Growing Barley Grass

Growing Barley Grass

Seed Storage

Grain is best stored in a cool location - at home, we keep ours in a freezer. There is no need to thaw your seed before Soaking.

Planting Density

The more densely you plant the seed the less air circulates around the individual blades of Grass.  This can cause some fungal growth - we call it “fuzzies”. This is not a problem, except that it is unattractive. If you are consuming this as juice - just rinse it off when you  harvest the Grass. If you hate it - increase air flow by planting less seed. Additionally, you may move your  Grass to a better ventilated area. In summer we grow our Grass outside (from the point when we uncover the tray) for optimal  air circulation.

Planting Medium

We grew Grass - on soil - in Trays, for over 20 years. But, we now have alternatives: Soilless mediums - Coconut Coir - our all-time favorite - and Baby Blanket - a thin organic material that you soak before planting upon. Baby Blanket holds moisture well and when used with organic liquid Kelp Fertilizer, is the cleanest (least messy) way to grow strong crops. Coconut Coir is more like soil. It holds moisture phenomenally well and provides nutrients as needed to your growing crop.   Used in conjunction with Earthworm Castings it is the perfect medium!

You will notice in our Video - A Time Lapse: Wheatgrass Growing that we used only a piece of  Baby Blanket on a plate. So, obviously that too is possible. We don't have this method in our instructions, but if you want to do it -  all you need to do - in addition to following the rest of our instructions - is to water FREQUENTLY. I pumped a Spray Bottle thousands of times over the course of  that time-lapse @:-)

Soil Notes

Virtually any soil will do for Grass. We used sterile bagged soil (usually composted cow manure) when we were professional growers, but any sterile bagged soil will do.  You can find some at your local garden center. You can use expensive soil if you prefer - it is your choice - always. Of course Organic is best, but it is usually quite costly.

The amount of soil you use is up to you. The reality is this: As your plants grow they need more and more water. They get their water from the soil. The more soil you use - the more water it can  hold = the less frequently you need to water.

Hydroponic Grass

We do not grow hydroponic Grass - we've tried but have never gotten the yields we get with soil.  Now that we have a soilless alternatives like Coconut Coir and Baby Blanket we are even less interested in hydroponic Grass growing, but there is a theoretical plus to growing Grass without a medium - you can juice the entire crop - grains, roots and grass, so if you want to try - go for it! Go to Val at Go Green/Green Smoothie - she is the meister of hydroponic Grass. Tell her us Sproutpeople sent you!

Tray Notes

Your Planting Tray (the one with the medium in it) MUST have drainage holes or slits! Nothing will grow well in a medium that can not drain - that condition is commonly called "flooded". We do use the Drip Tray to hold some water at times in the growing process. (see instructions - in the Growing Instructions tab).

As I've said elsewhere on the site, we hate dogma, so take my dogma with a grain of salt.  You can grow in trays without drainage (the amazing people at the Hippocrates Health Institute have long done so), but you do have to be  able to drain excess water away. Tipping is a possibility, but we think it risky - especially for the novice grower, hence my dogma.

Going for "Split Blades"

There are some who maintain that Grass doesn't reach its full nutritional value until its blades "split" - or a second blade grows. It is pretty difficult to grow  Grass this big in a small container. It usually wilts before it can do this, but it is possible. Just keep your crop moist and examine the blades of  Grass - from day 8 on - to see if they are "splitting". It happens low on the blade - within the first inch or so above the  medium. Harvest as soon as you see the split.

As always, we think it is most essential that you enjoy what you grow. The more you like what you grow, the more you'll want to consume it. Whenever you consume it -  it will have a whole lot of nutritional value. If you prefer it younger (we do), stop and harvest according to our instructions. If you want to grow it more, go for it. It's all great!

If you are going for this, we advise that you plant on mix of 75% Coconut Coir enriched with 25% Earthworm Castings, which adds a lot of nitrogen for the  Grass to draw upon. Nitrogen is the nutrient a plant needs to put on green growth.

Re-Growing Your Crop

Grass can produce a 2nd and even 3rd crop - so you may continue to water after you cut your first crop.  The 2nd and (more so) the 3rd crop will not be as tender, nor usually as tall, but it is good to try growing at least a 2nd crop. Decide for yourself if it is worth it!  Coconut Coir is the best medium, as far as water retention is concerned -  if you want to go for multiple cuttings, but Coir or soil enriched with Earthworm Castings is perhaps a better choice as it gives the Grass  nutrients to draw upon. Whatever you use, it's worth a try if only for the experience.

Re-Using your Medium

Do NOT try to re-use your Growing Medium.   You just need to start over when you plant a new crop.  We have a short Video on the subject =:-)

Dry Barley awaits Soaking.

12 hours later... Soaked, Rinsed and Drained.

12 - 24 hours later... another Rinse/Drain cycle or two. If you see the roots beginning to emerge, it's time to plant.

We planted our barely sprouted Barley atop the thoroughly moistened medium of our choosing, then watered it and covered it. Now - 24 hours later you can see serious growth and Root Hairs too.

24 hours later....

24 hours later....

24 hours later....

24 hours later....

24 hours later....

24 hours later....

24 hours later....

24 hours later....

24 hours later....

Harvest Time.

Family: Gramineae/Poaceae
Genus: Hordeum
Species: sativa
Cultivar: Unnamed