A sprouting guide can be a very helpful resource for those of you just learning how to grow sprouts at home. This is a listing of specific seed varieties along with the exact measurements required for creating sprouts using either jars, bags, mats, sprouters or trays.
One of the best parts about sprouting is that it generally takes a very small amount of seeds to grow a relatively large amount of sprouts. The yield of course varies depending on the sprouting method and seed type. Some seeds are limited to the containers they are grown in, while others are unconstrained, growing tall and vertical.
Sprouting seeds for homemade sprouts is an inexpensive and simple way to grow your own food and doesn't require a large outdoor or indoor space. All sprouts listed below can be grown indoors on a kitchen counter-top or table. We have even grown jar sprouts on the dash of our vehicle when traveling. Most thrive in climates above 65-70° F (18-21° C) and only require a little bit of attention once or twice a day for rinsing or watering.
Sprouts can be grown any number of ways. The three most basic techniques utilize either a glass jar with a mesh lid, a mat (also called a "blanket") or a sprouting bag. The next, slightly more advanced method is using a sprouting tray or a "sprouter." These are trays specifically designed for growing sprouts with holes on the bottom for soaking and draining the water when rinsing.
The other way to grow sprouts, especially the tall leafier versions or microgreens is to use a tray with either a soil medium, coconut coir or vermiculite. The latter two are soil-less mediums that can be used along with a liquid nutrient solution.
We strongly advise that you always purchase non-bleached, organically grown non-GMO seeds for sprouting purposes. Although they are sometimes slightly more price-wise, they are the only seeds we ever recommend using for growing sprouts.
All sprout seeds are not created equal. Some of the conventionally cultivated plants they are sourced from are grown in livestock manure, which can contaminate the seed and transfer harmful pathogenic organisms onto the sprouts.
According to the Organic Farming Research Foundation, "Organic standards set strict guidelines on manure use in organic farming: either it must be first composted, or it must be applied at least 90 days before harvest, which allows ample time for microbial breakdown of pathogens." (Source)
For more information on this subject see our Sprouts and Food Safety Controversy below.
It is best, if you decide to become an avid sprout grower, to purchase your seeds in 1lb bag quantities. This is far more cost effective than buying seeds from bulk bins at your local health food store or buying tiny seed packets. Pound bags are usually more fresh and viable.
Sprout seeds should be stored in airtight glass jars or containers once the bag is opened and will usually last a few years when stored in a dark, cool dry environment.
(Visit our Super Sprout Store for our recommended seed and sprouting supplies.)
(Visit our page on alfalfa sprouts.)
(Visit our page on broccoli sprouts.)
(Visit our page on fenugreek.)
(Visit our on mung bean sprouts.)
(Visit our page on onion sprouts.)
(Visit our page on pea shoots.)
(Visit our page on how to grow sunflower sprouts for more information.)
(Learn more about quinoa on our quinoa page.)
Seeds: 1C wheatberries (per quart jar)
Soaking time: 12 hours
Temperature: 68-85° F (20-29° C)
Sprouting time: 1-3 days
(Visit our page on wheatgrass.)
Sprouts have received a lot of thumbs down by the FDA as far as
their safety for human consumption. This started way back in mid to late
1990's when the FDA issued a warning to the general public not to consume
raw sprouts because of reported contamination of pathogenic bacteria, chiefly
Salmonella and Escherichia coli.
When a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections occurred in the United States in June and July 1997 from the consumption of alfalfa sprouts, it was soon discovered that the actual seeds themselves were the source of contamination. All of these seeds were "traced back to one common lot harvested in Idaho." (Source)
Salmonella and E. coli are pathogenic strains of bacterium that are
mainly transferred to foods through small particles of fecal matter
that usually come from domesticated livestock.
Many small scale organic sprout growers lobbied together during these outbreaks, disputing
that these pathogens infected non-organic conventionally grown seeds
that were using cow-based manure directly on their food crops. To grow food organically, all manure used must be either applied 90 days before harvest or must first
be composted. Compost produces high temperatures that
sterilize and kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. (Source)
Some argue that sprouts grown from organic seeds have never been associated with food borne illness and that it is exclusively non-organic conventional large scale sprout seed growers, who use manure on their plants producing the seeds, that are responsible for pathogenic contamination.
The FDA began to advise a seed disinfection treatment using bleach, a known carcinogen which also makes the seed less viable for sprouting. Today, most high quality sprouting seeds that are certified organic are not bleached but tested for pathogens before the sprouting process, just as a precautionary measure to ensure public safety.
From our own personal experience growing and consuming sprouts for over 25 years, we have never once experienced any type of food poisoning or even minor digestive upset, diarrhea or intestinal cramping. We always use high quality organic sprouting seeds and do not use any kind of manure to grow microgreens or other tray sprouts that require a soil medium.
Use this link to buy the best quality seeds at some of the lowest prices available. These seeds are quality tested for germination rate, purity and pathogens. To ensure freshness and viability, we always buy seeds in 1 pound sealed bags.
Bags of seed are easy to store, don't take up much space, are an excellent survival food, next to wild edible greens, and can supply pounds of fresh living produce for pennies on the dollar.