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Sprout Growing Q & A
Follow the links to the answers.
A note about our mixes
There are a lot of un-sprouted seeds in the bottom of my sprouter.
My Broccoli sprouts stink to high heaven - is that right?
My plastic screen lids do not screw onto my jar!
The Small Seed Insert for my Easy Sprout won't stay in place!
Some of my seeds are as hard after soaking as before.
My Sprouts are moldy.
My Grass or Greens are moldy.
Why are your some of your labels different?
Fruit Flies - what can I do about them?
About our Mixes
We mix our seeds by hand, so the mixes will not always look like the pictures (some people actually complain about that), nor will any 2 bags of seed be identical in their make-up. This is true of all of our mixes. Just like a cook, my mood may, to some degree, alter a mix - somedays I'm just spicier than others (as an example), so I may throw in a few more radish seeds than usual.
Also - we can not do custom mixing. some of our customers ask us to leave out this or that seed and add more of something else. We just can not make the time for that sort of thing - sorry. You can always order pounds of individual seeds and make up your own mixes. It's fun!
I do not wish to complain, but I have to tell you (again (I know you are sick of hearing it)) that we are just a tiny family business. We work more hours than the average workers and we just can't work more or we'll never see our kids. So remember - when you ask us for special treatment (we like to think we treat everyone special to begin with) you are asking us to spend less time with our kids. How's that for a guilt trip =;-D
There are a lot of un-sprouted seeds in the bottom of my sprouter.
This is the most common problem and the easiest to answer. Once you remedy this your sprout growing will soar to new levels!
The answer is this: You need to spend more time DRAINING after you Rinse your sprouts. If you read this page you will know everything you need to know, but I'll give you the basics here.
After Rinsing you MUST get as much water out of your sprouter as possible! Shake, Spin, Bounce and Swing your sprouter! If you use Easy Sprout then bounce the Growing Vessel against the side of your sink AND spin it around and around. If you use a Jar or Tube; shake it vigorously and leave it at a 45° angle (lid down) between Rinses to give any remaining water a way out. Hemp Bags and SproutMasters are pretty much self-draining, but spinning the Hemp Bag like a slingshot is efficient and gently bouncing SproutMaster against the heel of your hand is all you need. You'll have to tip and bounce Trays and Bio-Salad. We also suggest you tip each tray of Bio-Set after rinsing each individually - we very much dislike the water that (as intended by the manufacturer and designer) stands in it's grooves and in our experience small seeds will always produce very low yields unless manual draining is done at every rinse.
Regardless of the sprouter you use, do not be deceived into thinking the water will drain by itself. If you are seeing a lot of un-sprouted seeds then you need to drain more.
My Broccoli sprouts stink to high heaven - is that right?
This is not quite right, no. Brassicas do smell more than most sprouts - it is a sulfur smell which you might notice sounds similar to sulfurophane, the anti-oxidant in Broccoli and other Brassicas, so a little smell is a good thing. Brassicas like other small seeds are more vulnerable to drowning if not well drained and that is all that we need to deal with here.
The answer is this: You need to spend more time DRAINING after you Rinse your sprouts. Read this page to learn about Draining and you'll be growing great crops in no time. You may not be able to solve the problem that easily if you're using certain Sprouters - siphoning tray Sprouters, so consider a new Sprouter if you want Broccoli sprouts. Here is the best Sprouter for Broccoli.
The Small Seed Insert for my Easy Sprout won't stay in place!
This happens once in a while - especially if you have multiple Easy Sprouts. In any case the fix is easy. Use any pliers to crimp the thin lip of the small seed insert on opposite sides. The resulting 2 tiny protruding bits of plastic will result in a very good fit!
My plastic screen lids do not screw onto my jar!
Sometimes Plastic lids don't fit well onto a jar. It may have to do with age or a fluke in production. These lids are made for standard wide-mouth canning jars. If they don't fit........
Here is a fix: Soak the lid(s) in hot water for a few minutes (the hotter the water the shorter the soak time). We find that solves the problem completely. If you still have trouble - this is good advise for anything that screws on to anything - turn the lid counter-clockwise until the threads engage and then turn it clockwise.
