by Anita Mae Draper
It's the end of February and I'm gardening on the Canadian prairies!
Okay, so I'm not really gardening like you're probably thinking with the soil, worms, bugs, etc. And, I'd have to dig under 3' of snow to even find my garden. No, I'm not even window gardening as in starting slips, plants and seeds for an early start.
My garden uses water, but no soil, and takes 1 week from planting to harvest. Can you guess?
Here's a 2"x4" bag of the seeds. I'm not sure exactly what seeds are in this selection, but it's called the Salad and Sandwich Booster. A crisp, spicy mix, it's perfect for salads, sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers.
And now I'm sure everyone is jumping up and down saying 'Sprouts'! And of course, you'd be right.
This all started last year when I began eating healthier and denounced all unhealthy snacks. Once I'd cleared the extra fats and sugars from my body, I lost all the cravings for them. And I began to lose weight. To keep on track, I used the Apple App Lose It which Inky Debra E Marvin blogged about recently.
This healthy eating style worked so well, I'd lost 53 lbs between Mar and November. I looked better and felt better. But there was one big negative . . . I was always cold. I could not stay warm and it bugged me! I'd lie in bed at night with hubby spooned behind me and his arms around me but wherever his skin wasn't touching me was ice cold. Brrrr.
Since I've been under a doctor's supervision for several years now due to High Blood Pressure, she knew exactly what was happening. Although my HBP and cholesterol was back to normal, my doctor said my muscles were starving. She said I needed protein.
But I've been eating oodles of fruits, vegetables, and dairy. She said it wasn't enough. So at the end of Nov, I raised my calorie count and allowed myself more protein rich meats, fish and dairy. I was still cold. When I went back to my doctor in January, she said I needed plant protein. I said I eat lots of vegetables. She explained she meant legume protein. I went home thinking... maple brown beans? I can do that.
But then it dawned on me out of the blue one day - okay I admit, it was probably God giving me a talking to - that the doctor was talking about sprouts! I even had 2 sprouting kits at home that I hadn't used in years. So I dug out my sprouting seeds... yes, that bag of seeds in the photo is over 10 yrs old ... and I began to sprout my own protein. I'll show you how I did it and then let you know how you can do it if you don't have a sprouting kit.
First of all, I went on the web to read the official word on sprouting because really, I don't want to steer you wrong. Here's what Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C. of Healthy Eating Advisor has to say about sprouting:
'Sprouting magnifies the nutritional value of the seed. It boosts the B-vitamin content, triples the amount of vitamin A and increases vitamin C by a factor of 5 to 6 times. Starches are converted to simple sugars, making sprouts very easily digestible. You can have them fresh all year round, even when fresh vegetables are hard to find. It's easier than planting a garden outside and they're ready much quicker. You can even grow them when the ground outside is frozen solid. And the best part is that you can grow the freshest, tastiest sprouts right in the comfort of your own kitchen. It takes less than 2 minutes a day and they are ready in 3 to 7 days, depending on the variety.'
Feb 21st - I used my small 6" wide sprouting kit which I picked up for a couple bucks at a Value Village (think Goodwill). It doesn't have a lid, but I can make do. What you see here is 1 tsp of mixed seeds.
The first step is to fill the top part half full of warm water. The water seeps down through the white cap-thingy you see in the photo above this and drains down to the 2nd level. In reality, that 2nd level could have sprouts I'm already harvesting for an ever-ready cycle.
I left my first batch uncovered, but some seeds need darkness to germinate and the harvest was only 50% of what it could have been. So for this batch, I covered them with a towel and left it like that.
Feb 22 - I dumped the water out of the bottom level and added fresh water to the top. I didn't take a photo of the seeds though because there really wasn't that much action after only 24 hrs.
Feb 23 - Some of the seeds are beginning to sprout. It's now a daily habit at noon to dump the bottom level and add fresh to the top, then cover with the towel.
Feb 24 - Same routine.
Feb 25 - Same routine except some of the roots have a bit of fuzz so I'm leaving the towel off.
Feb 26 - Day 5 of the routine and you can see the colour change as the green seed leaves open.
Feb 27 - The sprouts are ready for harvest. If you compare this photo with the one on Feb 21, you can see how that 1 tsp of seeds have 'sprouted' to fill the container.