Sprout!

Have you ever grown your own sprouts or shoots? I have both in jars and in special sprout trays, and I must admit that I don't find it to be as simple as they say it is. Even though I believe I've always followed the necessary schedule of rinsing, it seems that I have about a 50% chance of getting edible sprouts from my efforts. After a failure I get discouraged and end up putting thoughts of healthy, fresh sprouts out of my mind for months or longer, until I get the urge to try again. I haven't tried for well over a year, possibly two.


So when I was recently contacted by a company to see if I had an interest in reviewing their sprouting seeds, I got a bit excited. I wasn't familiar with the company so I did a little research. It seems that Dr. Mercola has relatively few products related to gardening, and that they're a general "natural health" company. In fact, under the "gardening" section of their product catalog there are only the sprout growing supplies and some heirloom seed bundles -- which I suppose I understand and appreciate since growing your own food is one way to help achieve overall health.


***


So I agreed to review their sprouting seeds. A week or so later an amazing 90 lbs (41kg) of boxes showed up at my door. Surely they weren't all filled with sprouting seeds, were they?


The first two boxes got me a bit worried...



...but once I removed the seeds from the top layer of the larger box, I realized where the heft was coming from: bags of potting mix!


After unpacking everything I ended up with several bags of broccoli, pea, and sunflower sprouting seeds...


...a stack of planting trays...


...and nine bags of potting mix!

So much of everything -- they certainly didn't skimp! This gives me plenty of room for experimentation...

Although there were some ads for other products in the box, no instructions were included, so I wasn't sure exactly how to use the potting mix -- I had to go to their sprouting seeds page to see the video that explained what to do.

For instance, I learned that my stack of 14 trays was actually 7, since two trays were used at once. The top trays had drainage holes:



A couple of initial observations. First, that sprouting seeds webpage contains much too much information about the benefits of eating sprouts. It seems like they're trying a bit too hard to sell here, at least for my tastes.

Second, these organic sprouting seeds are not "theirs" specifically, they're from High Mowing Seeds in Vermont (Mercola is an Illinois-based company). I guess since I'm used to dealing with seed companies, I expected the seeds to be packaged as "Dr. Mercola". Not that it really matters though.

In fact it helps, because I can go to High Mowing Seed's website, learn more about the seeds, and do some price comparison. It turns out that the seeds are more expensive when purchased directly from High Mowing Seed than from Dr. Mercola -- at least in the smallest size.

So I've got seeds, I've got supplies, I've got instructions -- it's time to try my hand at growing sprouts a new way (for me): in soil.

I'll let you know how things go, but I'm excited!



Please note that I was sent these products by Dr. Mercola free of charge, but received no other compensation for writing about them. 

Also, since I'm not planning on going into commercial sprout production, I have way too much seed and other supplies. I will be looking into donating the extras to St. Louis area organizations that connect kids with gardening -- perhaps in the city or in the Ferguson area. I may also give away some of it to readers, so stay tuned.

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Mark and Gaz  – (February 3, 2015 at 10:43 AM)  

Looking forward to seeing how you get on with and hopefully this time a very good success rate. Very exciting to receive such a generous lot!

Teri  – (February 3, 2015 at 7:41 PM)  

Sounds interesting Alan. I like sprouts but I am way to lazy to do them myself.

Lisa  – (February 4, 2015 at 4:45 PM)  

Dr Mercola doesn't have many gardening products, but he is a big natural gardening aficionado. He promotes wood chip mulching all the time on his blog for building healthier soil and the resulting improvement in the harvested crop. He's an interesting guy!

Good luck with your sprouting project. I find dirt sprouting to be so much easier and more reliable than the old sprouts in the jar method, which to me usually resulted in mold in the jar!

Alan  – (February 5, 2015 at 10:52 AM)  

Teri: I'd say they're easy to grow, but my success rate would say otherwise. Hoping this method is better.

Lisa: I like that they don't have too many gardening products. Selective is better if you're not a garden supply company. About to put the just-sprouting seeds onto the soil, so I'm glad to hear it's easier than the jar method in your experience!

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