A complete sprout salad! Mesclun Mix Salad is a beautiful and delicious combination of diversely spicy little plants in a mild Buckwheat Lettuce base!
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How much you soak depends on the area you are planting - see here.
Yields approximately as many greens (by weight) as seed "planted"
Planting Medium: We have grown 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 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 Greens. We use sterile bagged composted cow manure for everything else, but any sterile bagged soil will do and should cost less than $5 (for 40-50 pounds) at any garden center (depending on the general cost of living where you are of course). You can use expensive soil if you prefer - it is your choice - always. The deal is this - Greens (garden Greens anyway) are aided by the presence of the nutrient Nitrogen, in the soil. Nitrogen is the nutrient responsible for plant growth (a very good thing when growing lettuce or spinach, but too much nitrogen is bad if growing peas or tomatoes or any plant where the fruit is what we want, as opposed to the plant itself). Manures come in various strengths depending on the animal that originally produced it. Too much nitrogen will burn plants - literally burn them - hence the word HOT is used in reference to nitrogen. The higher the nitrogen content the HOTTER the manure (or fertilizer) is considered. Cow manure is the least hot - it is perfect for our needs - it supplies the growing plants with a little extra boost. Chicken and other bird manures are much hotter and Worm castings are hotter still (worm castings are worm manure). The catch is this: Greens, Grass and Sprouts are almost all too young to benefit from nitrogen, because for the most part every seed has all the nutrients it needs to grow to the cotyledon stage - which is all we do with any of our seeds. So - though it is contradictory, it is our experience that nitrogen does help Greens and Grass. Like we always say - EXPERIMENT FOR YOURSELF. In any case - a little nitrogen can't hurt.
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. (You'll see the TIP below - keep reading.)
When growing Greens: You really MUST Pre-Sprout 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.
Note: These seeds won't sprout evenly but they will grow to completion together. You must plant when you have small (1/8 - 1/4 inch) roots on some of the seeds. If you wait for all of them to have roots, most will have roots too big, so....
Remember - Sprout only until you see some tiny tails growing on even just a few of the seeds
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.
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, 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 THOROUGHLY 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 size 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, 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/medium.
Cover the planted tray
with an inverted tray (the Cover Tray) - to keep light out and moisture in.
Place in a low-light, room temperature location. 70° is always optimal but these Greens will grow very well in cooler temperatures also.
Note: The Buckwheat Lettuce will tower above the other plants in this mix. The smaller plants don't get as much air movement as they would when grown alone. To compensate consider Greening these outside or in your breeziest room.
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 Greens will get the moisture they need through their roots. Water from the side if possible, to prevent injuring the tender Plants.
The Soilless alternative.
Vermiculite holds water better than anything, while 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 fungal or mold problems. Just leave as much water as the Greens 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 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.
Uncover your Greens
Wait 3-4 days until they are 1-2 inches tall or until they push the covering tray up (it really will do that - it is cool!)
Move to a well lit location to Green your Greens (If you use direct sunlight (a very good idea for Greens) be prepared to do more watering). Keep the soil/medium moist by watering the soil/medium daily. Watch them grow.
When the plants are about 2-4 inches tall and have green leaves - by cutting the plants just above soil or mediums surface.
If you are going to store your crop: During the final 8-12 hours minimize the surface moisture of your Greens - 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 soil/medium.
Transfer your crop to a plastic bag or the sealed container of your choice - glass is good - and put them in your refrigerator.
Note: Greens can produce a 2nd (smaller) crop so you may continue to water the Tray after you cut your first crop. Any crop after the first will be prone to fungal growth and the quality will be likely diminished, but it can't hurt to try once.
* Note: If using Single Harvest Pack use the whole bag on our 5 inch tray (or similar).
1/4 Cup for a 5" square Tray.
1 Cup for an 11" square Tray.
2 Cups for an 11 inch x 22 inch Tray.
The surest way to know what amount of seed to use: Spread dry seed on the bottom of your sprouter so that the seed is spread evenly but somewhat sparsely (with this mix).
The trend on the gourmet side of the sprout industry is towards Baby Greens. Mesclun Mix Sprout Salad is a wonderful tasting combination with a great, light texture and striking visual appeal. It is a salad or a salad topping, a sandwich addition, a mix-in for pasta or anything else you can think of - and it is super nutritious as all live/raw foods are.
to use for
Mesclun Mix Sprout Salad
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For Baby Blanket, Vermiculite, Kelp Fertilizer, Spray Bottles and Earthworm Castings, visit our Odds & Ends page.
170 Mendell St.
San Francisco, CA 94124
We only use the phone for emergencies.
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?!
The very best way to contact us is through E-mail =:-)
We are quite fast and VERY thorough. We love to help.
We have been an internet only business since 2001. We are not a big corporation. We are but 2 people, Mom n' Pop Sprout. We decided after years of juggling our family's (kids, dogs, cats and even our own) needs, and the needs of Sproutpeople, that we had to make more time for our kids, so we stopped talking on the phone. All calls go to voice mail and have since 2001.
We are very fast to fill orders and answer e-mail, and though we wish we could make the time to talk, we just can't seem to get more minutes into a each hour. We are many years older than when we started and our days are too short and made up of too few hours to do everything. This limitation in our business has not kept us from pleasing our customers, nor from growing (as we have every year since 1993). We do what we do as well as we can, and we think we do it very well indeed.
We appreciate your patronage more than we can say. We ask that you use the phone for emergencies only and that you search our site for answers before e-mailing us. This site is bigger than any 4 sprout books put together, it is always available and it is free, and we know that almost all questions are answered here.
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