Growing Onion Sprouts

Growing Onion Sprouts

Seed Storage

Alliums have the shortest shelf life of any sprouting seed. Since they are also so painfully expensive we strongly suggest that you freeze your seed. The only concern is condensation. All you need to do to avoid condensation is to return the seed to the freezer within a few minutes - after you've removed what you need, to grow your current crop. Also, Keep them in any sealed container. A plastic bag is fine. Glass is better. You do not need to thaw the seeds - just go ahead and Soak.

Aroma and Alliums

Allium sprouts are all very aromatic. From early on they smell A LOT. Early in our career as professional sprout growers we grew our sprouts outside when the weather permitted, but in Wisconsin - where all our years as professional growers took place - that was not most of the year. We grew them inside the rest of the year. That first winter we were growing only about 10 trays of sprouts every week. The following year we were growing something like 50! We were doing this all in our 600 square foot log cabin. We had no running water and our electricity was solar with a generator back-up. Not having indoor plumbing was difficult - not only for the sprouts, but also for us and our infant son, Sam. But I digress.... The following summer we built an addition to our cabin. It featured a sprout growing room and office - all of which measured about 250 sq. ft., and a bedroom for the 3 of us, directly above. We still didn't have running water, but we came up with a much more workable solution than we had had before, and we added more solar panels. The reason I started this story though, was not to talk history, but to say that, this was the first winter we grew straight Alliums. The smell was so intense that we stopped growing them. We couldn't stand living with the aroma of sprouting onion seed in our bedroom! Our addition was very open, so the smell had easy access. Though growing a small crop will not be anything near as intense as what we were growing - we want you to know about this. It will still be noticeable - and possibly unpleasing - especially for those with a heightened sense of smell.

Sprouting Notes

Remember, Alliums are very slow to sprout, and too grow. Be patient. Keep Rinsing and Draining thoroughly. When conditions are warmer your sprouts will likely grow faster. Likewise they may grow slower if conditions are very cool. As always 70° is optimal. Depending on your Sprouter, not all of your sprouts will have access to light and so some will not green. This is not only OK - it is good. The yellow sprouts will be equally nutritious (they have everything but chlorophyll) and many think them more delicious (in Europe it is not uncommon to see vegetables grown "blanched" by avoiding light). We think they are prettier when there is a mix of green and yellow. So don't sweat it - just eat more sprouts!

You can help your crop by "breaking up" your sprouts when they clump up - around day 5-10 (depending on how quickly they are germinating) and daily thereafter. We use high water pressure when Rinsing to keep our sprouts loose, but this only works for so long - so - when water isn't enough, break the clump of sprouts up using a fork, or your fingers (wash your hands first please). If you are using a Sprouter that can hold water, fill it mostly full - then use a fork to loosen the mass of sprouts. You can also dump your sprouts onto or into something and just shake them apart. This is by no means mandatory - this loosening - but it can help more of them green. Don't ever be afraid*** of touching your sprouts. They are much stronger then they appear - just be reasonably gentle. *** The only thing to fear is fear itself!

Dry Onion Seeds await their Soak.

12 hours later... Soaked, Rinsed and Drained. The following pictures are 24 hours apart. Rinse and Drain thoroughly every 8-12 hours. Your crop will be done in about 2 weeks.

Harvest Time!

Family: Amaryllidaceae
Genus: Allium
Species: cepa
Cultivar: Unnamed