Wheatgrass – A step by step guide to grow your own
If you have decided that you would like the benefits of adding fresh wheatgrass to your daily diet you have several options available to you:
- Buy wheatgrass juice daily at the juice bar – unfortunately this is not an option for me (no juice bar…)
- Buy wheatgrass online and have it delivered to your door (perfect if your short of time)
- Or grow your own trays of wheatgrass at home – much more fun (and incredibly cheap)
So here is my step by step guide to sprouting wheatgrass:
Step 1 – Pre Sprout
I would recommend using organic wheatgrass seeds for sprouting to ensure your wheatgrass juice contains the optimum vitamins and minerals that will support your health.
- Measure out your seeds – you will need to estimate how much you will need to fill one layer of seeds on whatever size tray you are using
- Rinse the seeds in clean water, drain and then soak the seeds in a container with about 2-3 times of water
- Soak for about 8-10 hours, I soak mine overnight
Step 2 – Prepare your tray
- Line the bottom of the tray with unbleached paper towels so that the roots do not protrude at the bottom through the holes in the tray
- Fill the tray with moist organic compost or potting mix to about one and half inch of the tray depth
Option 2 (my preferred option – less mess)
- Line your tray with moistened with gardening felt
Step 3 – Planting your seeds
- Lay out the soaked seeds evenly and densely in one layer, on the damp soil/felt in the tray. If you are using soil gently press them into the soil.
- Place your tray under indirect sunlight, your kitchen window sill if perfect - avoid hot direct sunlight.
Step 4 – Watering your wheatgrass
- The young shoots need to be watered at least twice a day to keep them nice and moist. If the soil gets dry, the young shoots may die off before they root.
TIP- To help prevent this, put a sheet of damp newspaper over the tray to keep them moist until they grow to about an inch high.
- To water, use a spray bottle, adjust for a light-medium spray. When the shoots are above one inch, probably about day 5, reduce watering to once a day in the morning. TIP – Ensure that the water is just enough to keep the soil damp to the roots. Avoid over-watering.
- In warmer and humid climates, mould may tend to grow in your wheatgrass tray. This is a common problem but is harmless.
Step 5 – Harvesting your wheatgrass
When your wheatgrass grows to about 6 inches (about day 9 or 10), it is ready for harvesting.
- Use a scissors and cut the wheatgrass just above the seeds. If there is mould, avoid and cut above it. You need about a generous handful of the grass to make about 1 ounce of shot – enough to give you energy for a day.
- Cut just prior to juicing to ensure freshness.
- A tray the size of 21″ x 11″ should be able to provide you enough wheatgrass for about 14-18 ounces of juice.
TIP - You may continue to water the crop to produce a second crop, although it may not be as tender or grow as tall. But you can get extra ounces from it.
Step 6 – Get Juicing
To juice wheatgrass, you need a wheatgrass juicer. A centrifugal juicer is not be able to juice wheatgrass, and you may clog up the strainer in the process as it is very fibrous.
- Rinse your wheatgrass and juice. Do not take more than one ounce a day if you are not familiar with drinking juices.
- Wheatgrass juice is such a powerful cleanser that it may cause you some healing reactions.
TIP – If you find the flavour too strong, after you have had your shot have a slice of orange on hand to eat after your wheatgrass.
Wheatgrass – What’s all the fuss about?
The chances are that you have heard about the wonders of wheatgrass, but what exactly is it?
As obvious as it sounds wheatgrass comes from very young wheat plant. Wheat is a grain, but wheatgrass is considered a vegetable at the stage of development that it is harvested.
Wheatgrass is considered to be a complete food in itself and is unique as in its juice form it contains 70% chlorophyll, which is often referred to as the blood of plant life. This is important because chlorophyll closely resembles the structure of human red blood cells.
Wheatgrass is packed full of nutrients and here are some of its reported nutrients:
- It contains 17 amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins
- The body uses these amino acids for things like building muscle tissue, repairing cells and clotting the blood
- Wheatgrass retains 92 of the 102 minerals found in the soil – including calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and potassium.
- It is a rich natural source of vitamins A and C – wheatgrass has more vitamin C than oranges and twice the vitamin A of carrots.
Ann Wigmore, one of the first people to champion wheatgrass healing, states the following benefits:
- Wheatgrass juice cleanses and builds your blood
- Wheatgrass juice improves skin and hair
- Wheatgrass juice builds muscle and endurance
- Wheatgrass juice fights infections
- Wheatgrass juice lowers blood pressure
- Wheatgrass juice dissolves tumours
- Wheatgrass juice acts as an appetite suppressant
Wheatgrass is a grass and as such its fibrous nature makes it indigestible by humans in its grass form. Therefore wheatgrass must be juiced before it can be consumed.
Wheatgrass has a very distinctive flavour and as such some do not like the taste. I happen to like the taste, but for those that don’t it is available as a powder that can added to water or a juice or smoothie.
Look out for the next wheatgrass instalment where we will look at how to grow your own.