6 Good Reasons to Soil-sprout
Because some of you have asked “why grow sprouts in soil” I will give you my top 6 reasons. There are lots of good reasons that I can think of, to grow sprouts in soil rather than in jars and special sprouters. If you’re not familiar with soil-sprouts they are seeds grown in shallow trays of soil for about seven days to harvest the delicious gourmet green and use in salads, sandwiches, tacos, or stir-fry veggies, etc.
Most sprout gurus agree that sprouts grown on soil are more nutritious because the roots of the sprouts can draw nutrients from the soil, the compost and the sea kelp meal as they grow. I haven’t found any research to support this claim, but there is lots of evidence that sprouts are good food and I don’t see any point in trying to make them ‘more better’ to justify growing them on soil, there are plenty of other good reasons to grow soil-sprouts!
1.Hulls Drop off as They Grow: My own favorite reason to grow soil-sprouts is that there is no need to wash the hulls off the sprouts, the hulls drop off on their own as the leaves grow and spread open. Whether it is alfalfa seed or Mung bean, washing the greens to separate the hulls from the sprouts is a hard job. There are tricks to the trade, but generally it takes a while to get most of the hulls washed away. But no matter what you do, you can’t get all of the hulls off. The hulls, mixed in with the greens tend to increase the spoilage factor and can affect the flavor of the greens. With soil-sprouts I just brush the tops and the hulls drop off, or they drop off on their own.
2.Storage Right in the Tray: When the soil-sprouts are ready they can be ‘stored’ right in the tray for a few extra days no problem, just water once a day and they stay fresh and green until you are ready to harvest. In fact the soil-sprouts continue to grow. With my regular jar-grown sprouts the tips start to brown a little, the hulls will tend to rot and they have to be stored in the fridge if I am not ready to use them right away.
3.Easier to care for: The first four days you do nothing with soil-sprouts, they stay in the dark on a shelf or in a cupboard. Once the sprouts are planted, the moist soil and moist paper covers make for perfect conditions for the growing seeds, no watering necessary. On the fifth day when the cover comes off and the tray is in the light, watering is only once a day.
3.Heartier greens: If you miss a watering it is not a catastrophe, there is enough moisture in the soil to carry them though a day. If you really mess up and come home to limp greens, just use soil-sprout CPR. Water the tray, put it in a plastic bag and put it in refrigerator, works every time! Not so with sprout in a jar, they will spoil very quickly, and there is no reviving them.
4 Creates a Greenspace: It is great to see the greens growing around the house and kitchen. I use ceramic pot sometimes to hold the trays so I can vary the colors and textures. Even in the little trays the greens are a welcome sight and mix in well with my wife’s house plants. But in the dead of winter with the greens growing, even thriving, it reminds me that this is only for awhile, soon I’ll be back in the garden! And the same is true if you have an apartment and don’t have a place to grow a garden, a few trays of fresh greens satisfies the gardening urge, and helps with the grocery budget too.
5.Visualize the Harvest: What I like about the trays of fresh greens is that you can see what’s ready, it makes it easy to visualize what’s for dinner. I can choose which trays are ready to harvest as I water before dinner.
6. Much faster than Micro-greens. If you have ever grown micro-greens you know that they are not ready in 7 days and only if you are lucky and have the right varieties of greens will they be ready in 21 days. So by the time you even begin to get one harvest from micro-green you have harvested 3 times and are planting your fourth set of trays with soil-sprouts. I figure that it is possible to harvest a pound of greens from just one square foot of trays every week, compare that to any greenhouse, cold frame or garden plot and you’ll be clicking your heels and singing a song.