How to get those Grasses, Greens and Micro-Greens going.
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Some of the crops we offer need to be planted on soil or another moisture retaining medium. This is the page that tells you how.
Pre-Sprout these seeds as their Detail Pages say to.
Planting Medium: We grew Grasses & Greens - on soil - in Trays, for years. But, we now have two alternatives: Soilless mediums Baby Blanket and Vermiculite, and organic liquid kelp fertilizer (Kelp Fertilizer). Baby Blanket is a thin organic (plant fiber) material that you soak before planting upon. It holds moisture and is the least messy and compact medium we know of. Vermiculite is a mineral which holds moisture supremely, dispenses added nutrients over time and in general acts much like soil. We think you should try all of them if you can - there are differences and though they are minimal you may prefer one method over the other and the only way to know for sure is to try. Instructions are pretty much the same in all cases, but where there is a difference we include purple text like this.
Soil Note: Virtually any soil will do for Grass! We use sterile bagged composted cow manure, but any sterile bagged soil will do and should cost less than $5.00 (for a 40 pound bag!) at any garden center. You can use expensive soil if you prefer - it is your choice - always.
Remember to add 20-30% Earthworm Castings (if growing Sunflower Greens) to your base soil for the best possible crop! You may use Vermiculite and Kelp Fertilizer too. Read the Sunflower Greens page for more.
Tray Note: Your Planting Tray (the one with the soil or medium in it) MUST have drainage holes or slits! Nothing will grow in a medium that can not drain - that condition is commonly called "flooded". When using Baby Blanket or Vermiculite your Planting Tray must also have drainage, but we do use the Drip Tray to hold some water at times in the growing process. (see below)
You really MUST Pre-Sprout these before planting.
Empty the seeds into your sprouter if necessary.
Drain off the soak water.
Rinse thoroughly with cool (60-70°) water
and Drain thoroughly.
Set anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature (70° is optimal) between Rinses.
The goal is to have a small root before planting.
Soil Note: The amount of soil you use is up to you. The reality is this: As your plants grow they need more and more water. They get their water from the soil. The more soil you use - the more water it can hold - the less you need to water.
Thoroughly moisten the soil. Allow puddles to dry.
Sometimes you may need to use your fingers to make sure the soil is moist all the way down to the bottom of the tray. Water, mix, water, mix, etc. Sometimes you don't have to do that.
Thoroughly moisten the soil. Allow puddles to dry.
Prepare the pad: Cut it to fit your Tray if necessary. Soak it in water or better yet, Kelp Fertilizer enriched water (You don't NEED fertilizer for grass, but we use it when we grow without soil.) until thoroughly saturated (fold it up and push it into the liquid - use a pot or something similar to hold it). Unfold it and re-fold differently or do whatever makes sense - the goal is to get the pad THOROUHGLY soaked. Spread the wet pad across the bottom of your Planting Tray. Proceed...
Vermiculite absorbs liquid so readily and holds it so supremely that you need little of it. We use 3 Cups for an 11 x 11 inch tray and 6 Cups for an 11 x 22 inch tray. If you're using another tray, make it 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep. Spray water evenly across the surface then spread it out as evenly as you can. We like to use Kelp Fertilizer enriched water (You don't NEED fertilizer for grass, but we use it when we grow without soil.) so we just pour it on until thoroughly saturated and then spread it out. The amount of liquid is this: a little more than one quart for an 11 x 22 inch tray. You don't want more than a little left in the Drip Tray. Pour off what water remains above the ridges of the Drip Tray. Proceed...
Spread seeds evenly on thoroughly moistened soil or medium.
Rinse your seeds one last time and then sprinkle them across the planting medium. Spread them out as evenly as you can. We use a lot of seed, and though some literature will tell you that your seeds should not ever lay atop each other, we have found from years of experience and tens of thousands of Trays of Grass and Greens grown that; that is bunk! You will learn for yourself that Grasses and Greens produce a plant that takes up less room than the seed did, and so to maximize your yield your seeds must lay atop each other to some degree. The thing to watch is this: If you find mold or fungal problems in your Grass/Greens then lessen the amount of grain you plant. The hotter/more humid your climate is the more of an issue the mold/fungus is. As always, you need to adapt to your own climate and seasonal conditions. And learn as you go - this is really easy and fun stuff to learn!
Cover the planted tray
with an inverted tray (the Cover Tray) - to keep light out and moisture in.
Water lightly once or twice a day.
The goal is to keep the sprouts moist until their roots bury themselves in the soil/medium - at which point your goal is to keep the soil/medium moist. Spraying the sprouts is best - whether you use a garden hose sprayer, hand sprayer or faucet sprayer - just try to make sure that every sprout gets rinsed and quenched until they bury their roots. You may use Kelp Fertilizer if you like.
Water the medium.
Once the roots are buried all you need to do is keep the medium moist - the seeds and subsequent plants will get the moisture they need through their roots. Water from the side if possible, to prevent injuring the tender plants.
The Soilless alternative.