My Sprouts are moldy.
99.9% of you aren't seeing mold (if you're using our seeds), you are seeing Root Hairs. If you are growing Broccoli, Radish or another Brassica, or a Grain, and you see this "fuzz" just before you Rinse - that is Root Hairs. Just Rinse and they fall back against the main root. You won't see them again until your next Rinse. Don't feel bad - you are the 2, 247th person to make that mistake this year =;-D
It is possible to grow mold or fungus on your sprouts, but if you are using good seed and have a sterile Sprouter, it is easily correctable. If your seed is old, buy fresh (read about Seed Storage) and store it well. You should sterilize your Sprouter every few crops (at least) - if you haven't done that, do it - it makes a HUGE difference to have a clean Sprouter. Mold is usually associated with high humidity or lack of air-circulation. The most common causes of are:
1. A Sprouter with poor air-circulation.
2. Insufficient Draining after Rinses
3. High humidity in your home.
4. A not clean enough Sprouter.
5. Growing your Sprouts in a cabinet.
6. Rinsing with warm or hot water.
The first thing to do is Sterilize your Sprouter. Next try moving your Sprouter to a spot with better air-circulation and Draining more after every Rinse. If Heat and Humidity are high, and moving the Sprouter won't do it, turn a fan on (not blowing right at the sprouts) to move the air, add an extra Rinse to your daily routine, or at the very least, use cold water instead of cool when you Rinse. Never use anything warmer than cool (60-70°) water unless your SEED SUPPLIER has told you it is necessary for a particular seed! Changing your Sprouter may remedy the problem completely, but that is a last resort. But, if you are using a stacking tray Sprouter with siphons (Bio-Set, Biosta, NK Kitchen) you really should consider replacing it - the whole idea behind those is to maintain high humidity and prevent air-circulation. That just doesn't work for a broad range of sprouts. Go to our Sprouter page and click on each of the Sprouters we offer to see what will work best for you, or view our suggestions on every Seed Detail (i.e. here is the DETAIL page for Broccoli) page, to see what we think works best for each seed. If NONE of these things solve your problem, you should buy fresh seeds.
My Grass or Greens are moldy.
There are two issues when it comes to Grass and Greens: Mold and fungus. Mold can grow on seeds even in the first few days after planting. It is usually a result of bad seed, bad soil, a dirty growing container, or improper growing methods. We hate to tell folks the ONE way to sprout or grow, but we have heard some methods from some of our customers which drive us nervous. We will say that if you buy our seeds and follow our directions, you will get good results. So, if you are having mold problems, follow OUR instructions on our web site. Do clean your growing containers and Use Only sterile soil (any bagged soil) or a soilless medium. If you aren't using our seeds, consider buying some - if you can't solve the problem with our advise.
Fungus is a hairy growth that is not uncommon in Grass and is sometimes seen on Greens. It is commonly called FUZZIES by those of us in the growing business. It is NOT harmful, but it is gross. The answer is to increase air-circulation. This can be done by growing in a different location - outside is best and solves the problem 95% of the time. The other solution is to plant less densely. Fungus is only a problem in hot/humid conditions. We plant as much as 50% less seed per tray in the height of summer - that AND growing outside ALWAYS solves the problem.
Why are your some of your labels different?
We sell more of some varieties than others. We have, for example, had labels printed dozens of times for mixes like French Garden, but only once for Pinto Beans. Over the years, we have changed not only the design of the label, but also our organic certifying agency. That is why you see differences on our labels. Eventually they will all look the same - someday - maybe =;-)
Fruit Flies - What can I do about them?
We have long considered fruit flies harmless and unavoidable at certain times of year, so we have never concerned ourselves with them. We do have a customer in England who shared a solution with us though, so we are sharing it with you:
An old gardener I met in my local pub here in the UK (Lewisham, London) gave this advice, which I reproduce verbatim:
'Get yerself a jar and pour an inch of vinegar in. Them bloody fruit flies can't resist it, boy. Then make a funnel out of a bit o' paper and stick it in the top of yer jar... they can get in all right, but the little buggers can't get out. Heh, heh, heh.'
