How and Why You Should Grow Your Own Invigorating Food
Guest Writer: Lucy Wyndham
Superfoods are vitamin and antioxidant powerhouses in the form of greens such as kale, seeds and nuts, fruits, and berries. They should be one of the main components of a healthy diet to reduce the risk of disease, potentially increase your lifespan, and boost your metabolism. Not only are the fruits of these plants nutritious, but the sprouts of many are, as well. You can also grow sprouts in even the smallest homes throughout cold-weather months. Better yet, it’s cheap to do.
The Basics of Sprouting Your Seeds
Even if you think you kill every plant you set eyes on, it’s easier than you think to sprout your seeds and grow them into beautiful food-bearing plants. Depending on the seeds you want to cultivate, there are a couple of methods to begin.
One option is to germinate seeds with a damp paper towel before planting them. This process enables you to see which seed are viable and sprout several of them in a small area. To germinate seeds with this method, pick a sturdy paper towel or coffee filter. Place the seeds on the freshly dampened towel or coffee filter and slide them carefully into a sandwich bag. Do not seal the baggie airtight. Then place it in a warm area, around 65 to 75 degrees. Once the beans sprout and grow the first signs of small leaf-sprouts, move them carefully to the soil.
Tougher Seeds and Sprouts
Seeds such as sweet peas and shell beans can initially be a little more difficult to sprout. Using the jar method can work wonderfully for these more difficult seeds. Find yourself a glass jar. If it has a lid, drill a few holes in the lid. Otherwise, you can set a damp, breathable cloth over the top of the jar.
To penetrate the hard shell of these types of seeds, soak them in water until they begin to sprout. A mixture of about 60 percent water, 40 percent hydrogen peroxide can be used to help the water to seep through the hard shell if you want to plant them later in the soil.
If you’d like to eat the sprouts rather than planting them, use plain water without the hydrogen peroxide. Soak them for about 12 hours. Then drain and rinse with them in room temperature water. Leave them damp but not swimming in water. Repeat this rinse until they’re full, edible-sized sprouts. It should take between two to four days. Rinse once more, and they are ready to eat.
Caring for the Plants
Once you’ve planted your seeds, be sure to follow the guidelines to care for them, so that you gain the most nutritious benefits of your superfoods. Each plant varies in how much sunlight and water it needs. So, before you flood your shallow-root plants such as lettuce, do a quick read through on their care. Trim off leaves with noticeable browns spots as the plant grows. These leaves will die eventually and take nutrients from the rest of the plant in the meantime.
Some of your superfoods can double as lovely landscaping pieces. Amaranth is an excellent superfood that can grow easily for micro greens and seeds high in magnesium, iron, and calcium. It also looks beautiful planted in with a well-landscaped yard. Chamomile is a calming herb that looks great when it flowers in pots or a well-planned flowerbed, also. Take a quick read through the care of your seeds and plants, and you’ll be growing your superfoods at home in very little time!
- Jordan Freytag