How to grow your own sprouts.

One of the commonest questions with regards to sprouting is ‘How do I grow my own sprouts?’ The answer to this question is ‘Easily!’ Yes it is a welcoming fact that growing your own sprouts does not require great knowledge of gardening, soils, plant varieties etc. You do not need expensive equipment to grow your own sprouts (although there are many sprouter products available which will make it even easier for you). You do not need to wait anywhere near the amount of time it takes to grow an average vegetable crop to grow, harvest and eat your own sprouts.

Why you should grow your own sprouts
By growing your own sprouts you will save yourself money as it is a lot cheaper to buy the sprout seeds, grow and harvest the sprouts rather than buying your sprouts from a shop. Growing your own sprouts also lets you enjoy sprouts when they are at their absolute freshest and tastiest as they can be taken from their growing container and be eaten straight after rinsing. Because home grown spouts are fresher they contain higher levels of nutrients. By growing your own sprouts you can control which varieties of sprout you add to your diet, the range of sprout varieties that can be bought in a shop are often very limited.

What you will need to grow your own sprouts
You will need some sprout seeds to grow your own sprouts, these can be obtained from all good health food stores and also from many online retailers. Try to choose organic, non GM seeds. You can buy seed ‘assortments’ with a number of seed varieties or individual varieties. You will also need a supply of fresh water with which you will need to rinse your sprouts with each day. You will need a space to place your sprouting container(s) which receives daylight but is not in direct sunlight. You will also need a sprouter / sprouting jar / sprouting container. For more information on types of sprouter see the Happy Juicer sprouter guide.

Process for growing sprouts
This is the basic process for growing your own sprouts. Please refer to the sprouting times schedule table at the bottom of the page for more specific times for the different sprout varieties.

  1. Soak your seeds for time period that is correct for your chosen sprout type.
  2. Drain the seeds, rinse and drain again. Transfer to sprouting container (distribute evenly across sprouting container).
  3. Cover the sprouting container (with container lid / clingfilm etc) to prevent the sprouts from drying out.
  4. For the specified number of days (see sprouting schedule table) rinse and drain the sprouts every morning and every evening to prevent the formation of mould.
  5. After the specified number of days your sprouts are ready for ‘harvesting’. Rinse the sprouts with fresh water and transfer to a bowl. Eat immediately for full nutritional content or store in the fridge for up to a few days (rinse every 24 hours).

Sprouting and mould formation
Some people encounter a problem when growing their own sprouts and that is the formation of mould on the sprouts. Be careful not to confuse the very fine white hairs that form at the root of the sprouts with mould. These white hairs are perfectly normal and are no reason to abandon your sprout crop. If you do however encounter mould in a batch of sprouts then you should immediately throw the sprouts away, thoroughly wash your sprouting container and also rinse it down with vinegar as this helps to protect against mould.

Mould formation occurs because of one of the following reasons:

  • Sprouting environment is too wet
  • Sprouting environment is too hot
  • Sprouts haven’t been rinsed frequently enough

A good environment for seed germination is one that is:

  • Neither too hot or too cold
  • Neither too wet or too dry
  • Neither too bright or too dark

Adding a few radish seeds to your sprouting environment can help in the prevention of mould formation. Also make sure that the utensils you use when rinsing and spreading your seeds are clean (as well as your hands).

Try and avoid the room temperature being much in excess of 22 deg C.

Sprouting Schedule Table

Sprout Type Soaking Time Germination Time
Mung Bean 12 hours 4-5 days
Alfafa 4 hours 6-8 days
Radish 12 hours 4-5 days
Quinoa 2-4 hours 12 hours