Grow your own wheatgrass

  • See also wheatgrass
  • This page describes how to grow wheatgrass indoors at room temperature. It works for most of the spring, summer and autumn. I have a room which is nearly south facing and I find if I leave the wheatgrass in the room without curtains drawn it gets enough sunlight. I'm not quite sure if this will work in the winter yet. Maybe it will work, and it will just all be a bit slower.

Consumables

  • A packet of organic wheat grain. You need one cup of wheat grain which is 225g for each tray of wheatgrass. Previously I used less than this but now I find once cup works well. I used to buy 500g bags from Planet Organic or similar places. Now, as I am growing wheatgrass on a continuous basis, I buy 25Kg bags of Doves Farm organic wheat grain from one of my suppliers. It's not necessarily cheaper, it's just more convenient.
  • A bag of compost. I use John Innes seed sowing compost which I buy in 30 litre bags. Last year this seemed to have too much sand in it and tended to get dry too quickly in the summer. I have recently purchased some more this year, 2009, and it seems a bit better so far. I made the mistake of buying organic compost last year. It had wood chippings in it and various species of wood fungi kept appearing. Then the wheatgrass kept growing mouldy at the bottom. Also avoid anything with peat in as this doesn't work very well either. This is all a bit of a lottery because the typical bags of compost available from garden centres give no idea of the content. I will be using compost from my garden compost bins later this year. At the moment it's far too "alive" to use in the house. I think I will experiment with a tumbler bin. Although these are more expensive, they do seem to produce a much cleaner compost.
  • Mineral supplements are a possibility. Some people use volcanic ash to improve the mineral content of the soil and this is something that I would definitely try if I can find a reliable source. Remember wheatgrass is very powerful in removing all the bio-available minerals from the soil which is of course what you want. For the same reason avoid any contaminated soil. Wheatgrass will pull in lithium and other metals from contaminated soil and this is what you will end up drinking. Never ever put any bits of metal or plastics into your compost bin. (Why do supermarkets put metal labels on organic mangoes for instance?)
  • A source of water other than tap water. I use a sophisticated water filter. If you have to use tap water then I would let it stand for a while so that the chlorine disperses.

Equipment

  • Kitchen scales or a cup measure. You can weigh out 225g of wheat grain and pour it into an old mug. If you then mark the mug at this level you can use it specifically for measuring out wheat grain in future.
  • A pyrex jug or similar for soaking.
  • A large fine meshed kitchen sieve for draining the water off.
  • A seed tray with holes in. I use size 38cm by 28cm by 8cm deep. These cost about ?1 each and are widely available from garden centres. I have found that in practise it is better to use these more solid seed trays because they can be reused again and again. The very thin trays that are a bit like the inside of a chocolate box really don't last very long and you are forever having to replace them.
  • Something waterproof to put the seed tray on. I use a grow bag tray which holds exactly four seed trays. I actually have four of these which gives me the capacity for 16 trays of wheatgrass in various stages of growth. At the moment, March 2009, I am running with 12 trays of wheatgrass which is enough to create a continuous supply for three or four people. The extra 4 trays gives me enough capacity to cope with an influx of visitors providing I plan about 12 days ahead for them.
  • A sunny indoor location large enough to accommodate a grow bag tray. I have a large south facing room so I use a table placed near the window for this. A conservatory or greenhouse might also be suitable but you will have to trial this to make sure that they don't get too hot and dry the wheatgrass out at the peak of the day.
  • Equipment - green juicer
  • If you don't already own a green juicer then now is the time to organise buying one. The centrifugal juicers are totally unsuitable for wheatgrass. At the end of the day, if you are at all serious about your health, you will end up buying the Greenstar or something very similar. Although it might seem very expensive at first it pays for itself over time and there isn't really anything else that matches it. I use mine nearly every day and have done for a few years now. Check out my equipment page for more details. juicers (twin gear)
  • Method - soaking
  • Put 1C (225g) of wheat grain into a pyrex jug or similar. Fill the jug three quarters full with filtered water and cover with a saucer. Leave this somewhere at room temperature avoiding direct sunlight.
  • Allow it to soak for about 12 hours i.e. either overnight for morning planting or in the morning for evening planting.
  • Prepare a seed tray by filling it half full with the John Innes compost or whatever compost you are using. Pat it down gently and make a fairly even surface.
  • Place the seed tray on a grow bag tray in a sunny indoor location.
  • Method - planting
  • The wheat grain has now been soaking for half a day.
  • Over the sink, pour the wheat grain through a large fine meshed kitchen sieve. Recover any grains that cling to the jug by partially filling the jug with tap water and pouring it through the sieve again.
  • Give the wheat grain in the sieve a good rinsing with tap water. Shake the sieve to remove any excess water.
  • Spread the soaked wheat grain out evenly over the surface of the compost in the seed tray. I have found that I can do this fairly quickly by using the tips of my fingers. I used to cover the wheat grains with a thin layer of compost, but now I don't bother. It seems go grow quite well anyway.
  • Before watering the wheat grain, you might want to add some minerals to the water. I add a pinch of Himalayan rock salt to a litre of water. This salt is rich in minerals. I think the salt also helps prevent mould. You don't have to do this but I think it helps.
  • Water the wheat grain using just enough mineralised water to make the compost quite wet but not dripping. Take care not to disperse the grains by watering too vigorously. I use filtered water. If you are using tap water then do let it stand for half a day to disperse the chlorine, before using it.
  • Method - tendering.
  • Water once a day using mineralised water. Use just enough to make the compost damp but not dripping.
  • On very hot days I water twice a day. The second watering is just a quick spray to prevent the compost drying out.
  • For the first few days nothing much seems to be happening. You might think you have got it all wrong. If you look carefully you will see that the wheat grains are starting to germinate.
  • On about day five, if you look carefully, you will see that all the little grains are starting to sprout.
  • On about day six suddenly a little bit of green appears. By day seven this is much more noticeable. Amazing!
  • On the following days the green gets stronger and you have a tray of wheatgrass beginning to grow. From then on out it's quite amazing how it shoots up.
  • On about day 14 to 16 the wheatgrass has grown sufficiently to be harvested. You can harvest it when it has grown to about 10cm tall or more. At this stage it will be bright green and bolt upright. As it grows on a bit more it tends to lean towards the sunlight.
  • Check the post
  • You must have a wheatgrass juicer by now! Hopefully your juicer has already arrived. You have had time to read the instructions carefully and found a home for it in the kitchen.
  • If you brought a Greenstar then make sure you are totally familiar with where the dots are on the two gears go, so that you are confident about assembling it correctly.
  • A good tip is to make sure you have a safe place at the back of the worktop to keep the two gears. If you get into this kitchen discipline from day one then you are less likely to loose or damage these vital parts.

