top
 Shop all our Mother's Day Gifts
asd

Grow fresh sprouts all year long

Gardeners are naturals when it comes to home-grown sprouts. You can produce a crop on your countertop in just a few days, without getting your hands dirty.

Sprouts have come a long way since the days of avocado and bean-sprout sandwiches on health-food restaurant menus. Mung bean sprouts are still around — and they remain perhaps the most popular sprout — but more delicate and even more delicious seeds bring sprouts up to date: try broccoli sprouts and mixes containing broccoli, radish, arugula, mustard, and clover. Their fresh, crisp texture and spicy or nutty flavors are delicious in salads, on sandwiches, in stir-fry dishes and soups, and stirred into hummus and other dips.

The best seeds to start with are seeds sold especially for sprouting. These packages generally contain more seeds than a package of seeds for garden planting, so you’ll have plenty for several batches of sprouts. Just as a mesclun mix combines several great lettuces and greens, a zesty sprouting-seed mix will introduce you to the interesting flavors of several kinds of sprouts.

Sprout-starting kits make it easy. You don’t have to wait for the weather to cooperate: it’s always sprouting season. Start with a tablespoon of seeds, or two tablespoons at most, while you learn the process. Simply soak the seeds for a few hours, rinse thoroughly, and allow them to germinate in the sprouter. It is important to rinse and drain the seeds thoroughly twice a day, using plenty of water, to keep them from getting musty or moldy. Some sprouters are translucent, to shelter the sprouts from direct light; if you use a quart jar with a screen or cheesecloth over the opening, cover the jar (but not the opening) with a dishcloth to protect the seeds from light until they sprout.

After a few days of rinsing and draining, the seeds sprout and put out their first tiny leaves. When you see leaves, allow the sprouts a little light, so they will green up a bit. Taste a few — they are ready to eat when you like the way they taste. Some sprouts are best after just two or three days, and others take five days to develop. If you make more than you need, rinse the sprouts, dry them thoroughly in a salad spinner, and store them in a plastic bag in the crisper. They will keep for a week or more, but savor them, don’t save them. It’s easy to plant another crop.

Read the next Article: Burpee Ultimate Grow Light

Personalize Your Site:

Enter your zip code to:

  • Find your growing zone.
  • See best products for your region.
  • Show accurate product shipping dates.
Go
Clear my Zip Code

Gardening Tip of the Day

  • New gardeners can’t go wrong with annual flowers. Planted in average soil and deeply watered once a week, annuals will provide a summer’s worth of wonderful blooms. Started from seed or set out as transplants, these winners will really perform if a few inches of compost are worked into the soil before planting.

    Try wax-leaf begonia in partial shade. Cleome is perfect for the background where it gets full sun. Impatiens is wonderful in the shade. Lantana loves hot weather with flowers from yellow to orange to lavender. Torenia, or wishbone flower, is a relatively new ""toughie."" It grows best in partial shade loves heat. Zinnias are tough sun lovers that really put on a show in a variety of colors.