Month: May 2016

How to grow sprouts at home

We all want to get healthier, to age better, to reverse some of the harmful effects of daily life that bombards us from every direction.
Well, although this is not a panacea, it is a great start!
Providing your family with fresh homegrown greens throughout the year, is a great investment in their health and well being and it doesn’t get any easier than with the Two Tray Sprouter we have in the Flower Power Brochure.

Two try sprouter

Recently, I dug my 2 tray sprouter out from the back corner of the cupboard and I decided to try it. I wanted to see how easy it really was to start my own fresh home grown greens. Also, I thought it would be a wonderful experience for my two little girls to learn how to grow sprouts at home, watch them grow as they care for and nurture them and then eat what they grew. To our utter delight, the seeds started sprouting within a day and the process is just too easy! My favorite type of sprouts are Alfalfa sprouts, which is available in the Flower Power Catalog. They have a mild flavor, but my girls love the Broccoli sprouts, which are also available in the Flower Power Catalog.

Now, lets get down to business, how do you grow sprouts at home in a seed sprouter?

Pre-soaking the seeds.
You don’t have to pre-soak the seeds (we didn’t) , but if you do pre-soak them for a few hours, it helps them to germinate more quickly.
Here’s how you would soak the seeds: measure 1 tablespoon of seeds per tray. Pour the seeds in a glass bowl, cover them with water and let them sit for 3-4 hours. Drain the seeds. Pour them into the seed tray. One of the features I love about our Seed Sprouter is that there are drain holes on the bottom of each tray, which allows them to keep the correct amount of water in the tray at all stages of growth.
Place the Seeds in the tray.
We then put the seed tray on top of the base tray. Then, we took one cup (measured) of water and poured it on to the seeds. It took time to filter through the first time. The water will collect in the water collection tray (the white tray at the bottom). You can discard that water after it has drained to that collection tray. What I love about the seed sprouter is that there are 2 trays which allows me to grow at different timelines. So I can start seeds sprouting in one tray then a few days later start seeds in the next tray so that we have a continuous supply of those beautiful greens.

Watering the seeds.
We water the seeds up to 3 times a day. The girls water them in the morning as I am preparing breakfast for them. I water them again around lunch time and then after dinner. All you need to do is pour about one cup of water into the seed tray. The water will slowly drain out the holes in the bottom of the tray and filter into the base tray. Just remember to empty the base tray each time before you water or it will overflow. When sprouting more than one tray at a time, water the top tray and the water will flow down through the holes in the tray to water the next tray. The excess water ends up in the bottom base tray.

After you water each time and the water filters through , place the lid back loosely on the top tray.

 

two tray sprouter 2

Harvesting
Now, we haven’t yet gotten to that part yet, as you can see from the pictures they are not mature enough. But we’ll be able to eat fresh sprouts in a day or two at this rate! You can also let them grow as long as four or five days. To harvest them, remove the sprouts from the seed tray and place them in a bowl. Fill the bowl with water and swish the sprouts around. This will loosen up any seed hulls that will float to the top and you can scoop them out. You could skip this step but I was told that seed hulls can be bitter at times. Any seeds that did not germinate will float to the bottom. Scoop out the sprouts and place them on a towel to let the excess water drip off. Now you can eat your delicious homegrown sprouts!

Storing homegrown sprouts.
If you have any sprouts that were harvested and not eaten right away, put them in a covered glass storage container in the refrigerator. As long as most of the moisture is drained off, you can have them last up to four days in the refrigerator.

So, we have seen how easy it is to grow our own greens. The hardest part is remembering to water them 2-3 times a day. But, if you make it part of your routine, it will soon become second nature.
Go ahead now! Use that amazing 2 tray sprouter and feed your family cancer fighting greens that are full of antioxidants and iron. Every little bit counts 🙂

Update ( 13th of May)

Here is how beautifully the sprouts have grown! They are so fresh and peppery! Sometimes we cant even wait to wash away the hulls, we just eat it from the tray!

sprouts

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From the garden to your plate!

From the garden to your plate!

carrots

The last post in our blog was about how to grow summer flowering bulbs. We thought it would only be fair to provide planting advice to those who have purchased the Salad Garden or Veggie Garden too!

We will start by touching on a few methods of planting and then sharing tips on growing some of our favorite veggies here at Flower Power.

Preparing your soil
Before seeding, make sure that the soil has dried out sufficiently before you work it. Make sure that the soil is warm enough for the seeds that you want to plant. Pea seeds, for example, grow in soil as cool as 40°F , so you can plant them as soon as you can work the soil in spring. Squash seeds, on the other hand, need warmth. If your soil temperature is much below 65°F , the seeds are likely to rot in the ground before they sprout. You can determine the temperature of your soil using a soil thermometer, which you can buy at you local garden store.

Methods of planting:

You can plant seeds in many ways. The method that you choose depends on your climate, your tools and your personal preference.