We have found this to work fairly well. It certainly cuts down on the population.
Now the alphabetical list......
Some of the definitions on this list are right out of the dictionary while others are our own.
Glossary: A reference that defines words used - in this case by us Sproutpeople.
Sprouts, Greens and Grass need to breathe while they grow. Don't put them in a closed cabinet or closet! As we've said so many times in these pages: Light just isn't anything to worry about, so leave your sprouts in an open place where they can breathe. If it is very hot and humid you should consider moving your air around with a fan - or moving your sprouts to a place where the air moves. If you are growing Grass or Greens you should consider moving them outside (when temperatures are over 60°), there is no better place for air circulation.
The Genus of plants from the family Amaryllidaceae, whose members include Garlic, Leek and Onion.
See our Seed Taxonomy Chart
1. A chemical compound or substance that inhibits oxidation. 2. A substance, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, or beta carotene, thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation. 3. A Cancer preventative compound.
Any of the unicellular prokaryotic microorganisms of the class Schizomycetes, which vary in terms of morphology, oxygen and nutritional requirements, and motility, and may be free-living, saprophytic, or pathogenic in plants or animals. We mammals are dependent on bacteria. The vast majority are beneficial, and sprouts as well as other living, raw foods are the best source of these. But we do take care to keep our growing environment sterile so as to prevent pathogenic bacteria like salmonella. Read about food and sprout safety.
Withhold light from your plants to keep them from turning green. Blanching is common in Europe but little known in the US. The usually yellow plants which result from Blanching are usually more tender than their green version, but they lack chlorophyll.
The most common and easily available chemical for sterilizing sprouting devices. Household bleach is already diluted but you need to dilute it further to avoid burning your skin. We recommend 1 Tablespoon per pint of water for sterilizing. Let sprouter soak for 10 or more minutes, scrub well and rinse clean. We do not use bleach on seeds - EVER! If you want to know why Read This.
A Genus of plants from the family Brassicaceae, whose members include Broccoli, Mustard, Arugula, Mizuna, Cabbage. and many more
See our Seed Taxonomy Chart
Any of a group of organic compounds that includes sugars, starches, celluloses, and gums and serves as a major energy source in the diet of animals. These compounds are produced by photosynthetic plants and contain only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, usually in the ratio 1:2:1.
An accredited 3rd party inspection that verifies a thing to be something. For example: Certified Organic means that (seed in our case) is organic because it has been verified by an accredited 3rd party.
Any of a group of green pigments that are found in the chloroplasts of plants and in other photosynthetic organisms.
Chlorophyll absorbs energy from the sun and uses it for the manufacture of sugar, starch and proteins.
The first leaves of the embryonic plant within the seed that are used as a food supply for the germinating embryo. Also called a "seed leaf".
1. To pick out from others; select. 2. To gather; collect. 3. To remove rejected members or parts from (a batch of seeds, for example). Something picked out from others, especially something rejected because of inferior quality.
Absence or deficiency of light. Used in growing Greens especially. Keeping a crop "in the dark" allows the plants to grow taller than they would if light were readily available, in some cases.
In Sprouting Seed: The removal of the thin "coat" of a Lentil by machine. The only decorticated Lentil we usually sell we call Orange Lentil. It is most commonly a decorticated Crimson Lentil. For further confusions see Hulled.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is an insecticide approved for organic use. DE is sometimes applied to seeds (usually on the farm), to keep the insect pests; the Indian Meal Moth or Weevils at bay. DE has absolutely no affect on a kitchen grown crop. We rarely have insect problems, but we have used DE ourselves at times, though it looks so bad when we put seeds in bags that we avoid it. So - if you purchase seeds from us and they have DE (we will mention it in the NOTES section of particular seed/mix page, if they have it), please excuse the dusty look and go ahead and grow your crop. Rinsing the seeds well before Soaking will remove most of the DE anyway. While I'm on the subject I'll mention that we may see more seeds with DE in the coming year (2013). With hot, dry weather insects can be a real problem for seed farmers. With drought conditions lessening their crop yields they have to take extra care to keep what seed they have, safe from pests. Family farms operate on VERY low profit margins and we all depend on them to keep going and growing our food. Though we dislike DE because it diminishes the visual appeal of what we sell, we understand and respect why it is there.
