Our first attempt at growing food in the apartment was wheatgrass, which we started on New Years Day. Wheatgrass was our first choice because:
- We had seeds handy from rejuvelac and cheesemaking;
- It grows really fast;
- It contains nutrients similar to dark leafy greens, but is much easier to grow inside;
- We thought we could add it to smoothies with no real impact on taste.
Spoiler alert: that last bullet point was untrue and we are currently accepting any and all suggestions to help mask the taste.
Because the wheat berry is a very hard shell, one is supposed to sprout the seeds before planning. We sprouted the seeds like we would to make rejuvelac and prepared some potting soil in an old Chinese food takeout container. We made some cuts in the bottom of the containers so that water could drain and we could water from below also. The plastic pretty much shattered, but the soil was cohesive and packed nicely, meaning very little was lost out the bottom.
Why are we using these instead of purpose built trays? Unfortunately, local recycling doesn’t accept this black plastic, so we are trying to find the best ways to reuse them while we also are conscious of reducing our eating out.
Planting and Growing
As this was our first time doing this, we spouted too many seeds and ended up packing them very tightly. We decided to just see what happened!
The seeds don’t need light to sprout, so we covered them with another takeout container. We didn’t get a picture, but some other sources recommend stacking another container directly on top of the seeds (flip the pictured container upside down so it rests directly on the seeds) to help the roots dig deeper into the soil.
The next day we started having little green sprouts, so we knew it was time to put them under the grow lights.
We watered them several times a day. We poured water into the lid trays, and also sprayed the leaves. We used natural light as much as we could and supplemented withe the grow light, because well, January.
We decided to harvest on the 8th day in soil because the grass was starting to get droopy. Initially we thought we would snip and let it regrow, but by this time we had received some seeds we ordered and wanted to use the space for those microgreens instead.
We made some directly into smoothies for meals in the upcoming days, and decided to blend the remainder with a small amount of water to freeze for future smoothies.
The root system on these guys is wild, as pictured below. You get a sense of how the long, tall grass that is wheat is able to support itself.
Would you do this again?
Wheatgrass tastes like grass. It should probably be obvious, but we chose to ignore this fact and grow it anyways. T will probably suffer through the harvest and will probably do it again, but it will not be a regular in our rotation.
We did grow some specifically for the cats, but they didn’t love it. The stuff grows so fast that it does need a lot of care, which doesn’t make it very enticing as something we would keep around just for them.
The overall timeline from sprout to harvest was:
- Day 1: Soaking seeds
- Day 2: Sprouting seeds
- Day 3: Sprouts in soil, covered until green sprouts appear
- Day 4-10: Growth
- Day 10: Harvest