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Growing Sprouts

23 Dec

Sprouts close

Have you ever eaten sprouts?  Maybe you had some tiny seedlings added to your sandwich or topped on a salad at a restaurant and wondered to yourself, what is this?  You can purchase them in the fresh produce section at most grocery stores.  They may seem inexpensive at the time, but compared to growing them yourself you may think again.  A tablespoon of seeds will produce 1 1/2 cups or more of sprouts.  Alfalfa is the most commonly used and grown seed for sprouts for their fresh mild taste, but did you know that you can sprout many types of seeds which can provide spicy additions such as mustards or an additional crunch that would come from mung beans?  This indoor growing project is easy enough for children and gives the whole family an affordable, quick, fresh, and nutritionally beneficial addition to  meals during the winter months.

Each seed has its own requirements, but they follow these few simple steps and you will have sprouts in 3-5 days at temperatures averaging around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Experiment with different types of seeds.  Make sure you are using seeds specifically for sprouting from a reputable seed supplier.  They should be certified organic and tested negative for E-coli and salmonella. 

I use a quart Mason jar.  You can also use special containers for sprouting.  See  links at the end of this post.

Sprout Supplies

Here I measured 1 tablespoon of alfalfa seeds into a quart Mason jar, covered it with a screened lid (you can use cheese cloth) and filled it half full with lukewarm water.  Allow to sit overnight.

Sprouts in water

The next day drain off the water.  Fill the jar back up.  Drain again and then swish the seeds around the jar.  Lay tilted with the lid in a bowl to catch any draining water.  Cover with a towel and keep in the dark.  Do this about 2-3 times per day for the next few days until the sprouts have grown and you can see the little cotyledon leaves.  At that time you can expose them to light which will allow the leaves to green up a bit. 

Sprouts

After a final rinse, I allow them to dry a bit on a paper towel and then place in a loosely sealed storage baggy or container and keep in the veggie part of my fridge.  They stay good for a week or more.  Use on sandwiches, salads, wraps, or anything you desire to add freshness to this winter!

Click on the links for sprouts, books and supplies.  Remember to click your browser button to return back to My Urban Farmscape!

Sprouts: The Miracle Food: The Complete Guide to Sprouting

 The Complete Guide to Growing and Using Sprouts: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply, Including Easy-to-make Recipes (Back-To-Basics) (Back to Basics Growing)

The Sprout House Dozen Organic Sprouting Seeds Mixes Sampler Small Quantities of Each Seed Mix Holly’s, Mix the Two, Rainbow Bean Mix, Wisdom Blend, 2 Wheats Together, Salad Mix, Veggie Queen Mix, Dill Salad Mix, Hi Power Protein Mix, Bean Salad Mix, Fennel Salad Mix, Lentils Together – contains these and more: alfalfa, radish, clover, broccoli, mung, green pea, fenugreek, garbanzo, adzuki, hard wheat, fennel

The Sprout House Organic Sprouting Seeds Alfalfa 1 pound

 The Sprout House Veggie Queen Salad Mix Organic Sprouting Seeds – Red Clover, Red Cabbage, Red Lentil, French Lentil, Daikon Radish, Fenugreek

Organic Sprouting Seeds Mung Bean 1 Pound the Sprout House

Victorio VKP1014 4-Tray Kitchen Seed Sprouter

Sprouting Strainer Lid

 

How to Propagate Succulents in 5 Easy Steps

14 Oct

 

With all the rage about creating frames or terrariums filled with  succulents, I am often asked where one would find affordable solutions to this plethora of plants.   Even though putting the garden to bed seems to be my primary task at hand, it is  a good time to take cuttings too.  These tips will also work for succulents purchased at a greenhouse or garden center, thus allowing for an endless supply of little succulents to use for indoor growing projects.

 

Succulents are probably one of the easiest plants to propagate.  Slow growing, these plants usually thrive in warm sunny locations and require very little care.  Unlike a cactus that barely needs to be watered, succulent plants should be watered anywhere from  ten to fourteen days depending on their growing location.  Keep in mind more sun = more water.   I have found a wide variety of sedum (stonecrop) and sempervivum (hen and chicks) that make great succulents for propagating and growing and using for plant crafts.  Look for a wide variety of colors and textures.  The groundcover sedum varieites in your garden also work great.

To propagate, follow these 5 easy steps:

1: Pinch off the tip portion of a stem only.  You don’t want to use another parts below this, as the newer growth at the tip of a stem will produce better roots.  You don’t need any more than one inch of stem, depending on the plant.  Cut between two nodes, which is the part where a leaf meets the stem.

2: Remove lower leaves, leaving only a few on the tip.  Set aside for at least a day to allow the stem to callous, or heal over.  This will allow better root formation.  You can also use the leaves to make new plants.

3: I like to stick the new cuttings in a flat when allowing for time to grow roots.  I use a traditional peat/perlite potting mix for houseplants.  I never use cactus mix as it is too sandy and have found that my succulents have grown better in the general potting mix anyway.  It looks pretty too.

4: Once they have developed roots, it’s time to plant them into your frame, container or terrarium. 

5: Once planted, little care is needed.  Keep in a low light area for about two weeks before moving them to receive sunlight.  Water when the soil dries out. 

Caring for your Succulents:  If your new plants become “leggy” pinch off the tips and start a new plant.  The original stem should develop smaller shoots. I like to keep my creations pinched back and have a continuous supply of baby succulents.  I never know when I need a little gift for something.  These little treasures make great gifts when planted in small terracotta pots. 

TIP:  Want to increase the variety of your collection of succulents?  Share this post with friends, and have each of you purchase a succulent plant, propagate, and hold a plant swap.  Soon you will end up with many different varieties!

Sedum Lime-Zinger PPAF
photo by Chris Hansen courtesy of http://www.PerennialResource.com

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