Previously I told you that Mark got a worm farm for his birthday. For mine (which is a few weeks away), I got a wheat grass kit. Growing your own is the best way to have fresh wheat grass daily, and once you get the basics, the cheapest way to have it daily. Wheat grass has many beneficial properties. Most of it is unsubstantiated in scientific testing, however added nutrients in a diet cannot cause harm. It also has B12 which as a vegetarian is a very good thing to keep in check. Either way the kit was my birthday present and for the last 15 days has been something I have had to tend to daily.
So below is a guide with pictures on how to grow wheat grass.
I got a full kit including a masticating juicer (not pictured) as our other fruit and vegetable juicer cannot juice wheat grass. The kit contains 4kgs of wheat grass seed, 20 pieces of unbleached paper, 6 trays, 2 drip trays, a hemp bag sprouter (also not pictured) and organic seaweed fertiliser.
Step 1 soak 1 cup of wheat grass seed in a jar overnight or for 6-12 hours depending on the time of year. Shorter in summer (6 hours) and longer in winter (no longer than 12 hours).
When the time is up, you need to boil the sprouting bag for 5 minutes to sterilize it. So I do this just before the time is up and when it has been in the boiling pot, I then move it to a cold bath. You need to then empty the water from the jar (be careful not to spill any seeds) and rinse the seeds once. Take the rinsed seeds, pour them into the bag and let the bag soak under cold water for a minute.
After the soaking, hang the bag somewhere it can drip (my laundry sink is perfect for this as it is the perfect height to hang from the ap, not touch the sides or bottom and drip somewhere I don’t mind getting wet).
The next day is about keeping the seed moist. Twice a day you need to soak the bag under water to wet all the seeds and rehang it. By this point for me it is starting to sprout.
This is what it looks like sprouted and ready to be ‘planted’ on its tray.
Line a tray with a sheet of paper. This is optional, it helps stop soil dripping and roots pushing through. When I run out I will probably use nothing. And as you will see later it doesn’t stop the root growth pushing through.
The next part is to line the tray with 3cm worth of wet soil. The soil should be damp but not dripping. I put soil into a container and mix it with water before putting it into the tray. I then spread the soil out evenly and gently press it into an even layer.
Spread the sprouted seed onto the soil in an even layer. You want it to be a single layer of seed and not too many overlaps.
Water at this stage well. You need to then water it at least once a day. When it reaches 3 and 10 cm you fertilize, and at 12cm you harvest. A single tray will last 2 people 3 days. Thus I carry out the above steps every three days. The day after putting the sprouts on to a tray I simply put another cup into my jar and soak it.
You need to keep the seed wet and not let it dry out. During summer it has a shorter growth time, in winter (like we are coming into now) it can have up to a 20 day growth period. So to help it in winter a thing you can do is put it into a greenhouse. Lucky I had a mini-greenhouse to spare.
I put the first one next to my tomato greenhouse in the sun to give it the best chance to be warm and grow better. Turned out to be a big mistake.
My first tray had some growth but it was really patchy. I thought it was due to the sunlight not reaching the whole tray due to shade from the greenhouse next to the wheat grass one. So I moved the tray around. Did not help. My second tray went into a shadier spot and had much better growth. My third tray (I will call this my first success), was the best. It was on the second layer, full shade, and got all over sprouting.
This is tray 1 after 16 days growth. You can see big patches of dry mouldy seed between some growth patches. But the growth is also slow and stalling.
This is tray 2 after 13 days. You can see it is more consistent growth across the whole tray. However it still is a bit patchy, different growth levels and also the growth seems to be stalling a bit.
This is the third tray after 10 days. As you can see it is full, not patchy at all, and the growth is higher and fuller than the first two days after 3 and 6 days less growth time.
This is what the root growth looks like on tray 2. Patchy like the top and all different lengths.
This is the root growth on tray 3. The growth is lush, full even and just healthy. At the proof of shade on the third tray working so well, I moved my greenhouse under my deck. It is now out of sun, but still allows some heat inside it’s cover. Tray number 4 is also growing amazingly well in its new position.
Here is the greenhouse in its new position out of the sun. The middle row is tray 3 and 4. Tray 5 was just put in today. I am very happy with how it is all going so far, and it did not take long to figure out the best position to start growing. The daily routine is very easy, and being that its a 3 day cycle it is easy to keep it up. I am looking forward to the first harvest. I will probably harvest tray 1 and 2 shortly as the growth is halting and I will need the room in the greenhouse soon.
It has been a very fun experiment and I am very happy with my presents and the results.
The wheatgrass kit was ordered from here. I also got a kit for my friend who is also an organic gardening hobbyist for her birthday. Seriously the kit has everything you need. I got an ultimate kit + juicer for me and an ultimate kit for my friend (as she has that specific style of juicer already).