Home Sprouting Techniques

Overview

Growing sprouted seeds at home allows you to have year-around access to these versatile vegetables. Sprouts are used both raw in salads and sandwiches as well as cooked in stir-fries and soups. There is more than one technique to successfully sprout your own seeds, and they don't require special equipment. Bean, broccoli and radish are a few of the types of seeds often grown as sprouts and are available from seed suppliers and at natural food stores. Experiment with different varieties of sprouting seeds, using both techniques to find the method that works best for you.

Soil Sprouting

Step 1

Fill a 1- to 2-inch-deep dish with soilless potting mix. Soilless mix is sterile, but avoid using a mix with added fertilizers or herbicides.

Step 2

Sprinkle the seeds evenly on the surface so they are approximately a half-inch apart. Cover with a 1/8-inch layer of potting mix.

Step 3

Water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Place the tray in a warm place. Place in a sunny window if you want your sprouts to be green. Seeds usually germinate within one to three days.

Step 4

Cut the sprouts off at soil level when they are at the desired height, usually 1 1/2 to 3 inches long. Use clean shears to harvest the sprouts.

Jar Method

Step 1

Place 1/4 tablespoon of seeds in a clean, quart-size jar. Fill the jar with water and let the seeds soak overnight, then pour out the excess water.

Step 2

Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth. Secure the cheesecloth to the rim of the jar with a rubber band.

Step 3

Pour water through the cheesecloth and into the jar twice a day. Rinse the seeds in the water, then drain the excess out of the jar.

Step 4

Rinse daily until the sprouts are at the desired length for use. Place the jar in a sunny window for one day if you wish them to green up.

Paper Towel Method

Step 1

Stack two or three paper towels on top of each other. Moisten them until they are as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 2

Sprinkle the seeds on top of the paper towels. Cover with a second stack of moistened towels.

Step 3

Place the towels inside the plastic zip-top bag. Seal the bag and place in a warm place to sprout.

Step 4

Check the seeds daily until the sprouts are the desired size. Moisten the towels if they dry out before the sprouts are done growing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Mold or mildew are more likely with the paper towel method of sprouting. Harvest the sprouts as soon as they are a usable size to prevent this. Purchase only seeds labeled as safe for sprouting, as regular garden seeds are often treated with fungicides. These are available from seed suppliers and at natural food stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Pan
  • Soilless potting mix
  • Seeds
  • Jar
  • Cheesecloth
  • Rubber band
  • Paper towels
  • Zip-top bag

References

  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Sprouting Seeds at Home
  • University of New Hampshire Extension: Growing Sprouts
  • North Carolina Extension: Bean and Other Vegetable Sprouts
Keywords: sprouting techniques, growing sprouts, vegetable sprouts

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.