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growing alfalfa indoors

Sprouting Alfalfa Sprouts in a Mason Jar

Introduction: Sprouting Alfalfa Sprouts in a Mason Jar

Sprouting Alfalfa seeds is an inexpensive (and really easy) way to add some thing extra to any meal. To get the best salads, flavorings and some variety affordably, you have to have the freshest and cleanest ingredients. To have the freshest and cleanest, you should grow your own. Many spices and herbs can be grown indoors in a small greenhouse (you can see my TouchScreen GreenHouse instructable here), but you can also use a simple mason jar to sprout a variety of seeds in just a few days.

This instructable will walk you through growing Alfalfa sprouts in a mason jar in only a few days. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive, it’s good for you, and it even tastes good. So, let’s grow some sprouts.

Step 1: What You Need

Getting started is easy, All you need is:

  • A mason jar
  • A small screen top or some cheesecloth
  • Alfalfa seeds (you can also sprout chickpeas and many others)
  • Water
  • A Cool, dry spot out of the sun

Step 2: Getting Started

As a ‘general rule’ if the seeds come from a big brand sold as generic planting seeds in a package, they have likely been treated or modified and should be avoided. Try and get seeds from health food stores or gardening supply outlets that provide organic and untreated seeds.

First, pour some seeds into the mason jar. When just getting started, pour just enough to barely cover the base evenly at most. The seeds will expand and sprout quickly, so use just enough for what you will use – although they can be refrigerated for short periods. After a few harvests, you will have a good feel for how many you need and the jar will hold. If you really enjoy the sprouts, try and stagger several mason jars over different days.

With the seeds in place, cover the top with the screen or cheesecloth. If you use cheesecloth it can be secured with a rubber band. Fill the mason jar about half-full of water and set aside for 8-12 hours for a good soak.

After the initial soaking time, with the top in place, drain the water, refill the jar with water about half way again, rinse well and drain again. Place the mason jar in a spot out of direct sunlight slightly elevated with the “top side” lowest. This will allow the seeds to dry freely. Let them sit overnight.

Step 3: The Routine

Over the next few days the seeds will begin sprouting quickly, but will need to be continually rehydrated. Each day, rinse the seeds in their jar, making sure to get all of them moist, and then drain. Two times a day is a basic minimum, 4 or 5 times is ideal. After each draining, place the jar back in its leaning position out of sunlight.

Step 4: The Harvest!

After 3-5 days the sprouts should have grown about an inch or so long. When they are, they are ready to enjoy. Depending on personal taste, when the sprouts are ready, you have the option of placing the jar in the sunlight for a few hours and letting the sprouts green by producing some chlorophyl (remember 8th grade science!) or eating them as is. On the 3rd day, I let these sit for about 2 hours in the sun (the 2nd shot).

When you’re ready to use the sprouts, remove them from their jar, rinse really well (a few minutes or so) in a colander to remove the chaff and shells. Remove any sprouts that may not look “healthy” or unsprouted and add raw to salads or as a side. While many beans and sprouts can be cooked, Alfalfa will get soggy, but again, it’s a matter of personal taste. Try different ideas and beans, look for recipes on-line and be creative. Just knowing that you are growing your own healthy ingredients is enough to start making a difference, so get started – it really is fun and easy!

If you need to refrigerate the sprouts, wrap the sprouts in a dry paper towel, place in a sealed plastic baggy and refrigerate for up to a few days. I didn’t include any shots of the salad, but they were delicious!

Sprouting Alfalfa Sprouts in a Mason Jar: Sprouting Alfalfa seeds is an inexpensive (and really easy) way to add some thing extra to any meal. To get the best salads, flavorings and some variety affordably, you have to have the freshest and cleanest ingredients. To have the freshest and c…

How to Grow Alfalfa Grass | Guide to Growing Alfalfa Grass

Binomial Name: Medicago sativa
Varieties:

High in protein and minerals, Alfalfa hay is a high-energy feed source for cattle, horses and sheep. Dairy cows in particular have much to benefit from the high rate of protein contained in Alfalfa, sometimes exceeding 25% of mass. Also well-suited to younger animals or those with greater protein needs. As always, consult an animal feed expert, veterinarian, or other qualified professional before initiating any feeding regime.

Deep, well-drained, fertile

Part shade to full sun

For hay, thin to 12-18″ or less

Cattle, horses, sheep

Growing Guide
GROWING NOTES

For livestock feed, alfalfa can be collected as blooms begin to open and used for hay, or broadcast and used for grazing. If growing for hay, sow seeds 4-6″ apart and thin to 6-12″, depending on rate of growth and other factors.

Alfalfa will grow better if started after the last frost of the spring, once established grass stands in other locations start to show steady growth. Alfalfa can be started at any point during the growing season, once conditions become favorable. Like most seeds, they require warmth and plenty of water to germinate. Do not start in arid or excessively dry locations or conditions. If sowing in fall, do not sow later than one month prior to the first average frost of the fall.

A well-prepared seedbed is essential to healthy alfalfa plants. This should be done 6 months or more prior to the expected planting date to ensure that added amendments have significant time to react with soil. The first step will be to test the pH of the soil with a tester, available at a farm or home & garden store. Ideally, the soil should have a pH between 6.5 to 7.0. Soil can be amended with lime (limestone) if needed to raise pH. Do not sow if pH is not 6.2 or higher.

Alfalfa will take better in the presence of high amounts of phosphorus and potassium.

When sowing, be cautious not to sow seeds too deeply. Seeds should be sown at a depth of approximately ¼”, and no deeper than ½”. Seeds sown deeper may not be able to break through the surface of the soil. Gently pack soil to ensure good seed to soil contact. For best results, fertilize concurrently as you sow with an organic blend high in phosphorus and potassium.

Once established, alfalfa is hardy and will grow with relative ease. It can survive with moderate water and sunlight, and is relatively tolerant of drought and other conditions.

Alfalfa stands can be depleted unless rotational grazing is practiced. Generally, the same paddock (partitioned division of a field) should not be grazed more than four days in a row, though this can vary depending on the size of the paddock and number of animals. It is generally recommended to create and maintain 6-8 or more paddocks that can be rotated to allow enough time for regrowth between grazings.

Alfalfa stands can be depleted unless rotational grazing is practiced. Generally, the same paddock (partitioned division of a field) should not be grazed more than four days in a row, though this can vary depending on the size of the paddock and number of animals. It is generally recommended to create and maintain 6-8 or more paddocks that can be rotated to allow enough time for regrowth between grazings.

How to Grow Alfalfa Grass | Guide to Growing Alfalfa Grass