Harvesting

  • Ideally harvest the wheatgrass just before the jointing stage, which is about 10 to 14 days depending on the growing conditions. After that the nature of the plant changes and it is not so good for juicing.
  • One tray of wheatgrass will provide enough for about four people.
  • At some point not long before breakfast, use some sharp scissors and cut however much you need. I use a large kitchen bowl to put the cut wheatgrass in ready for juicing. I often have four people coming to breakfast so I cut the whole tray.

Cleaning and recycling

  • In the summer I found that I could recycle the turfs around the tomatoes which were growing outside in pots. The upside down turf around the base of the tomato plant acts like a sponge and helps to retain water.
  • Otherwise recycle the wheatgrass turfs to the compost bin. Break them up to facilitate composting.
  • Thoroughly clean the seed tray with clean cold water and put it somewhere to dry, preferably outdoors in the sunshine.
  • Don't forget to prepare another seed tray of compost anyway ready for your next planting.

Links

  • Our mission at WheatgrassGreenhouse.com is to offer you any support we can with your growing of fresh sprouts & wheatgrass. Sprouting / growing greens is a positive journey on the path to health, with amazing results. We accept you as you are and will never judge you or your grass. We allow all seeds to 'sprout' the way they know how.
  • http://www.wheatgrassgreenhouse.com
John Innes seed sowing compost

John Innes seed sowing compost

Seed tray 38cm by 28cm by 8cm deep

Seed tray 38cm by 28cm by 8cm deep

wheat grain

wheat grain

wheat grain one cup or 225g

wheat grain one cup or 225g

wheat grain one cup soaking

wheat grain one cup soaking

wheat grain soaked for half a day

wheat grain soaked for half a day

wheat grain soaked and washed ready to plant

wheat grain soaked and washed ready to plant

wheatgrass day 1 (just planted)

wheatgrass day 1 (just planted)

wheatgrass day 2 (planted 1 day ago)

wheatgrass day 2 (planted 1 day ago)

wheatgrass day 3 (planted 2 days ago)

wheatgrass day 3 (planted 2 days ago)

wheatgrass day 4 (planted 3 days ago)

wheatgrass day 4 (planted 3 days ago)

wheatgrass day 5 (planted 4 days ago)

wheatgrass day 5 (planted 4 days ago)

wheatgrass day 6 (planted 5 days ago)

wheatgrass day 6 (planted 5 days ago)

wheatgrass day 7 (planted 6 days ago)

wheatgrass day 7 (planted 6 days ago)

wheatgrass day 8 (planted 7 days ago)

wheatgrass day 8 (planted 7 days ago)

wheatgrass day 9 (planted 8 days ago)

wheatgrass day 9 (planted 8 days ago)

wheatgrass day 10 (planted 9 days ago)

wheatgrass day 10 (planted 9 days ago)

wheatgrass day 11 (planted 10 days ago)

wheatgrass day 11 (planted 10 days ago)

wheatgrass day 12 (planted 11 days ago)

wheatgrass day 12 (planted 11 days ago)

wheatgrass day 13 (planted 12 days ago) side view

wheatgrass day 13 (planted 12 days ago) side view

wheatgrass day 13 (planted 12 days ago)

wheatgrass day 13 (planted 12 days ago)