Sprouting: How to Choose Seeds

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Emily Kerby

Different seeds will grow different things, but all of them should work for sprouting, right?  Not necessarily.

The answer is a little complicated.  Lots of seeds won’t work for sprouting either because they just won’t sprout or because you don’t actually want to eat what sprouts.

Some Seeds Will Not Sprout

Often, the seeds you’ll find in your breakfast melon or other produce from the grocery store won’t sprout.  They are usually special hybrids.  Hybrids always make me think of mules.  A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.  Mules are great!  Research shows that mules are smarter than both donkeys and horses.  They are also stronger, healthier, and they live longer.  The downside is, mules are also always sterile.  But, if you only want one (and you may!), a mule is a terrific choice!

Plants are the same way:  sometimes growers can cross breeds of produce to create special, better results.  Maybe your melon was a little juicier than the parent melons, and maybe it grew faster, or required less water as it was growing.  Since the farmer was selling you one melon, a hybrid was the one you wanted.  But the seeds are (probably) useless.

Some Sprouts You Don’t Want to Eat

In order to give a seed the best chance of survival, sometimes companies will coat seeds in pesticides or other things.  Coated pesticide stays in the plant as it grows.  Sometimes these plants are less likely to get different diseases, or they have fewer problems with particular insects or fungi.  Some of these pesticides are very dangerous, though.  (For instance, one pesticide, Clothianidin, is believed to be responsible for killing many honeybee populations.)  Companies who sell seeds want you to be successful in growing their plants, so they may treat your seeds to help you avoid common problems.  It is questionable whether you would want this “service” if you were gardening.  You do not want to use treated seeds for sprouting.

Choosing Good Seeds to Sprout

If you choose to purchase eFoodsDirect’s Liberty Unit or Freedom Unit, it will include a 4 lb pail of sprouting seeds!  (That’s going to last you a really long time.)  Otherwise, there are many companies that sell seeds for sprouting.  Whether or not you usually buy organic things at the grocery store, sprouting seeds are something you really do need to buy organic.  Whoever you buy from, be sure that they are selling organic seeds.

As you are deciding what to sprout, there are a few things to think about:

What method you’re using to sprout. Very tiny seeds (like chia seeds) don’t work well with most sprouting methods.

What flavors of sprouts you like best. Don’t worry, you’ll figure this out as you go.

What you have, or what is available to you. Some seeds are more popular or easier to find, but if you grow heirloom varieties of plants and you have something else you want to try sprouting, there are many, many other seeds you can sprout!

As you get started sprouting, you will figure out what flavors you like, and you will adapt your sprouting methods to suit your tastes.  (None of the methods are extremely difficult, and all of them are worthwhile.)

Next week, we’ll talk about the other supplies you’ll need to start sprouting, and then we’ll be ready to get started!

This article was posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm







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