A flowering plant with two embryonic seed leaves or cotyledons that usually appear at germination.
An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true.
1. In a condition of biological rest or inactivity characterized by cessation of growth or development and the suspension of many metabolic processes. 2. Lying asleep or as if asleep; inactive.
The process necessary after every Rinse.
Insufficient Draining is the most common cause of failure for home sprout growers. Read all about Draining.
Any of numerous proteins or conjugated proteins produced by living organisms and functioning as biochemical catalysts. All Mammals - including Human Beings - and many other living creatures, require Enzymes for ALL cellular function. No Enzymes = no life.
There is a theory which says humans have a given amount of Enzymes (like women have all their eggs at birth), that we MUST consume Enzymes to survive and prosper. Enzymes come from raw and living foods. Eating raw and living foods provides us with these vital proteins. Eating dead food uses our body's limited store of Enzymes. Eat More Sprouts!
A substance that stops an enzyme reaction. Dormant (dry) seeds remain dormant because of their Enzyme Inhibitors. Humans (and our pets - as the Bird People and the BARF (Bones And Raw Food) Dog People know) eat way too many "dead foods" - foods without Enzymes.
Once a seed soaks - its Enzyme Inhibitors are no more. Soaked and Sprouted Seeds are LIVING FOOD - they contain their own Enzymes and so require none from your body - or as we say - Sprouts digest themselves.
Even Water Contact
We use this phrase to represent thorough mixing of the seeds we prep, soak and rinse. Some seeds have a tendency to do the "Nestle's Quik®" thing: They bond together even when submerged in liquid, and remain dry (alfalfa and clover are good examples) unless thoroughly mixed. We use our (clean) hands to mix because we like to touch our seeds and by doing so we can feel that all the seeds are receiving even water contact. Even water contact is essential for a good sprout crop.
Seeds that remain atop the water (with the exception of seeds in shells like Sunflower Greens and Buckwheat Lettuce) after the soak stage. When a seed is still floating after the soak stage it sometimes indicates a dead seed. There are so many minor exceptions to this rule that we no longer specify to "pour off the floaters" after soaking. In most cases there aren't enough floaters to disrupt the crop and since so many seeds that will sprout may be floating (Brassicas often have floaters like this) we've decided to let the floaters pass. If you notice a lot of plant matter or seeds that just don't look right, you go ahead and por those off.
The pesky little flying bug that appears, seemingly out of nowhere - usually in warm weather - and usually around ripe fruit or vegetables that are out in the open. Fruit flies can get into some sprouters but do no harm. You can try Rinsing more often but we generally just tolerate them when they are around. We've never found any way to get rid of them. They do no harm. But, a customer sent us this advice.
The cytoplasm of a germ cell, especially that part containing the chromosomes. This is where the root grows.
See Germination (directly below).
1. To begin to sprout or grow. 2. To come into existence
Genetically Modified Organism. ALL of our seeds are certified NON-GMO!!!
1. The fruits of cereal grasses (wheat, rye, oats, etc.) especially after having been harvested, considered as a group. 2. A small, dry, one-seeded fruit of a cereal grass, having the fruit and the seed walls united: a single grain of wheat. The seed of Grains are often called a Berry or Berrie
Any of various plants having slender leaves characteristic of the grass family. Consumed for their amazing nutritional value by humans, usually in the form of juice, and by animals by chewing - all of the cereal grasses have very similar nutritional value, but wheat is favored for it's availability, ease of growing and flavor (if you think wheat grass juice is bad, try barley!)
A plant produced by a seed which has been planted on soil or other water retaining medium and then harvested above the surface of that medium. See Greens information page.
