So you've purchased your little furry friend a treat with amazing health benefits, what now? Help! I've got a bag of seed and don't know where to start!
Choosing your grow medium:
You're going to want to make sure you've picked out what kind of soil you want to use, as well as a container to grow in. You can use any potting soil mix you are comfortable with, or alternative grow mediums are suitable as well! You might find that you like using compressed coco coir pellets, or perhaps a hydroponic medium!
Choosing your container:
For your container, you can use something you've got around the house, maybe an old gardening tray or container. Or you could upgrade to our self watering planters! They are a great size for pet grass, and make watering easy if you're away for long periods of time or just forgetful! You can grow in a smaller container - or a larger container, just make sure to adjust the seed usage each time!
QUICK TIP: No idea what to grow in? Do you have an old tupperware container lying around? Use it! You can even poke some holes in the bottom and use an old tupperware lid as a drip tray!
QUICK TIP: To know how much seed you will need, sprinkle the seed into the container while dry - you want the seeds to be just touching, but not over lapping! Then pour that seed straight into your water to begin their soak!
You can soak these seeds in a jar, glass, bowl - whatever is handy! This allows the seed to hydrate and begin the germination process. It's important not to forget about them during this step. Too much water can be a bad thing! We recommend a soak between 4-10 hours. The seed will swell up and once you notice it's plumped up, it's time to plant!
Quick Tip: Always soak and water your wheatgrass with COLD water. Tepid or warm water exacerbates root and mold problems, where cold water can provide some remediation.
Preparing your medium and tray:
Make sure you've adequately moistened the medium you've chosen to use. Your soil, coir, or mats should be moist, but not soaking. Make sure to even out your grow medium so you can grow nice and evenly. No need to press the soil down tightly, just lightly, we want to leave room for those roots to grow!
Sowing your seeds:
Be sure to drain the water from your container well, pour out those freshly woken up seeds and spread them out evenly over the surface of your grow medium. Be gentle, but have fun with it! Nothing beats the sweet smell of freshly soaked wheat grass, it's like bread baking in the oven!
You'll want to add some kind of cover for your seeds. You can use another growing tray to create a blackout period for your seeds, this stimulates growth. The seeds only need to be covered for about two days before they can be placed in sunlight - be sure to remove the tray from time to time to allow some airflow.
QUICK TIP: Take a damp paper towel and cover your seeds gently. The moisture will help keep the seeds watered and create a small amount of pressure so the seeds will root downwards. Each day you can pull up a corner, if your wheat berries are sticking to the towel, they haven't rooted deep enough, if you lift away the towel and no seeds stick to it, it's time to take it off!
A spray bottle or mister is going to be your best friend here, for the first few days as the grass begins to emerge, you're going to just want to mist the top. (Or paper towel if you are trying this method.) About day 3 - you should want to start directly watering your medium. The first couple days with a tray or plastic on top is going to create a greenhouse effect, this will keep the seed and medium moist, and can be easy to over water, only do so if the seed looks to be drying out! This is when those self watering trays will come in handy!
Remember to water your wheatgrass with COLD water. You will want to water at least once in the morning and once again at night. Wait 10 minutes and then drain any excess water you can from the tray - standing water can harbor mold spores and we don't want them to grow!
Q: What would cause my wheatgrass to turn yellow?
A: It could be several things. It may be that the grass needs more light. It could also indicate root rot, from too much water. It could also be a sign that it has been growing too long. At a certain point, the blade will divide and turn yellow and start to turn into a stalk of wheat, it is ideal to harvest at around 6 to 7 inches tall, even if you pet hasn't full consumed all the grass.
Q: My Cat or Dog doesn't seem to like the grass, what can I do?
A: Taking a spray bottle and lightly misting the blades of grass can entice your pet to lick the grass, leading them to realize it is a treat! You can also cut off a pinch of grass and feed it to your pet manually - sometimes when the treat comes from your hand instead of a tray they are much more likely to partake!
Q: What is the ideal environment for my wheatgrass to grow?
A: The ideal conditions for wheatgrass and barleygrass are 1) indirect sunlight, and 2) moderate climate around 70 degrees. Wheatgrass does best below 75 degrees F, but not cooler than 65 degrees.
Q: My wheatgrass has mold. What do I do?
A: Mold on wheatgrass can happen due to temperature, humidity or other environmental issues. Mold can usually be controlled if treated properly.
Preventing or Treating Mold in Wheatgrass:
- If you are re-using growing trays, disinfect them between uses.
- Use a mold combatant like 10-20 drops of grapefruit seed extract or 1-2 teaspoons of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide/H202. (Available at grocery stores and pharmacies.) This can be added to your initial soaking water for the full 4-10 hours.
- Water the first time after uncovering with the same quantity of either grapefruit seed extract or H202, sprinkling the water over the full tray to get maximum coverage.
- If mold appears during growth, use the same quantity of grapefruit seed extract or H2O2 in a spray mist bottle, and spot treat affected area aggressively. Try to treat early when it appears. If this treatment doesn’t work, add 10 more drops of grapefruit seed extract or 1 more tablespoon of H202, until the mold disappears.
- Using a slow fan on your trays while growing can help prevent mold spores from the air from getting established.
Quick Tip: Leftover grass? Dry drying it and emulsifying it in a food processor. Use the wheatgrass power as a flower base for homemade dog treats!