Sprouting Seeds in Your Kitchen 101

Have you heard about sprouting? It’s a way to garden without having to leave your kitchen. How cool is that?

I have been experimenting with growing fresh greens in my kitchen for me and my bunnies. It’s called fodder when you do it for livestock and sprouts when you do it for yourself. Either way, you’re making fresh, delicious greens right in your kitchen.

Daikon spouts. // Flickr

Daikon spouts. // Flickr

What are sprouts? Sprouts are the stage of a plant between seeds and full-blown plants. The seeds have just shot up into little stalks of greens but haven’t developed true leaves yet. You may have seen bean sprouts on a salad bar. This is that! Although there are lots of different plants you can try.

My sunflower sprouts. They're on their way!

My sunflower sprouts. They’re on their way!

Why sprout? Because it’s fun and adorable to have little baby plants popping up in your kitchen. Then, it’s convenient to have fresh greens on hand when you want to add a little flavor, nutrition, or crunch to a dish.

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What can you sprout? You can grow sprouts of peas, lentils, some beans, radish, broccoli, alfalfa, wheat, barley, or sunflowers. There are some great salad mixes available, too. You could get started with something like this organic mix assortment.

What can you do with sprouts? You can add them to any meal that needs an extra bit of flavor, crunch, or freshness. I tried adding my sunflower sprouts to my salads and in place of lettuce on a sandwich. They were a perfect addition in both cases! You can also add them into your smoothies! Another idea I haven’t tried yet is to use an herb spread on crackers with sprouts on top.

Do they grow in soil? It is possible to grow sprouts without soil, which is what I’ve been doing. However, there are many benefits to using a sprouting soil. You’ll need to use less water and your sprouts will be more robust and tasty.

What other supplies do you need? You’ll need containers with drainage holes and a water collecting tray underneath. I’ve been using simple seed starter six packs, which are available online, or at any hardware, garden, or home improvement store. You can go cheap and simple by growing your sprouts in mason jars. Or you can go all fancy-schmancy with a cute counter-top system..

Broccoli sprouts on day 5. // Flickr

Broccoli sprouts on day 5. // Flickr

What do you actually do to sprout things? The simple answer? You soak your seeds for 12 hours, put them in your chosen container, then regularly give them water. A few days later you’ll have a little crop of fresh greens! Check out this page for very complete instructions.

Leave a comment telling me whether you’ve tried sprouts before and what you think you might do with them if you give them a try!

How fun is it to grow food right on your kitchen counter?! Here's a 101 on sprouting seeds from LoveLiveGrow