The process of photosynthesis by which a plant absorbs light. In sprouting: To expose a sprout, grass or greens to light, thus allowing it to turn green.
A seed which has had its hull removed. Typically used in reference to Buckwheat which has been hulled and sometimes to Oats. Oats which have been hulled are almost certainly NOT sproutable as the hulling process is quite damaging to that tender grain. You may use whole (not hulled) Oats for growing grass, but the hulls are not edible. We sell only Hulless Oats which are Oats grown without a hull. Buckwheat is rarely damaged even in the least by hulling, so the groat of that seed is quite good for sprouting (if the seed is of sufficiently high quality).
A seed that refuses to soak up water is called a Hard Seed and though these can be present in any type of seed, they are most common in Adzuki Beans. If you find that some of your seeds are as hard after 8-12 hours of soaking as they were before you should try soaking them in warm/hot water. (See Hot Soak, directly below)
In nature when a plant matures to the point that it has produced seed and dried, it's seed will drop to the ground. Over the winter that seed will work its way into the ground as the soil heaves with freezes and thaws. When the weather warms and moisture becomes available, the dormant the seeds soak up water. They begin to germinate and start the cycle of growing plants which can produce seed. If however the plants die for some reason (poor weather for example), the seeds that are still dormant (the hard seeds) can sustain the species. In many cases the hard seeds will remain dormant until another spring comes, at which time they will soak up water and begin to grow plants that can produce seeds and re-start the cycle all over again. Since we are sprouting these seeds we do not want hard seeds - they are as hard as rocks in many cases. As with any beans used in our kitchen it is always a good idea to cull (check) them for rocks and for hard seeds. Though they are very rare in good sprouting seed they can be present.
The use of warm or hot water during the Soaking of sprouting seed. We do not recommend this unless your SEED supplier (us we trust =;-) states it is necessary, or you feel like experimenting.
The use of Hot or Warm water will shorten the time your seeds need to soak or force Hard Seeds (see item just above) to soak up water. The drawback is that you can "cook" your seeds if you use water which is too hot, or if you let them soak for too long.
To remedy beans that remain hard after 12 hours in cool water: Rinse well and then Soak the seeds again in 90-100° water until hard seeds are no longer hard (usually 8-12 hours). Rinse well and perform all future Rinses with cool water. Note: the Soak water will cool as time passes. That is as it should be. As long as you start with the right temperature you should meet with success.
If you have some seeds (or mixes which contain seeds) that you KNOW beforehand will remain hard in a cool water Soak, you should skip the cool water Soak and just start out with the hotter water. The 2nd Soak (outlined in the previous paragraph) is for emergency use only. You will do much better if your seeds Soak only as long as they need to. Soaking too long can waterlog seeds and Soaking in hot water can "cook" them, so it is follows that if you can get all of your seeds soaked in 12 hours they are much better off.
If you are in a pinch for time you can use 90-100° water to cut the soak time down. We do not suggest this, but we have at times done this - out of necessity. With leafy sprouts and Brassica sprouts you should Soak no longer than 1 1/2 hours. For grains 3-4 hours. For beans the time varies - you should count on 4 at least and as many as 12 hours. You know it is time to stop Soaking when your seeds can be squished between your fingers.
The most extreme hard seed story: We have even experienced seeds so determined to stay hard (Adzukis in 1995) that they required 3 consecutive 12 hour Soaks in hot water! We would Rinse between the Soaks - a MUST anytime you Soak longer than 12 hours - and add new hot water to Soak. We were very glad when new seeds were available!
Hull: The dry outer covering of a seed or nut.
Hulling: The removal of hulls.
We do not mind most hulls - mostly we consider them to be extra roughage. Most Legumes (Beans, Alfalfa, Clover) have hulls, some of which will float or otherwise make themselves available for removal, during regular Rinsing and Draining. You may choose to De-Hull your crop or not. Here is the method. We do remove hulls from Brassica Sprouts (Broccoli, Radish, etc.) as they are so big (relative to the sprout) and wet that they compromise both texture and storage of the finished sprouts if not removed.
