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Author Topic: SEEDS...  (Read 56899 times)

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #255 on: January 26, 2020, 04:41:56 PM »
Absolutely.

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #256 on: February 10, 2020, 06:13:51 PM »
Seeds for sprouting microgreens, with the brassicas missing:

(please click to enlarge)



R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #257 on: February 27, 2020, 06:29:41 AM »
Am having good luck so far with sprouting seeds indoors for micro-greens using the following method:

1.  Initial equipment investment:

*4 Pyrex 2-quart rectangular glass dishes
with heavy glass lids (about the size of a sheet of paper) -
or the equivalent yard-sale / thrift shop finds


*2 round clamp-on grow lights or one long one

*1-quart saucepan for measuring out soil or compost (most of us already have one on-hand)

*large mixing bowl (already on-hand)

*bag of potting soil or your own sifted compost

2. Line glass dishes up on or near a sunny window ledge for rotating the harvest (or wherever you have room)

3. Add 1 qt. potting soil to bottom of each, or enough to cover the bottom 1" deep

4. Dampen with enough water to make soil moist but not soggy (this will be the only watering, so it needs to be fairly even)

5. Scoop out 4 c black oil sunflower seeds from the poultry feed storage bin (always on hand here)

6. Soak seeds for one hour in very warm water in the mixing bowl

7. Spread one cup of seeds evenly over the top of the soil of each tray and pat them into the soil

8. Clamp grow lights over the trays and turn them on even if in a sunny window, as modern energy-efficient window glass may restrict part of the ultra-violet and infra-red spectrum needed by the plants, and we want the sprouts to grow vertically rather than to one side.  LED grow lights cost barely any $ in energy burned and last for months.  They can be turned off at night to mimic the natural diurnal cycle.

I used a cup hook on the right side of this cupboard to tidy the electrical cords out of the way, after threading the left-hand grow-light cord through the clamp on the right.


9. Sprouts should break open within 24 hours

10. Keep lids on trays to retain humidity, thus preventing the need to water the sprouts again and risk damp-off disease.  If mold becomes a problem, the lids can be slightly offset allowing air to circulate.

11. Heavy glass lids also prevent pets from digging in the sprouts or eating them, though pets should also have access to their own greens.

12. The stated harvest time is 10-14 days, or however long it takes to get 2" of growth and the first set of "true leaves," meaning not the initial pair of leaves from the seed.

13. Sprouts are 2" tall already in less than 5 days from the time they were sown, and the trays are very full, but these are not the "true leaves" yet.  The grow lights were only on during daytime, rather than 'round the clock, so I think it was the pre-soaking that gave these the edge:


14. I plan to divide the first tray into 4 servings this weekend, so that everyone in the family has a portion for salad.  Harvesting is done with scissors.  Will stagger harvesting the remainder so that they will be succession-planted rather than sown all at once.

15. Trays should be aired out for a bit before being re-sown to prevent mold concentration.  They can also be emptied, scrubbed and given fresh soil once in a while.  May want to sift the soil in a colander before re-planting, to separate out old seed casings.  These can be composted.

Please share your own methods!

« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 12:46:22 PM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #258 on: February 27, 2020, 04:53:13 PM »
Your sunflower seeds must be really fresh.  What brand do you buy?  Looks like an efficient operation for constant supply of greens.  Think of all the minerals you're getting.

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #259 on: February 28, 2020, 07:44:26 AM »
Thanks Ilinda!  We mostly use Pennington, but they are shipped from facilities in Oregon and Georgia, so am thinking it may be wise to diversify and use local resources. 

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #260 on: February 28, 2020, 09:08:56 AM »
Our black oil sunflower seeds are Wild Wings brand, packaged in TN, but not sure if grown there.  If we get some sprouted, will be good to see if ours sprout as quickly as yours.

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #261 on: March 01, 2020, 05:12:00 AM »
The sunflower sprouts turn out to be sturdy enough for much more than salad greens.  They stand up well to sautee'ing and stir frying as well.  Will experiment with other types of sprouts later as the garden begins producing seed heads.  Am trying not to purchase sprouting seeds other than what we normally have on hand for livestock or in the garden, to keep the system as sustainable as possible.

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #262 on: March 01, 2020, 06:52:13 PM »
It's planting time in the Northern Hemisphere at various locations, whether directly outdoors, or indoors in pots, so today I dug the parsnip bedfor tomorrow's planting, and then planted coriander seed for cilantro, as well as red celery in pots.   The green "Ventura" celery came up quickly a few weeks ago, so hopefully the red will also.  It will be transplanted outdoors in approximately May.   It's that time, gardeners, so let's get busy.....

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #263 on: March 02, 2020, 05:31:30 AM »
Thanks Ilinda!

I planted dill indoors a couple of weeks ago, and am sowing carrots and planting more asparagus crowns this week. 

