Growing shoots, sprouts and baby lettuce in your own kitchen? It’s really, really quite easy, and a delicious way to eat fresh, healthy produce the whole year long.
Sprouts and greens close at hand
By growing your own fresh vegetables you have the satisfaction of growing what you eat and ensuring your own quality control. A vegetable garden in the summer is wonderful, but what do you do during the winter? It couldn't be easier. Simply transform a corner of the kitchen into a small garden health centre where you can grow shoots, sprouts, and baby lettuce. A whole supply of vitamins and minerals at your fingertips!
Your daily harvest
A limitless supply of crisp sprouts and tender baby lettuce to make delicious salads rich in nutrients: heaven for the health-conscious consumer. Finding truly fresh produce at the supermarket can be difficult, particularly in the winter. And for vegetables, the time lapse between picking and the grocery store shelf can be considerable. Pause for a minute and imagine the luxury of savouring fresh greens picked just seconds before. That luxury can be yours if you sow your seeds on a regular basis - you'll enjoy the beauty of a consistent harvest in the comfort of your own home. The best thing about this project? Your return on a packet of seeds far exceeds the contents of a commercial container of sprouts, and you'll pay a fraction of the cost. Quality + healthy + savings = you can't go wrong!
Growing sprouts and shoots: step by step
For the easiest and most enjoyable way to grow sprouts, use a sprouter with a lid. Follow these steps and you'll be celebrating your first harvest in just a few short days.
Procedure for sprouts
- Rince the seeds and soak them in water for 4 to 6 hours. Drain, then rince. Each level of a multi level-sprouter has a drain, so the water you pour in at the top will drain out at the bottom.
- Rince twice daily until your sprouts are ready. Depending on the variety, sprouts should be ready to harvest after 4 to 6 days.
You can also use a Mason jar to sprout your seeds. Or, put the seeds in seed tray lined with a layer of cotton wool, cotton cloth, or felt. Be aware that by using this method, you'll lose the roots which will be impossible to separate from the material.
Procedure for shoots and young lettuce
- Soak the seeds for 4 to 6 hours.
- Fill the bottom of the seed tray with 3 cm of soil and moisten. Sow your seeds on top. Seed trays with a transparent dome are best since they help retain moisture while guaranteeing maximum light.
- Firmly tamp down the seeds using a solid spatula or dish with a smooth base.
- Spray with water to sufficiently moisten the soil, and then cover with the dome lid.
- Check every day that humidity levels are adequate. If the soil has dried out, spray. Avoid over-watering: excess water will rot the seeds.
- Harvest when shoots are approximately 10 cm high. Certain varieties are harvested once they reach 15 cm, such as pea and sunflower seeds. As for baby lettuce, the first leaves are usually ready after 3 weeks.