There is bound to be some confusion here, let me add to it: Most seeds grow in shells (Sunflower, Buckwheat, Almond, Pumpkin) or pods (Beans, Alfalfa, Clover, Peanuts, Fenugreek, Radish, Broccoli, Mustard, etc.), and those seeds have a hull as well - it is a thin dry cover around the seed itself. But in the seed "industry" the word HULLED refers to a seed which has had it's outer most portion removed. So a HULLED seed is, in our case, a seed which has been removed from it's shell or pod (see below for more confusion). For example: We use two types of Sunflower seed - WHOLE (still in its shell) for growing Sunflower Greens, and HULLED (the shell removed) for Sprouts. But, that Hulled Sunflower still has a thin dry cover (hull)! The one exception we can think of is Buckwheat. Whole Buckwheat is used to grow Greens called Buckwheat Lettuce. Hulled Buckwheat is known as Buckwheat Groats. There is no hull on a Buckwheat Groat.
Grains also are commonly "Hulled". But most Grains actually grow in a HULL, so the phrase Hulled is literally true when discussing Grains (see Hulless for exceptions). Hulled Grains therefore do not have the same dry outer covering that most other seeds have.
Hull removal is done with machines which can damage the seeds. In the case of Almonds it nicks and scratches some of the nuts. With soft seeds like Sunflowers it can destroy the seed - which is why it is not always easy to find good sprouting Sunflower seeds. Some seeds are not effected in the least - like Buckwheat Groats and almost all Beans, most Grains, Alfalfa, Clover, Fenugreek, Radish, Broccoli, Mustard and many many more. The HULLED seeds which are difficult to find in good condition are Sunflower, Almond, Peanuts, Pumpkin, Spelt and Barley. Some are impossible, so we only carry Hulless versions (Oats and Barley are generally the only such seed).
Also see Decorticate, Hulless and Whole
A seed which is of a type that usually grows with a Hull, but which in this case is grown without a Hull. Hulless is in some cases preferable to Hulled because the seed is not subjected to the mechanical process of Hull removal. Oats are the best example of a seed which will virtually never withstand the Hulling process and so must be Hulless if used for sprouting.
Also see Hulled and Whole
The offspring of a cross between parent varieties (usually of the same species) that are genetically different.
Hybrid seeds are usually quite expensive. If you plant a hybrid seed and harvest the seed produced by the resulting plant, those seeds will not produce the same plant again if planted, but rather will revert to aspects of their original parentage. Seeds that produce plants, which yield the same genetic seed every crop cycle are called open-pollinated. All of our seeds are open-pollinated.
A method of growing plants which uses no soil or medium. Hydroponic production has plants roots in water and uses fertilizer to feed them. Sprouting is basically hydroponic though we don't generally use fertilizer - though we are experimenting with liquid organic fertilizers at the present time.
When we refer to hydroponic Grass or Greens, we are speaking about the complete lack of a medium. We don't care for that method - though we've tried it and wish we liked it as it would simplify our lives as commercial sprout growers. Somewhere in between hydroponics and soil is a soilless medium. We are also experimenting with that presently for large Greens and Grass. We already use it for small crops of Micro-Greens and tests so far are very positive. We will offer such a medium and organic fertilizers) if and when we are completely satisfied that the method works well.
A large family often called the "Pea Family", which is the home of many a sprouting seed: Alfalfa, Clover, Lentils, Peas, Garbanzo, Mung, Adzuki, Black, Pinto, Soy and many other Beans, Fenugreek.
That which allows sprouts leaves to turn green. It takes very little light to green sprouts. Sprouts can't take light in until they have leaves, and until they have leaves, light has virtually no effect - so don't hide your sprouts in the dark! Let 'em breathe! Direct sunlight is not advisable as it can cook your sprouts - especially if you're growing in a closed sprouter. See the seed and sprouter instruction pages for details.
As in SEED LOT. Seeds are harvested at a farm, cleaned, inspected, tested, bagged and shipped. Each crop in each year from each farm is given a lot number to identify it.
