Tag Archives | Food

Growing Sprouting Seeds for Salads and Stir Fry

Seeds that have germinated and grown roots (radicles) and sprouts (plumules) can add flavour and texture to your meals. They do not take up space in your garden and can be grown all year round.

Bean sprouts in Chinese restaurants are crispy additions to the flavours and textures of your meal. The trick to growing long crisp sprouts is to grow them under pressure. In a dark, free draining container put a half inch layer of bean seeds, cover with a damp cloth and put a one pound weight on top. Rinse daily under a tap and 4-5 days later they will be ready to eat.

Open sprouting can be done like our childhood mustard and cress on a foam base covered with layers of paper towels or on moist cotton wool. Cover with tin foil to exclude the light and germinate in a warm spot.  Method 2 Put some seeds in the bottom of ajar and cover with water to soak for twelve hours. The seeds will expand a lot as they grow. Half to one inch (1cm – 2cm) of dried seeds will usually fill a jar. It varies between seeds – radish expand more than sunflowers.
After twelve hours rinse the seeds in room temperature water then drain the water leaving seeds damp. Repeat every 12 hours for 3-4 days until ready to eat.

There is a wide variety of seeds that can be eaten as sprouts or seedlings but do not eat legumes to excess. Legumes, particularly  Broad beans and French beans are  slightly toxic. Corriander, Leeks and Onions can be eaten as seedlings. Cereals are only eaten as very small sprouts. All Brassicas can be eaten as seedlings.  Buy from health food shops or specialist suppliers and keep seed cool and dry until ready to use. Below is a table of some suitable plants for sprouting.

Common Name Days to Sprout Length when edible
Lima beans 3-5 12-25 mm
Mung Beans 3-5 12- 75 mm
Fenugreek 3-5 12-50 mm
Lentil 2-4 6-20 mm
Alfalfa 1-4 very tiny
Clover 2-5 very tiny
Buckwheat 3-5 tiny
Radish 2-4 12-25 mm
Barley & Rye 3-5 very tiny
Sunflower 1-3 12-38 mm
Sweet Corn 1-3 6-12 mm



Cabbages as Ornamentals and Flowers

London 083

These long stemmed cabbage flowers were in a large bunch at a local florist. Doubtless they were flown into England from many carbon miles away but you can easily grow your own  ornamental cabbage.

Growing Ornamental Cabbage

  • Large ornamental plants with frilled edges and an ornamental coloured heart. Colour vary with cream, pink and maroon being popular.
  • Sow seeds in spring for summer bedding or summer for late autumn planting to replace summer bedding. Sow seeds 1/16in deep in a good seed compost. Germination takes 14-21 days
  • When large enough to handle, transplant to 3in pots. Harden off spring sown plants and plant out 12-18in apart in the border. Pot up summer sown plants into 5in pots or containers and stand out of doors on a sheet of polythene to prevent root penetration into the soil.
  • Water regularly and give weak doses of a high Nitrogen fertiliser every 14 days. Plant out in late summer in beds, window boxes, containers, etc.
  • The leaf colour change occurs as the night temperature drops in late summer.
  • In late winter they produce a tall flower spike which makes an unusual floral decoration.

Cabbage Northern Lights F1 Seeds from Thompson Morgan
Nutritional Information

  • Eaten raw or cooked, cabbages are an excellent source of Vitamin C.
  • Try to use all healthy outer leaves as the darkest green leaves contain the most nutrients.
  • Ornamental cabbages are edible when young  although the flavour can be rather strong.
  • Vary the colour of your coleslaw with some chopped ornamental leaves.

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