Baby Blanket will dry out more quickly than soil in most circumstances, so you should either water more often or experiment with our somewhat risky trick:
Use the Drip Tray to hold some water. The roots will actually sit in this, so don't go crazy - too much can drown your plants and/or lead to mold or fungal problems. Just leave as much water as the plants can drink in a day and then add more the following day. The amount is dependant on the climate (humidity especially) you're growing in, and the size of the plants and roots, so you'll have to learn this for yourself. We suggest that you start with 1-2 cups in the Drip Tray. Lift the Planting Tray to see how much is left after 4, 8 and 12 hours. If the Drip Tray is dry add more water - if there is still water 24 hours later then cut back the next time you add water. Pretty simple really, and not as risky as we make it sound - it is really a time saver and produces happy healthy Grass and Greens.
Once again, we do recommend Kelp Fertilizer enriched water for soilless growers. Soil growers may use it too of course, but the soil does have some nutrients already, so it is not nearly as important for you.
Vermiculite holds water better than anything, but the same method works for it: Use the Drip Tray to hold some water. The roots will eventually grow into this, so don't go crazy - too much can drown your plants and/or lead to fungal or mold problems. Just leave as much water as the grass and Vermiculite can drink in a day and then add more the following day. The amount is dependant on the climate (humidity especially) you're growing in, so you'll have to learn this for yourself. We suggest that you start with 1-2 cups in the Drip Tray. Lift the Planting Tray to see how much is left after 4, 8 and 12 hours. If the Drip Tray is dry add more water - if there is still water 24 hours later then cut back the next time you add water. Pretty simple really, and not as risky as we make it sound - it is really a time saver and produces happier healthy plants. Use Kelp Fertilizer too. We probably give more water than is necessary, but we end up with great crops and the grass keeps growing even after we cut it - even if we don't add water daily. Vermiculite is great stuff!
Uncover your Grass/Greens
Wait (3-4 days) until it is 1-2 inches tall or until it pushes the covering tray up (it really will do that - it is cool!)
Move to a well lit location to Green your Grass
(If you use direct sunlight (a very good idea for Grass and Greens) be prepared to do more watering). Keep it moist by watering the soil/medium daily. Watch it grow. It takes about 10 days to get to....
By cutting just above the soil/medium when the Grass is 6 or more inches tall (actually height is just a matter of yield - you can cut it any time you want to). or the Greens are 4 or more inches tall, but only their first set of leaves (Cotyledon) are unfurled and (hopefully) the hulls have fallen from them. If you wait until the 2nd set of leaves (True Leaves) form, you have waited too long - your plants may be bitter. In the case of Pea Shoots there are no Cotyledons or True Leaves - just a vine. Taste one every 12-24 hours after they reach 4 inches, to see when thay taste and feel best.
Grass Note: We believe that you will get the best flavor and nutrition from freshly cut Grass. We cut JUST prior to juicing and we feel the difference! But, you are better off juicing week old Grass than no Grass at all, so do what you must! Drink More Juice!
If you are going to store your crop: During the final 8-12 hours minimize the surface moisture of your Grass or Greens - it will store best in your refrigerator if they are dry to the touch. So if you water try to keep the water off the plants - just water the soil/medium.
Pre-Sprout if the seed's Detail Page says to.
Thoroughly moisten that upon which you are going to grow.
If using a Hemp Bag or a small bit of Baby Blanket or similar medium - lay it on a plate or in a pan or something so that you don't end up watering your counter. Likewise, if using a Tray, put it on a plate or in a solid (Drip) tray to capture water runoff.
Spread seeds sparsely on your thoroughly moistened medium/sprouter.
(there should be a bit of space around each seed but you are not expected to place them one at a time - just spread them out as much as you can and as evenly as you can*)
You may cover your seeds:
If planting on soil in a Tray use another tray - up side down.
If using a Miniature Garden you can slide the tray into the central unit for the first 2-3 days.
If using a Hemp Bag or similar medium - be creative.
It is not mandatory when growing Micro-Greens to cover them at all. Experiment for yourself and see what works best in your climate/location.
Place your Micro-Garden in a low-light, room temperature location (70° is optimal).
When your plants grow up and begin to shed their hulls they are ready for light so move them (if necessary) to a well lighted location.
If you go with sunlight be prepared to water more frequently. Room light will usually do quite nicely as well and will not dry out your medium as quickly.
When your plants have open leaves which are green, they are done.
Harvest by cutting just above the medium upon which they have grown.
During the final 8-12 hours minimize the surface moisture of your plants - they will store best in your refrigerator if they are dry to the touch. So if you water try to keep the water off the plants - just water the medium.
** The first time you grow Micro-Greens you might consider giving quite a bit of space to each seed just to familiarize yourself with the plants' habit.
Always look to the information page for the seed you are growing (aka Seed Detail Page) for complete details and variations.
The Basics of Sprouting:
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San Francisco, CA 94124
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Back in 2001 we were still using the phone. One day I was talking to a long-time customer while pushing my (then 4 year old) daughter on the swing in our backyard (this is what a mom n' pop business is like on the internet). It dawned on me that my priorities were severely messed up, so I stopped using the phone. I love to talk and I love to help, but my family would never see me if I picked up the phone again, and that's just wrong don't you think?!
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