That upon which we plant our seeds when we intend to produce plants like Grass, Greens and Micro-Greens. Normally we use soil (we used many tons of sterile bagged soil to produce our non-sprout crops when we were professional growers, from 1993-2003), but anything that holds water can be considered a medium. The lowest example of a medium is paper towel, but a good medium is something that holds water longer, and is of course, organic. We now offer multiple soilless mediums along with an organic liquid fertilizer. Both Baby Blanket and Vermiculite offer a cleaner medium for planting, and with the addition of Kelp Fertilizer, you can now produce great crops with much less mess.
Any of various flowering plants, such as grasses, having a single cotyledon in the seed.
1. Resembling mucilage; moist and sticky. 2. Relating to or secreting mucilage. In sprouting: A seed which has a hull that when water is contacted, absorbs that water and turns into a "gel-sack". Usually slippery, these seeds can NOT grow by traditional water-only sprouting methods. They may be grown if mixed with an appropriate percentage of non-mucilaginous seeds (French Garden, Italian Blend, Nick's Hot Sprout Salad). To grow them alone they must be planted on a growing medium and harvested as Greens (Micro-Greens).
Mucilaginous seeds include: Arugula, Basil, Chia, Cress, Flax, Mizuna and (some) Mustards (not ours).
Another name for Hulless. Most commonly used when referring to Hulless Pumpkin seeds.
Non-hybrid plants/seeds produced by crossing two parents from the same variety, which in turn produce offspring just like the parent plants/seeds.
An agent that causes disease, especially a living microorganism such as a bacterium (such as salmonella).
The process in green plants and certain other organisms by which carbohydrates are synthesized from carbon dioxide and water using light as an energy source. Most forms of photosynthesis release oxygen as a by product.
Bits of plant that can be present in some sprouting seeds. They can be removed easily as they tend to float in water. There is nothing dangerous about plant matter - it just didn't get cleaned out completely during the lavish cleaning process that the seeds go through.
Sprouting a seed that is intended for planting as a Green, Grass and some Micro-Greens. Sprouting before planting is absolutely essential to a good crop, except in the case of Micro-Greens, which are usually small seeds. The whole point to sprouting is to keep the seeds moist so they can grow - not too wet, not too dry. If you plant dry seeds they must soak up water from the medium they are on or in - if you sprout the seeds before planting they will have easily soaked up all they need and will be alive and growing - they'll bury their roots in the growing medium within a day or two and your concentration moves from keeping the seeds moist, to the easier, keeping the planting medium moist. Pre-sprouting is so helpful that we do it with many of our garden crops as well! At least Soak the bigger seeds like beans and grains before planting in spring and keep the soil moist - you'll see shoots at a MUCH greater rate and MUCH more quickly! There is no good reason not to do it! Follow the instructions on the detail page of the seed you are growing - it's all there.
The process we employ to keep our growing sprouts properly moist at all times. Learn ALL about Rinsing.
Any of various other underground plant parts, especially an underground stem such as a rhizome, corm, or tuber. The tail that grows from a seed is the first root. It isn't underground when we grow it as a sprout.
A thin hairlike outgrowth of an epidermal cell of a plant root that absorbs water and minerals from the soil. These microscopic roots are often mistaken for mold by new sprouters. If you take a magnifying glass you can see them for what they are. Root Hairs are usually only visible when the sprout is at it's driest - just before Rinsing. The Rinse will push them back against the main root. Root Hairs are generally only visible on certain sprouts; Brassicas (Broccoli, Radish, Mustard, etc.) and Grains (Oats, Barley, Rye, Wheat, etc.). If you missed this, there's a note at the top of the page regarding Root Hairs.
To slit or soften the outer coat of (seeds) in order to speed germination. Scarification is most common with Alfalfa and Clover but very rare with all other sprouting seeds. Traditional scarification is no longer tolerated by discerning seed suppliers as the scratching or slitting of the outer coat allows access by bacteria, such as salmonella. Though scratch scarification is still the most common in the processing of conventional (non-organic) seed, us Sproutpeople only buy seeds which have been "polished". Polish scarification basically sands the seed coat down (that's why their is sometimes a lot to rinse off of your Clover and Alfalfa), maintaining the integrity of the seed.
