Growing Soil Sprouts

Concepts like self-sufficiency and independence are great, but just how obtainable are they? True, we each alone are responsible for our self-actualization and for our actions, but at the end of the day interdependence is the name of the game (thus the emphasis by many FreeKeene.com bloggers on mutual aid). After all, as Leonard Reed pointed out, even something as seemingly simple as a pencil necessitates the involvement of many.

So it is with the sustenance we each rely on to survive. Your cheeseburger and fry lunch from Local Burger may involve lettuce and tomatoes grown in California’s Central Valley, beef raised in Wyoming and slaughtered and packaged in Oklahoma, cheese from Wisconsin, potatoes from Idaho, salt from Pakistan. You get the idea.

In this economy that is built on the division of labor almost all of us turn to others for most, if not all of the food we consume.

In 2018, when my lady and I lived in Las Vegas we were able to run out for anything at any hour of the day. But during most of 2019, when we lived in a small town in the Intermountain West that lacked a grocery store, we had to plan our resupply expeditions. We could acquire enough eggs, raw milk, meat, and other vittles to keep us provisioned for long stints. But we found that having fresh greens on hand was difficult.

To better address this want of ours, I got a book on indoor soil sprouting (Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke) and for the first time in my life, brought some food production in-house. I soon developed a workflow that meant we had greens on hand to eat (by themselves as a salad, or as a topping for other food) with another batch a couple days out and a third batch four or five days out.

It was easy, nutritious, and flavorful. Thus, I wanted to share the steps here in case you care to give it a try. Soil sprouts, by the way, offer many times the nutrient content of traditionally-grown greens, are free from toxic pesticides, and have a much-faster turnaround time.

For this particular batch I chose to sprout five different seed types. Here’s what I did:

  • put an inch of clean water into five cups
  • added each type of seed to a different cup (one tablespoon each of buckwheat, pea, sunflower, and radish, and one teaspoon of broccoli)
  • let the seeds soak in the water overnight
  • filled a gallon freezer bag with potting soil, saturated with water, and let sit overnight
  • got six 6″x3.5″ aluminum foil baking pans (I chose to do a double batch of broccoli)
  • added 1/2 teaspoon of liquid kelp and potting soil to each pan (just shy of the pan lip, gently tamped down with knuckles)
  • spread seeds onto potting soil (the seeds tend to stick to fingers so this is most efficiently done with a spoon)
  • made a three-layer thick paper towel, soaked in water, and pushed tight onto the top of each pan (alternatively, you can use newspaper)
  • put the pans in a cabinet to keep them in the dark
  • checked on the soil sprouts on day three, moved those that were 1″ high to windowsill (the broccoli and radish), let others stay another day or two
  • lightly watered soil sprouts in windowsill for another couple/few days as they continued to grow
  • cut with scissors and enjoy

I had the hardest time getting the sunflower soil sprouts to be happy in my climate but they were delicious so I kept them in the rotation.

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8 Comments

  1. FK needs more articles like this.

  2. Free gardening tips on freekeene. Where did you buy the seeds Pete?

  3. Hey Jacks. Drac here.

    Say, do you think Pete plagiarized this from the internet? You should check into that before you start buying seeds, Jacks. You wouldn’t want to ignore all the hard work the original author put into this, right?

  4. Sprouting is a gateway drug to micro worm farming and could even lead to composting and container gardening. Oh the horrors.

  5. Pete! Happy New Year, brother!

  6. Warlord, thank you, your comment was much appreciated.

    Jumping Jacks, good question. I patronized Amazon.com. Obviously if one were to buy in bulk the price per ounce/pound is less, but since I was just getting my feet wet I opted to buy each variety in smaller (~1-3lb.) bags. Since it’s tough to read the labels in the attached pics, I’ll share here what I got:
    – Broccoli Calabrese & Rambo Radish from Todds Seeds
    – Green Pea, Sunflower, & Buckwheat (all “Sprouting” and “Organic”) from Handy Pantry

    Ian, thanks! Back at you brother. All my best.

  7. i have a thumb that’s not green…i tried growing pot..and it bombed every time

  8. Pete Eyre – Thank you Pete

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