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Growing alfalfa sprouts

Gro­wing alfal­fa sprouts is not dif­fi­cult and just requi­res a litt­le pati­ence, as the sprouts have a rela­tively long growth peri­od of 7 days until har­ve­st. Anyo­ne can grow the­se valuable sprouts in their own home, chea­p­ly and easily. 
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In this artic­le I descri­be how the seed mate­ri­al is ger­mi­na­ted in a sprout tower when gro­wing alfal­fa sprouts. 

For one level of the sprout tower you need 1 tab­les­poon of alfal­fa sprouts ger­mi­na­ti­on mate­ri­al. Appro­xi­m­ate­ly 150 g of alfal­fa sprouts grow from 1 tab­les­poon of seeds over the cour­se of 7 days. The alfal­fa seeds are first soa­ked in water in a cup or glass for 6 hours. (I do this rou­ti­ne­ly after making the cele­ry juice, then the seeds are rea­dy to soak at luncht­i­me and rea­dy to be decan­ted.) The seeds are then rin­sed in a sie­ve under run­ning water. Then dis­tri­bu­te the pre-swol­len seeds in the top lay­er of the tower. Now water again with fresh water becau­se the seeds will then spread evenly. 

A bright place for growing alfalfa sprouts

The seeds are pla­ced in a bright place to ger­mi­na­te; in autumn and win­ter, direct sun­light for 3–4 hours is not a pro­blem. The opti­mal tem­pe­ra­tu­re for gro­wing alfal­fa sprouts is bet­ween 18°C and 22°C. In sum­mer, when the­re is direct sun­light under the hood, heat builds up and the sprouts often start to mold. The­r­e­fo­re, plea­se place it slight­ly away from the win­dow. It is very prac­ti­cal if the tower stands on the win­dows­ill in the kit­chen in spring, autumn and win­ter, as this makes wate­ring easier. 

Water the alfalfa sprouts carefully twice a day

The sprouts are wate­red twice a day, in the mor­ning and evening. To do this, approx. 200 ml of fresh water is pou­red onto the sprouts. Plea­se let the water drain careful­ly. In the first few days, the water usual­ly runs out wit­hout any pro­blems through the ope­ning under the red siphons. If it does­n’t flow at all at the begin­ning, til­ting it slight­ly can help. Later, it can some­ti­mes hap­pen that indi­vi­du­al sprouts push them­sel­ves direct­ly into the ope­ning as they grow, blo­cking the tiny drai­na­ge holes. This can hap­pen from around day 3–5, but it is the exception. 

In order to pre­vent the pro­blem of water­log­ging in such a case, from around day 3 onwards I don’t let the sprouts run in the hori­zon­tal posi­ti­on direct­ly on the sprout tower, but ins­tead take each fil­led bowl indi­vi­du­al­ly to the sink and hold it at an ang­le so that the water can drain away. If I place my spread hand direct­ly on the sprouts, I can hold the bowl very slan­ted, even bey­ond a 90° ang­le. Here I pro­ceed very careful­ly to ensu­re that all the water has drai­ned away. Stan­ding water cau­ses water­log­ging and the sprouts start to mold easi­ly. This does­n’t hap­pen if you drain careful­ly. Some­ti­mes the extre­me­ly fine fib­rous roots are con­fu­sed with mold; the smell test pro­vi­des infor­ma­ti­on about this. Fib­rous roots smell fresh and not mus­ty. If mold has for­med, for exam­p­le becau­se you for­got to water it twice, the bowl must be tho­rough­ly brushed with hot water and a litt­le fruit vin­egar befo­re the next use.

By the 5th or 6th day, the alfal­fa sprouts have grown so tall that they want to grow over the edge. From that point on I take the lid off to give them even more room to rise. Before­hand, the lid does a good job as it crea­tes a bene­fi­ci­al mini-green­house cli­ma­te. I find it an advan­ta­ge of the tower that I can easi­ly touch the sprouts with my hand every day when wate­ring, stro­ke the green heads and thus deve­lop an even more per­so­nal con­nec­tion with them. (The litt­le plants are able to read the gardener’s infor­ma­ti­on through a per­so­nal rela­ti­onship with them. The sprouts read our bodies, our organs, our blood and know what is wrong and what our histo­ry is. They do ever­y­thing for this , to alter their nut­ri­ents so that they are spe­ci­fi­cal­ly tail­o­red to our phy­si­cal and men­tal needs). Unfort­u­na­te­ly, this dai­ly cont­act is not pos­si­ble when gro­wing alfal­fa sprouts in a sprout jar. 

The alfalfa sprouts are ready to harvest on the 8th day

On day 8, the sprouts are rea­dy to har­ve­st and can be used in a varie­ty of ways. The seeds can be eaten who­le and not­hing needs to be cut off. Alfal­fa tas­tes fresh, mild and jui­cy and goes per­fect­ly in a salad (e.g. with cucum­bers, pep­pers, oni­ons, toma­toes, gar­lic and oran­ge juice) or in a smoothie with bana­nas, man­go or fruit of your choice. Nori rolls with alfal­fa, cucum­ber strips and pep­per strips are also very tasty. They are also a gre­at addi­ti­on to bread or as a fresh deco­ra­ti­on on soups or other dis­hes. But you can also juice them very well. 

Rec­tan­gu­lar glass con­tai­ners are ide­al for short-term sto­rage in the ref­ri­ge­ra­tor, each with a sheet of paper towels pla­ced in them to absorb excess water. The sprouts can be kept for 1 day. 

The method of gro­wing alfal­fa sprouts in a sprout tower pre­sen­ted in this artic­le is par­ti­cu­lar­ly sui­ta­ble for lar­ger quan­ti­ties of sprouts, as the batch gro­wing method is quite space-saving. In our two-per­son house­hold, we use the sprouts from 3 sprout towers with a total of 9 lay­ers every week from Octo­ber to April. I also have 5 other sprout jars (see pic­tu­re), which are also used from Octo­ber to April. In total, we con­su­me around 300 g of sprouts per day, with the vast majo­ri­ty ending up with me. 

Alfalfa sprouts can also be grown well in a germination jar

Mung bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts in a germination jar
Alfal­fa sprouts and mung bean sprouts in a ger­mi­na­ti­on jar

Alfal­fa is just as sui­ta­ble for gro­wing in ger­mi­na­ti­on jars becau­se the seeds do not pro­du­ce muci­la­ge. This type of cul­ti­va­ti­on requi­res a litt­le more space, but works just as well. You can get a lar­ge sel­ec­tion of all the ger­mi­na­ti­on devices pre­sen­ted here, as well as sprout seeds this page about sprout cultivation. 

Give it a try, gro­wing alfal­fa sprouts is a very easy and inex­pen­si­ve way to get more vibrant gree­n­ery. Plus a green that has been grown spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for the sprout gar­de­ner and brings with it spe­ci­fic nut­ri­ents that are tail­o­red pre­cis­e­ly to the gar­de­ner. Our favo­ri­te aut­hor talks about it in his Radio show about gro­wing your own food.

In this artic­le about sprouts You can find even more infor­ma­ti­on on the exci­ting topic of sprouts. 

Have fun try­ing it out and enjoy your meal! 

Aut­hor: Astrid Späth 

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Astrid Späth 
Astrid Späth has been enthu­si­a­sti­cal­ly imple­men­ting this life­style for hers­elf and her fami­ly sin­ce 2019. It is a chall­enge for them to mas­ter the dif­fe­rent needs and wis­hes of the fami­ly mem­bers in culina­ry terms, which they do bet­ter and bet­ter as their know­ledge increases. 
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