For most seeds it is acceptable to store them at room temperature, in a dark, dry place. It is preferable to store them at lower temperatures, but low humidity and lack of light are more important. There are some seeds which have a very short shelf life (their germination rate decreases rapidly) and so require colder storage - most notably Alliums: Garlic, Leek and Onion. We freeze Alliums, thus extending their shelf life from 1 year (room temperature) to 5 or more. All seeds can benefit from freezing but it is not necessary to take up the space since they will germinate at a high rate if stored in the traditional way. The one consideration to take into account when freezing seeds is condensation. When you wish to sprout a seed which has been stored in the freezer, remove the amount you will be sprouting and return the rest to storage as soon as possible. If the seeds are left out, the temperature change will create condensation, which can cause your seeds to sprout. If you get them back to the freezer within several minutes they'll be fine. We have a page which list all of our seed's shelf lives.
The process that begins life for most sprouts - transforming the dormant seed into a living thing. See the Soak page.
A seed that never produces a root (sprout) though it has been Soaked, Rinsed and Drained. Any seed that has soaked up water has broken it's dormancy and begun life and is therefore, one amazingly powerful food, so eat 'em up, sprout or not! Almonds are the best example of a seed which results in a "Soak" instead of a Sprout. Pumpkin, Sunflower and Peanuts are also Soaks. See also; Sprout.
(Noun) A sprout is the seed and it's root (if applicable. See SOAKS directly above.) and at times the plant that is growing at the same time (as with Lentils, Peas and Garbanzos if let grow long enough). Eat the whole thing!
We use the word sprout (as a Verb) interchangeably with germinate. We supply seeds for sprouting. I just want to clear the meaning of this verb up a bit. When you get seeds from us they are dormant. When you soak them they come to life and so become the nutritional powerhouses we desire. The fine point here is the root. Many people think that "it isn't a sprout until it has a tail". That just isn't true. Some seeds will never produce a root and be desirable. Seeds like Almond, Pumpkin, Sunflower (hulled), Peanuts and some others are better tasting and their texture is better before they show a root. We refer to these rootless sprouts as SOAKS. Some people even prefer Alfalfa like that - or with only a tiny tail. It is all personal preference - the only truth is this: Eat More Sprouts! The thing to remember is that once the seed has had its fill of water (Soaking) it is alive. Continuing to grow it is a matter of preference only - it is already a nutritional dynamo.
To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms. We mammals are dependent on bacteria - without them we would be unable to survive our environment!. There are bad bacteria however, so we sterilize our sprouting equipment (NOT our seeds!) to provide a sterile environment for our sprouts to grow and thus produce a perfect population of beneficial bacteria. Read about Cleaning your Sprouters.
An antioxidant known to have cancer preventative properties. Sulfurophane is found in many Brassicas and is substantially higher in their sprouts (as opposed to the mature plant). The highest concentrations of Sulfurophane are found in Broccoli and Arugula.
A relationship of mutual benefit or dependence.
a system for naming and organizing things, especially plants and animals, into groups which share similar qualities. In plants taxonomy is broken down like this: Family - Genus - Species - Cultivar. An example is (our) Broccoli which is:
Cultivar: Green Sprouting Calabrese
See Sproutpeople's Seed Taxonomy Chart
The leaves that appear after the Cotyledon or Seed leaves.
We use tap water in all aspects of sprout growing, but you can also use distilled, filtered, spring, well, etc.
When we were new to being Sproutpeople, we grew our crops using well water, from our own well, which was over 300 feet deep. That was great water!
The manure produced by worms (usually red worms) as they take in and digest composting matter. Very high in nitrogen, which is helpful to certain Greens - primarily Sunflower - but which can "burn" your plants if used in too high a concentration. Do not exceed 25% in any soil mix!