Hope you'll keep us posted all season as to your garden :)

« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 05:47:05 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #264 on: March 02, 2020, 05:32:16 AM »
Those in the North may benefit from cold frames and cloches if seeding directly outdoors this early.  Here is a $1 item that can be used as a garden cloche (minus the bottom) until seedlings are several inches tall, which will raise the temperature around them by a few degrees above the actual outside temp and protect them from washing away in heavy rains, as well as preventing insect/animal damage and frost kill.  Remember, it's often not cold that kills plants, but frost crystal damage to leaves:


Note that these probably won't offer enough warmth to plant sub-tropicals such as tomatoes and peppers this early, but may be fine for many other crops.

They fit perfectly inside of the rot-proof washed / recycled tire garden that Solani inspired me to start, which will permit easy rotation of vegie crops to prevent disease build-up in the soil.  The boys spent the winter amassing 20 free tires for me from our mechanic, which they placed on heavy black porous ag landscape cover in a location that needed weed suppression, so it's a win-win.  The tires should outlast cedar timbers, railroad ties, and even all but expensive galvanized metal, and if they break down at all in this damp climate, should leach some useful zinc into the soil.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 07:05:12 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #265 on: March 02, 2020, 02:38:28 PM »
Those "cloche-things" from Dollar Store are somewhat what I've been looking for for years, literally.

 Years ago I saw a picture of antique gardens in ?France? in which women wearing long skirts with fancy-like blouses ( 1800's or early 1900"s?) and these women were in a garden setting and tending to what appeared to be hundreds of large, glass, bell-shaped cloche/dome things, each one covering one plant.  It looked very efficient for getting seeds started and then the seedlings established a bit, as the glass covers were taller than our modern-day gallon vinegar or milk jugs.

It gave me the idea of gathering 1-gallon glass jugs and cutting off the bottoms (quite a chore that would be), but could never find an effecient and effective way to cut the bottom from the bottle.  There are those little glass cutters that are supposed to do the trick, but not sure if they actually work well and how many glass jugs are lost to accidental breakage!

What you have posted from Dollar Tree does look useful though and maybe they could be made a bit warmer inside by including a soda bottle full of water under there, maybe lying of its side? 

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #266 on: March 03, 2020, 06:55:35 AM »
I never would have thought to include a bottle of water inside - good thinking!

I love the old bell-shaped glass cloches.  They're still available, but relatively pricey if you need a lot of them. 

« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 07:17:08 AM by R.R. Book »

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #267 on: March 13, 2020, 10:20:22 AM »
Just a quick follow-up to the sprouting posts:

I did find that once the first batch of sunflower sprouts was harvested, enough seeds were still starting to sprout that a second harvest was possible without additional work.  However, after the 2nd batch, a dense mat of roots remained in the soil, and it was easier to add the old mats to the compost heap in the henyard than to try to sow new seeds in them.  The hens loved them, and quickly scratched the mats into fluffy compost.

For $2, I got a 20 quart bag of potting soil, enough soil to refresh all four trays 5 times.  That amounts to 10 cents per tray.  If each tray is allowed to sprout twice from the initial 1C seeds in each one, I can make the $2 bag last 10 weeks for all 4 trays.  So the annual cost, outside of on-hand materials (including feed seeds), is just $10.  The volume of each tray above the suggested 1" (1 quart) soil line is one quart of sprouts  x two harvests per dime of soil, for a total of a half-gallon of sprouts per dime, or 5 cents per tray per harvest.  Once the air is compressed out of the pile of harvested sprouts, they amount to about half that volume, so one quart edible sprouts from 2 harvests out of 1C seeds. 

If adding-in the cost of the on-hand feed seeds, we'd multiply a $10 20# bag by 6 cups per pound to arrive at 120 cups per $10, or around 8 cents ($.08) per cup.  Divided by two harvests per tray, that's 4 cents ($.04) each.  One cup of seeds provides two harvests totalling one quart once condensed, as already noted.  Combined with the cost of soil, that's 9 cents ($.09) per tray per harvest.  Not sure what the electricity from the LED grow-lights costs, but the bulbs themselves are negligible and long-lasting.

Anyway, that's pretty cheap for fresh produce that's grown without chemicals, and always on hand year-'round no matter what the weather is doing! 

« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 11:17:51 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #268 on: March 13, 2020, 08:03:57 PM »
Quote
That sounds efficient and once you have done the cycle a few times, it is probably an easy routine.  (Just reading it for the first time though was a little disconcerting.)  The bigger picture though is that having year-round greens is one of the most important things a human can do, because we need greens every single day!

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #269 on: April 05, 2020, 06:14:49 AM »
Returning to the topic of sprouts and micro-greens for a moment, here are a couple of tricks to prevent mold while your sprouts are growing:

1. If not using a perforated lid or dome over trays, then lid should be turned side-ways or askance for air circulation.  Air moved even better when I turned my solid glass lids sideways across the trays, as there was an opening on both sides of it. This still permits a partial covering in case pets become curious.

2. Replace soil, etc. with a 1" deep layer of finely shredded cedar mulch and add slightly more water to moisten it thoroughly.  Rather than following the "water once" rule, it might help to moisten the mulch slightly every other day or so, as it's quite absorbent.

3. Harvest sooner rather than later.  :)
« Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 03:45:30 PM by R.R. Book »

 

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