Seeds are not just for the garden, and can be grown beyond spring and summer. You can enjoy a kitchen garden all year long—even if you live in Alaska! There are three different ways you can garden indoors: Nub-sprouting, regular sprouting, and planting seeds to harvest as micro-greens.

Here are the differences between the three, as well as basic instructions to get your kitchen garden started:

Nub-sprouting is just allowing the seed to barely make a tip. You can use nub-sprouts to make “Ezekiel bread,” thus named for the recipe found in Ezekiel 4:9. Nub-sprouting is very simple. Presoak the seeds for a few hours. Rinse well to remove the natural sprout inhibitor found on most seeds. Then place in a shallow pan with a small amount of water. Put the seeds just a few layers deep (so they can breathe). Cover with a cloth to keep the seeds from drying out. Usually within 24 hours the nubs will appear at the end of the seed.

Regular sprouts are also grown without dirt, but they are allowed to grow a few days until the plants are between one and three inches tall. These sprouts can be used as salad sprouts. To grow seeds to be eaten as salad sprouts you first need to soak them in water for a few hours and rinse them well. The seeds should then be placed in a shallow pan with a small amount of water. They should not “drown” in water, but they should not dry out, either. Cover with a cloth and set the pan in a dark, warm spot. Rinse the seeds daily. Within a day or so they will start to grow. Harvest as you need them or when their size suits you. Sprouts are best eaten fresh, but they can be stored in your refrigerator for about a week.

Micro-sprouting greens are seeds grown in a small amount of dirt until they are 5 or 6 inches tall. The tops are then harvested and allowed to re-grow to be harvested again and again until it is clear by the yellowish leaves that the nutrients of the soil are depleted. These greens can be used in salads, or they can be juiced. Generally, grass-type seeds are used for micro-planting. This includes seeds like barley or wheat. When they are grown, they look like grass. I use a large flat pan with about a 1/2 inch of good quality potting soil, although I have used regular garden dirt with successful results. The idea is to allow your plants to grow a few inches tall, then harvest the top few inches and allow the plant to continue to grow. You can obtain many harvests from one planting. Your grass does not need full sunlight; many people just leave their tray sitting in their kitchen.

Sprouts—particularly green leafy sprouts—are great to eat for everyday living. With less expense, you can get vitamin A, B, C, fiber, protein, and enzymes that aid digestion. In addition, sprouting destroys the seed’s natural preservative enzymes that inhibit digestion. Sprouting kits are now available in malls and supermarkets everywhere.

Leafy sprouts

  • Alfalfa
  • Clover
  • Radish
  • Fenugreek
  • Mustard

Bean sprouts

  • Adzuki bean
  • Garbanzo
  • Mung
  • Green pea
  • Speckled pea
  • Soy bean
  • Various types of lentils

Brassica sprout family includes

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Rutabaga
  • Mustard
  • Turnip

Sprouting kits are now available in malls and supermarkets around the country and probably around the world. Once you get sprouting and gardening, try saving your own seeds!

 

Methods

WITHOUT SOIL

  • Jar
  • Cloth
  • Sprout bag
  • Sprouting tray

WITH SOIL

  • Seedling tray
  • Greenhouse

 

Try some Ezekiel Bread!

Recipe (taken from the DVD, Homesteading for Beginners, Volume 3):

Place 1/2 cup each of these in a bowl: Millet, Beans, Lentils, Wheat, Spelt,  and Barley. Soak them 24-48 hours. Drain grains and seeds thoroughly. Use a food processor to grind the soaked beans/grain mix until it becomes like fine mash. Add one tablespoon baking powder, one tablespoon baking soda and one teaspoon salt (we used a bit more salt!). There are other recipes online to try. Experiment!

 

Dear NGJ,

…Seeds can be stored for years if they have been dried to a moisture level of 8% or less. I’m using silica gel for drying the seeds. The drying process requires a glass jar with an air-tight lid, and an equal weight of gel and seeds. The seeds are placed in paper envelopes, and the gel in a plastic cup inside the glass jar. After seven days the seeds are then vacuum-sealed in Seal-A-Meal plastic bags. Seeds stored using this technique will maintain their viability for up to ten times longer than normal germination rates.

Freezing does not hurt seeds that have been dried to an 8% moisture level, but if the seeds are not dry enough the moisture expands when frozen and ruptures the cell walls. In closing, even though the garden party is just about over, I’ve still got a lot more to do in preparing the beds for winter. I’m making a mulch sandwich by laying down straw (from the chicken coop) and then a layer of cow manure that has thousands of earthworms, followed by vegetable matter and another layer of straw.

—Bud