Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wheat Grass Tutorial

photo credit: Opiefoto

I almost never have flowers in my home. I know what you're thinking: Wha??? A floral designer with no flowers?! Sacrilege! At the end of the day, that's just the last thing I want to do. So instead, they just die in my coolers if I don't have time to divvy them out to friends and neighbors. Springtime does make me long for a little perkiness - a little happy pop of color, however, and so once a year or so, I ignore the tulips in the cooler and instead grow myself some wheat grass. Nothing screams Easter like a big bushel of bright green grass...maybe with a few colored eggs at the base?

So without further adieu, I'm providing a quick 6-step tutorial on how to grow (or how I grow) wheat grass:

Step 1

Bust open a bucket of wheat and grab yourself a handful. For anyone who is LDS, this shouldn't be a problem -- we're supposed to rotate this stuff anyway, right? For someone who doesn't have a food storage supply (or doesn't store wheat) just grab a smaller bag from the grocery store. No need to pick up a 45 lb. bucket from Costco. And I figure if you're already making some for yourself, why not make a few cute pots for neighbors in the process? A cup and a half of wheat is more than enough for this purpose.

Step 2

Give the wheat a quick rinse, then place the wheat kernels in an airtight container and cover with water. I like to use these old Pyrex covered loaf pans, but a quart jar will work well, too. Don't put too much wheat into a single container. You don't want it to exceed a half inch...3/4 of an inch max. These things need room to breathe, so in an effort to prevent rot (Tyler's grandma says they "go sour"...and when they rot, they really do smell sour!), distribute the wheat into a few containers.

Step 3

Every day, dump the soaking wheat into a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain it really well, return it to the container, and recover (but don't add any water!). You'll do this for a few days until the wheat gets a good sprout, at which point you're ready to plant it.

Step 4

Fill your planting container with dirt. Any potting soil will work. Tyler's grandma mixes peat moss into her soil, but I haven't found that makes a noticeable difference in growth.
When I'm making grass for a wedding (see photo at the beginning of the post), I need it in large quantities so I plant it by the flat. I do this by cutting down a cardboard box, lining it with tin foil, and filling it with dirt (you only need a few inches of dirt). Then after its grown, I cut the sizes I need from the flat with scissors or a knife and place in the containers I'm using for the event. When I'm doing this for personal decor or gifts, its easier just to plant it directly into the pot I'll be using.

Sprinkle the sprouted wheat on the surface of the dirt. Give it some good coverage so your grass will be thicker. No need to pat it down -- just let it sit on top of the soil.

Step 5

Lightly sprinkle soil on top of your sprouts. LIGHTLY. If you dump a bunch of soil on top of your wheat, it'll grow funky because it'll have to work too hard to break the surface, or it won't grow at all. Just barely cover it. And if you can still see a few berries peeking through the soil, don't worry about it.

Step 6

Put the pots in a warm, bright place and keep moist. I use a spray bottle to water the grass once a day. If you over-water, the wheat will sour.

If the grass is able to grow in the sun, it will grow greener and faster. I don't get a ton of direct sunlight in my north-facing house, but keeping it by the windows on the south side has been sufficient for me. I find it takes about 10 days to get a decent growth. What you see here is probably about two weeks of growth.


And that's it. Easy-peasy. You can use pretty much any type of pot (although I've noticed that the roots tend to mold faster when grown in glass), you can grow it indoors or outdoors, and its a fun project for the kids as well because there's some instant gratification involved. It really does make for an adorable centerpiece or springtime decor feature. Grown in tera cotta pots and tied up with a bright ribbon? Talk about an easy neighbor gift! I even have some friends that have taken my event leftovers and used it in their smoothies and such, because its totally edible. But the best thing about growing wheat grass, is that is so insanely inexpensive. I have a trillion vessels in my work inventory and probably 600 pounds of wheat in our combined food storage, so all it costs me is a small bag of potting mix, and even that goes a long way.

Dare you to try it. Any way you look at it, wheat grass is happy. And happy is good. Especially in the home!

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the tutelage. i've been thinking about doing this but can you believe i have no wheat? we decided to store only what we normally use and so we just stocked flour but i'm moving us to whole wheat flour so i'll need to get a wheat grinder and wheat. *sigh* i hate conforming sometimes.

    oh, and when you need to get rid of inventory, i'll always take some! i was trying to decide today if i should get a massive bouquet of tulips or daffodils for easter dinner. i wish my daffodils were in bloom so i could cut them all down. but they're not so i have to find some decent blooms somewhere.