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Directions for Sprouting

Directions for Sprouting

SHILOH FARMS does not warrant that any of its seeds or nuts will sprout and does not guarantee a germination rate, but many customers like to experiment with sprouting on their own. Some have even shared their own their own experiences and tips (which you can read more about here). Here are some other steps you could try to get started.

What to Do:

Soak organic seeds for 12 hours or overnight in water (1 part seeds to 3 parts water). Some larger seeds may need longer. Add a liquid feed to the water for extra nutrition. 

Rinse sprouts well at least every 6-12 hours. Trays need careful spraying in the beginning as it washes away mold causing fungi, but try not to move sprouts around as they root. Once they’re fixed immerse them in water for at least half a minute. Swishing them about, (and especially inverting them,) helps to remove seed hulls.

Drain your sprouts well - standing water is a good way to encourage rot. Leave trays on an angle for a minute or so, or briefly put them on some tissue to wick the water away (don’t leave them on it or they may dry out.)

Harvest sprouts carefully by gently pulling ripe ones out from the rest. This allows less developed ones to continue growing so you get several harvests of perfect sprouts.

Store them in a plastic bag in a cool dark place, such as a fridge, and rinse them every 3 days or so. Most sprouts will keep at least a week like this and often longer.

Conditions for Growth:

Air: As any small plant, sprouts need air to breathe; without it they will succumb to mold and rot more easily. Don’t put them in sealed containers and make sure that they get enough air flow.

Water: Completely cover seeds with water in a ratio of 1 part seeds to 3 parts water. Mix seeds and water thoroughly and leave to soak for 12 hours. After soaking, sprouts will need to be drained and rinsed with clean water every 6 - 12 hours (more often if it is hot). Regularity is the key - if they are even slightly deprived of clean water and draining in their first few days of life, your sprouts will be permanently set back. In your efforts to keep your seeds watered, be sure not to drown them. After the initial soaking, they must be allowed to freely drain after each rinse, or they will soon rot. However, if you let them get too dry, they’ll die.

Warmth: Sprouts need to be kept warm to germinate and grow. Optimum temperatures vary, but 70°-75° is a good start. Don’t let them get too hot or they will wilt, lose vitality, and die. Colder temperatures will slow growth and are good for storage after obtaining desired sprout length, but don’t freeze them.

Space: For best results, give your sprouts some room. Some sprouts can increase up to 30 times their size. Cramming them in a jar or overfilling a tray or bag will force them to compete for light and air, with inevitable casualties. Spread only a thin layer of seeds in trays, keep them mobile in bags and jars, and remember they get bigger! When using jars or bags you may need to divide sprouts among other jars as they grow bigger.

Light: Most sprouts can’t use light in the first few days of growth, and many never need it. However, any that produce leaves will eventually need light to ‘green up’. Direct sunlight should be avoided (unless it’s especially cold), as it can overheat your crop. Most sprouts will be fine if they get indirect natural light; there is no need to keep them in the dark after the first several days or when they start to sprout.

Nutrients: Adding liquid plant nutrients to the soak water will give the sprouts an extra boost that you will later enjoy. While it is not necessary, it will increase their health, longevity, and nutritional value. You can also mist the sprouts with a dilute solution after rinsing. Use a few drops of liquid kelp in water, or another organic plant feed.

Containers to Grow In:

Jars: Jars are traditionally used for sprouting, as they are free and easy to find. However, be sure to avoid overfilling them, as sprouts in the middle rarely get enough light. You can spread the sprouts into other jars as the sprouts grow bigger to counter bad drainage and poor air circulation. Don’t use a lid - instead, cover the top with a piece of thin muslin or use a special sprouting lid with holes to allow drainage and air flow.

Trays: Trays are the best way of growing light seeking sprouts. They have a large surface area to soak up more light, can be stacked easily to save space, and most importantly, allow the sprouts to grow naturally upwards. This allows several croppings of the more and less vigorous plants so all can be harvested at their nutritional peak.

Cover the bottom of the tray with a thin layer of soaked seeds. Make sure the tray is at least 2 inches high and has drainage holes smaller than the seeds. Any sort of tray can be used, but if the roots have something to attach to, the sprouts will do better and are easier to rinse, drain, and clear hulls from. Use a bamboo basket or put mesh in the bottom of a tray, which can be sized for different seeds. Clean with a stiff brush, leave to dry, brush again, and try not to be a perfectionist!

Bags: Bags are best for beans and grains that don’t need light. They allow air to the sprouts, are impossible to break, take up less space than jars, and are easier to rinse and drain. Just dip and hang!

Make drawstring bags of any material that allows water and air to move freely but holds the sprouts. The best is hemp or linen, as they still breathe when wet and don’t dry their contents too quickly. Put pre-soaked seeds into a moistened bag, dip in rinse water for a minute, and hang to drain away from drafts. On each subsequent rinsing move the sprouts around in the bag to stop them rooting into the fabric. Grains and beans expand by about 3 times from dry, so don’t overfill it.

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