We’re not huge fans of sprouts but it’s still nice to have something green and fresh in January and they keep pretty well in the fridge. Over the years, we’d grown sprouts off and on and managed to have something edible. But we didn’t really know what we were doing so when we heard about a sprout seminar, we decided to attend. It opened up new possibilities to us such as harvesting the seeds from our sunflowers. When the seminar was over, I asked the speaker where she got her organic sprouts from. I was surprised when she said she got them from a supplier in Manitoba, some 2,000 km away.

This seemed to offset the organic benefits. It also seemed to be not very resilient since the price included the price of shipping which is tied to the price of oil. So we decided to experiment in one of our smaller raised beds. We decided to stay away from some of the more traditional sprouts such as mung beans, alfalfa, broccoli, etc. in large part because the seeds were extremely small which probably meant that they were difficult to harvest and clean.

After a bit of research and asking Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds, we decided on 4: summer peas (bottom left), chickpeas (bottom right), Rodney oats (top left), and Faust barley (top right).

We had no idea of yields since it’s pretty hard to scale down bushels/acre to an 18 inch square. Looking at the barley and the oats, we were pretty sure that we were going to have plenty of sprouts with seed left over for next year’s planting.

And then just as the barley was ready to be harvested, the birds came and wiped it out. We salvaged enough for next year’s planting.

We are pleased enough with the results that we will double the size of next year’s planting so that we can have our own home-grown sprouts in January. And the birds won’t be a problem because I’ll add a frame of 1×2’s and net each bed.

We’ll include soybeans as well.

Sprout pictures here.

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2 Responses to Sprouts

  1. Mike says:

    Another interesting post. We want to try growing barley one of these years too. Your garden beds look so nice and green, can’t wait for that time of year again. What garden zone are you in?

    • MikeH says:

      Nice and green started to have brown and black a couple of weeks later.

      We’re in USDA 4 although we’re in a bit of a valley which has a nasty north wind that rips down on us in the winter. As a result. we tend to plant mostly zone 3 perennials where we have a choice so that we minimise the ongoing maintenance inputs. The energy that we don’t expend on winterising marginal plants is energy that we can expend in more productive ways.


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