Row planting: Mark the placement of a row within your garden, and then make a channel at the correct depth along the row. Space out your seeds as evenly as possible because, thinning rows is less of a chore if you space seeds evenly. Cover the seeds with fine soil and then pat them in to make sure that all the seeds are in contact with the soil.

Wide row planting: This method allows you to plant more seeds in less space by concentrating watering, weeding, and fertilizing in a smaller area. Rows are generally 10 to 16 inches wide. Sprinkle seeds over the entire row. with most crops, try to land the seeds about 1/2 to 1 inch apart. For peas and beans, space them 1-1/2 to 2 inches. Cover small seeds with a thin layer of potting soil. Lightly pat the potting soil down again to bring the added soil into firm contact with the seeds.

Bed planting: Planting in beds is essentially the same as planting wide rows.

Hill planting: Plant seeds for vining crops that spread out, such as squash or cucumbers, in hills or circular groups. Loosen the soil in a 1-foot-diameter area, level the area, and then plant five to six seeds close together. Thin out all but the two strongest seedlings.

If your soil is heavy, you may want to plant in a raised hill, or mound. The raised soil warms up more quickly than the surrounding soil and drains better. Just don’t let the mound dry out!

Soon after seedlings grow their second set of true leaves, you need to thin them out to avoid overcrowding. The first set of leaves that a seedling produces are called seed leaves , which are followed by the true leaves.When you thin plants, either discard the extra seedlings or move them to another part of your garden.

Now that we covered the basics of planting veggies we would like to offer some our guide on some of our favorite veggies that we are growing in our gardens.

Green Beans

Choose an area with full sun and a rich, deeply worked soil with a pH level of 6.5. Plant 2″ deep on slight hills around poles or teepees spaced at 16″ apart. Grow 4-8 seeds on each hill. Space 3″ apart if growing on a fence. Sow when the soil is warm 65°F. Pole Beans are light feeders. The poles, teepees or a trellis should be set up after 2-4 leaves have developed. Keep the plants well watered in dry weather, especially if they are grown on an upright trellis or poles against a shed or house where soil tends to dry out. Pick young, full size pods when smooth and crisp. Pods are over mature once the beans start to form. Harvest regularly for a an abundant supply.
Cucumbers

Cucumbers are very easy to grow. They require full sun and soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8. As they are heavy feeders, an application of compost or well rotted manure worked into the planting area will help. Plant seeds ½-1″ deep.The Soil should be warm (65-75°F) for germination to begin. If you are growing them on a trellis, space them 18″ apart. The plant should not be allowed to wilt. Spread a mulch around plants before they start to vine, to cut down on weeds and conserve moisture. The mulch will also help to keep the fruit clean. Pick the cucumbers when they reach 6-8″ long. Keep mature cucumbers picked off the vines to encourage a longer yield.

Beets
Choose a full sun location. Beets require a light, well-drained, cool soil with a pH between 6.5 and 6.8. Compost or well-rotted manure along with pure wood ashes, as a supply of additional potassium, should be mixed well into the soil prior to planting. Keep well-watered as drought will result in tough or woody roots. Sow seeds thinly ½-1″ deep in rows spaced 8-12″ apart. Soil temperature should be  (65-75°F) for optimal germination. Thin seedlings 1″ apart for greens and 3″ apart for summer use of roots. Plant every two weeks, starting as early as soil can be worked until late June.Young and tender beet leaves can be used as greens. Dig or pull roots when 2-3″ in diameter or desired size.
Carrots
Carrots are best grown in full sun but will tolerate light shading. Choose deeply-worked, stone free soil with a pH of 6.5. Raised beds or rows are recommended. Sow seed ¼-½” deep. Seed takes 14-21 days to germinate. Thin plants to at least 1″ apart in rows spaced 18-24″ apart. Sow as soon as ground can be worked. Even moisture and soil temperature, 18-24°C (65-75°F) is essential for good germination. Carrots are light to moderate feeders. Avoid using fresh animal and green manures at the time of planting.
Peas

Peas need full sun to partial shade with a soil pH of 6.0-7.0. They are light feeders  and require a well-drained, rich and sandy soil. Work organic matter, including rotted manure or compost into the soil for best results.  Even soil moisture is essential especially during flowering and pod set.  As peas prefer cool growing conditions they may be planted as soon as the ground can be worked and will germinate in a wide range of soil temperatures, (40-75°F). Sow seed 1 to 1½” deep, 1-2 inches apart in double rows spaced 3-6″ apart, 24″ between the next double row. Plants will tolerate crowding so may be spaced 2″ apart. All peas are natural climbers, more productive, and not as susceptible to rot, if given some support or planted along a fence or trellis. For best tasting peas, harvest when pods are young and tender. Pick regularly to promote continued production.

If you have any questions or would like us to provide any information on growing any of the bulbs and seeds with in our fundraiser be sure to contact us on Facebook book or call us directly at 1-888-833-1486. We would be happy to provide any and all the information you need.

 

Happy Gardening!