoors with no fuss and no mess. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and you can grow an edible crop in a short period of time, usually about five days.
Alfalfa and mung beans are the most common seeds used but there’s a huge array of vegetables to choose from including radish, chickpeas, lentils, broccoli, mustards, and a variety of mixes. Seeds are available at independent garden centers such as English Gardens or you can buy them online. Botanical Interests seeds (www.botanicalinterests.com) 800-486-2647, available in stores and online, has a dozen varieties and all are certified organic.
For a pictorial on how to grow sprouts go to Pass the Plants online at passtheplants.com/grow-sprouts-at-home/ . They also show you how to dehull the sprouts, but I don’t bother with this process as they are tasteless, and I think they add roughage.
If you like to watch videos, search for “‘how to grow sprouts”‘ on YouTube.
While some folks like to buy the best of tools, all you need to begin sprouting is a wide-mouth Mason jar, some cheesecloth or tulle, a rubber band, fresh water and seeds.
Begin by soaking the seeds in water for eight hours or overnight. Then drain off the water and inspect the seeds, picking out any that are broken or have failed to swell. Next, put the seeds back in the jar and fill it with fresh water. Swish the seeds around in the water. Cover the jar opening with the cheesecloth or tulle and secure it with a rubber band. Then turn the jar upside down and drain off the water. Put the jar in a bowl upside down at a 45-degree angle and place it in a cupboard or under a cabinet so it’s out of direct light.
Daily rinsing is the key and twice a day is recommended when growing. Store finished sprouts in the refrigerator in a plastic bag lined with a couple of paper towels. What could be easier?
Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to Yardener.com and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnews.com/homestyle.