Quick Tip – Sprouts!

The first snowfall was pretty, but also makes me resigned to the long winter ahead. For those of you who, like me, enjoy standing in the garden eating peas right out of the pod, I’m posting a reminder about sprouts. I love sprouts. The batch above was especially delicious, although definitely odd in appearance, when I used them on hummus for lunch this week. The meal might look a trifle strange, but it is full of health benefits and a good percentage of your daily vitamins and minerals.

Amazingly, the sprouting seeds I used were purchased in 2015 from The Sprout House through Amazon. After three years almost all the seeds in the packet I chose to use still sprouted. The Sprout House offers an amazing variety packet that will last for months, if not years.

“There are tremendous health benefits from including sprouts in your diet: … Vitamin, such as A, B, C and E, and essential fatty acid nutrients increase in sprouting and minerals bind to protein, making them more easily absorbed. Sprouts alkalize the body and protect it from disease including cancer.” ~Longevity Wellness Worldwide

The Sprout House on Amazon. Here’s the link to the variety package I purchased in 2015. You can also find smaller products through Amazon offered by The Sprout House.

This post is part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge

Planting – Motivated on Monday/Sprouts & Microgreens


Winter arrived Saturday night here in southern New Jersey. We had watched the forecasts, knew she was barreling toward us, and sure enough we heard the knock of her wind right before we went to bed. Sunday morning dawned cold and blustery. Our mailbox was a casualty, knocked off our porch, we found it on the neighbor’s front lawn.

Gardeners, like me, are probably mourning the end of the season. The good news is the first of the seed catalogs has already arrived at my house. At this time of year, I also appreciate my sprout and micro-green seeds. The nutrient-packed food they produce is not only good for my body, but an excellent remedy for the grief the gardener in me feels when outdoor planting and harvesting comes to an end.

If you have leftover vegetable seeds from the garden, many of them can be grown as microgreens.

Quick Tip – Removing and Using Volunteers


Over the years of blog posting, I’ve written many times of “volunteer” seedlings, small plants that spring up in early summer, self-sown by the previous year’s garden vegetables or flowers.

“Produce from volunteer plants is often bigger and tastier than are intentionally cultivated crops. After all, the plants have sprouted where they want to grow, as opposed to where you want them to. Like wildflowers, unbidden edibles usually appear wherever they’ll have the best chance to survive and reproduce . . . that is, where the soil has the necessary nutrients, the proper pH balance, and just the right amount of drainage to satisfy the needs of the plant in question.”
~ Mother Earth News


The warm temperatures of June have been a blessing, and volunteer seedlings are sprouting. Many are a perfect solution for the empty spaces in my flower beds. Unfortunately, the best sprouts seem to grow between the bricks and walkways, nurtured by the heat generated in the cement. I have found a way to get these small plantlets out and grow them on into full-sized plants. Pulling them, even very gently, never works; the roots will break away. Instead I slip a putty knife (or any type of slim metal) into the soil alongside the plant, keeping the blade pressed firmly against the cement. I do this on each side then carefully pull the plant out of its nesting spot. In most cases this technique works and the sprout can be removed with root and dirt intact.


I immediately place the sprouts in garden beds or holding pots and drench them with water. Over the course of a week or more I will water these new plants every day. Look carefully amongst the weeds in your garden beds before you begin pulling them out. You might have a treasure lurking there that will grow into a beautiful plant before summer’s end..

Plants & Prevention – Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are a superfood. Part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, broccoli packs quite a nutritional punch as a cancer prevention, respiratory health enhancer, and decreaser of triglyceride levels. “Sulfaraphane-rich broccoli sprouts may be the key to lowering your risk for heart disease,” says an article at Healthy Eating. “Young broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more of the antioxidant sulforaphane than broccoli.


Five to seven days ago I found an old packet of broccoli sprouting seeds that I’ve had since 2011. I wasn’t sure if the seeds were still viable, but rather than waste them, I put them in water to soak for 24 hours. When the time came to drain the water, I covered the glass with a sprouting lid and drained the water away. For the next few days I rinsed the seeds with water twice a day and let the glass drain upside down at an angle. Even though the seeds were not fresh, most sprouted for me.


If you don’t have a sprouting lid, there are many other alternatives: cheesecloth, netting, I’ve even used old pieces of lace rubber-banded around the top of a glass or jar.


To remove the spent seed hulls I soak the sprouts in a bowl of water. The seed hulls float and gather at the sides of the container. I remove these by running a finger around the edge, depositing the hulls in the sink to wash down the drain. Any seeds that don’t sprout usually drop to the bottom of the bowl, making for easy removal.


If you don’t eat your sprouts immediately please refrigerate them. They will stay fresh for several days stored in a chilly environment. I use my sprouts on sandwiches, in salads…once I even used alfalfa sprouts in a meatloaf, trying to sneak in extra nutrition for my family…problem was the small plantlets stayed a brilliant green…well, you know the story about some people and eating “GREEN FOOD!”

My favorite source of sprouting seeds and microgreens is Pinetree Garden Seeds and Accessories. I find them very reliable, the seeds they sell stay fresh for me for years if stored in a cool, dry place. Give sprouts a try…your immune system will thank you.

Quirkiness -Sprouts

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Which category should I blog sprouts under, I wondered, as I began this post. I finally settled on “Quirkiness” because of the nature of this food source. I love sprouts of all kinds. In 2011 I purchased several packets of seeds for sprouting. Stored in the refrigerator they are still almost 100% viable. Last week I sprouted a tablespoon of the lentil mix.

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The tablespoon yielded all these lovely sprouts. I used them on top of a pasta salad and they really brightened up the look and taste of the meal.

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Sprouting is easy. Many garden and retail stores sell the lids that easily attach to an ordinary mason/canning jar.

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1 Tbs of sprouting seeds

Cover with water for 24 hours


Let stand upside down at an angle out of direct sunlight.

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I find the silverware cup on my dish drainer holds the jar at the perfect angle. Also by keeping it near the sink I remember to add water and drain twice a day.

Refill with water and drain two to three times a day. Do not allow the seeds and sprouts to completely dry out.

You will notice growth in a matter of a day or two. Allow it grow for 2-3 days, continuing the refilling and draining. When the sprouts have grown to a good size place in direct sunlight. They will green right up and be ready to eat in a day. If you are not going to eat all the sprouts in one sitting, please remember to refrigerate the remainder. Enjoy!

Plantings – Update Winter Sowing Progress

I’ve been steadily adding to my cache of winter sown containers. The warm springlike weather of the past weeks has helped many to sprout. As they are HHA (Half Hardy Annuals) and cold tolerant vegetables, I have no worries about the possible onset of colder temperatures through the next weeks. The plastic containers work as mini-greenhouses and protect the seedlings from frost. The cold will only strengthen them and keep them from becoming leggy and outgrowing their containers. I’ve had a lot of fun with this project. I also have set aside a portion of each type of seed so that in the event that some of the containers fail I will have a backup.

A view of some of the sprouts inside their containers. The above photos show my recycled orange juice bottles. These mini-greenhouses are light in weight. To windproof them I wedge them in amongst the heavier milk jugs.

A bird’s eye view through the top of a milk jug. The seedlings inside are asters.

I noticed two of my mini-greenhouses had indications of the dirt drying out. I placed these inside a plastic shoebox filled with water, a perfect fit, and let them soak up a little moisture through the drainage holes in the bottom. This worked perfectly and within a half hour they were thoroughly watered.