Grow an indoor mini-garden with sprout seeds

As the month of February is winding down, I’m starting to look forward to spring, warm weather and fresh produce from my garden. I start to really miss gardening this time of year but I’ve recently discovered an easy way to get fresh tasty vegetables into my diet, even in the middle of winter.

What’s the secret? Sprouts!

Close-up of newly sprouted seeds

Newly sprouted seeds

Ok, maybe that’s not a mind-blowing epiphany. I’ve grown sprouts for years using a simple mason jar. They’re delicious and packed with nutrients . I love them on salads, in sandwiches and in my green smoothies. But, my very small house doesn’t have room for more than one jar of sprouts at any given time. Plus, there’s usually a 4 to 5 day wait between crops.

As I was looking for alternatives to using a jar, I ran across the concept of using a multi-tray system that lets you stack 4 trays of growing sprouts on top of one another. Each tray has drainage holes to making watering the sprouts easy. Growing vertically helps make the most of small spaces and using 4 trays at the same time increases your yield.

Growing sprouts indoors couldn’t be easier, even for the green-thumb challenged. First, soak your sprout seeds for several hours.  This helps them draw in water and activates the growing process.

Once they’ve soaked, rinse them a few times with clean water. I use the trays for this since they have drainage holes. Spread the seeds in the trays, then stack your trays on top of the catch basin. Water them at least twice a day. Each time you water, move the bottom tray to the top so that each tray gets a chance to be watered first.

3 trays of a multi-tray sprouted with 3 varieties of sprouts in different stages of growth

3 trays of sprouts at different stages of growth

In 4 to 5 days, the sprouts are ready to harvest! If you’d like them to green up a bit, place them near a bright window that gets indirect sunlight for a day. (Direct sunlight can burn them.)

Close-up of broccoli sprouts in a seed sprouting tray

Fresh broccoli sprouts taste like radishes

You can de-hull the sprouts or, if you don’t mind the slightly bitter flavor, you can leave the hauls on. To de-haul, fill a bowl with water then place sprouts in the bowl and start to break apart the clumps. The hulls will either fall to the bottom of the bowl or float on top of the water (in my experience, it depends on the variety of seeds). If they fall to the bottom, you can skim your spouts out of the water. If they float, skim the hulls and discard them, then remove the sprouts from the water.

Whether you choose to de-hull them or not, use cool clean water to thoroughly rinse them. Dry them well with a few paper towels and eat them right away (I usually can’t wait) or store them in the refrigerator. My trays came with a lid so I can store my sprouts right in the tray.

The beauty of this system is you can either start 4 crops of spouts at one time or you can stagger the start date and have a continuous supply.

I’m currently using the Victorio 4 tray sprouter and I love it for it’s a small footprint. It takes up almost no space!

Growing sprouts has given me a fun, easy way to satisfy my love of watching things grow this winter. And as a bonus, I’m eating more healthy salads so I can use up all the sprouts I’m growing. I’ve grown broccoli, alfalfa, mung bean, red & green lentils, and I’m currently soaking a mix of adzuki, gamut and fenugreek seeds.

Have you tried growing your own sprouts? What are your favorite varieties?

P.S. The opinions in this post are completely my own. Victorio has not compensated me in any way to talk about their product.