Barbara H. Peterson

A healthy immune system is vital to warding off disease. By eating fresh, healthy foods and building up a strong immune system, people can live healthier, more robust lives. Creating an indoor sprout garden is one way to supply the family with fresh, high-density nutrition that both city dwellers and homesteaders alike can do with minimal space and equipment. 

The first step on the journey to creating an indoor sprout garden is to choose what seeds to start with. Just about any seeds can be sprouted, except for seeds taken from plants grown from Terminator (GURT) genetically modified seeds because they are engineered to be sterile. So, when looking for seeds to sprout, experiment with some popular favorites such as alfalfa, beans, broccoli, clover, arugula, fenugreek, wheat, or peanuts.

The second step to successful sprouting is seed storage. Seeds must be stored in a cool, dry, dark area. A temperature between 55-70 degrees, with humidity of less than 70% is best. Seed life can be extended by freezing or refrigerating as long as condensation is avoided.

When the seeds have been selected for sprouting, cull and prep them. Look through the dry seeds for foreign matter and remove it. Rinse them thoroughly, and then soak for between 8-12 hours to end the seeds’ dormancy. It is necessary to use 2-3 times as much water as seeds for soaking. When they are done soaking, remove any seeds that float, drain, and rinse thoroughly in cool water.

Now the sprouting process begins. Choose a sprouter and place the seeds in it. Some people use a canning jar with a piece of non-aluminum screening or porous nylon netting in place of the lid, with a ring fastening it down. Small bags made out of burlap or hemp that can be hung are also very handy. Commercial sprouters are available for larger quantities. The main thing to remember is that the seeds need to breathe or they will rot.

After the seeds have been placed in the sprouting container, make sure to rinse them 2-3 times per day with cool water. Use lots of water, and turn the faucet on as high as possible, taking care not to damage the seeds. This will clean the seeds, as well as oxygenate and keep them loose. Drain thoroughly after each rinse, removing as much water as possible by gently shaking and bouncing the sprouter.

Keep the sprouter in an area with good air circulation. The seeds can have indirect light at this point; so don’t worry about room lighting. When the sprouts start to emerge and shed the hulls, it is time to give them plenty of light.

When the sprouts are 1-2 inches long, give them a final rinse, drain thoroughly and let them sit for 8-12 hours. To green the sprouts, leave them uncovered for a few hours during this period in bright light, but not direct sunlight. Make sure they are cool and dry, and then place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Last but not least, make sure that the sprouter is thoroughly cleaned using food-grade hydrogen peroxide or grapefruit seed extract and it will be ready for the next round of sprouts.

So, even if there is no room in the yard to plant a garden, plant a mini-garden of sprouts right in the kitchen and reap the harvest of these nutritional powerhouses. Easy to store, easy to grow, and healthy to boot!

There's more to health than eating veggies!