View Full Version : Growing your own RAW
03-21-2006, 12:18 PM
I live in an area that has basic grocery stores. The produce we do have is not very fresh because it has to be shipped in.
Has anyone had any success in growing micro greens or other raw food items indoors?
Our normal growing season is only a little over two months. The farmers market in the summer is sadly lacking produce or variety. I haven't seen a homegrown tomato more than once or twice in two years. :(
I would love to be 100% raw but I get tired of wilted lettuce, celery and apples.
Any suggestions or websites that would help??
03-21-2006, 01:18 PM
Frozen, where do you live?
How much space do you have.. a basement maybe?
03-21-2006, 04:11 PM
If you have as much free space as a dinner plate somewhere you can grow all the highly nutritious sprouts a person could want, and for only pennies. I think for most people sprouting is the most underappreciated and underexplored aspect of raw food eating.
And just so you know, sprouts can be grown anywhere, even underground, and a full spectrum grow lamp ($15 at Home Depot for a basic one) can be used to green them up even if you have no sun. Survivalists of various ilk stock up on bulk seeds in their shelters to use for growing nutritious green sprouts, even underground.
Sprouts are quick and easy to grow, cheap, and very good for you. Detailed directions are available all over the internet, but basically you just put some seeds in a bowl, soak overnight, then rinse & drain them two or three times a day for 3 or 4 days, keeping them covered so they don't dry out, then once they get a nice sprout put them in light so they green up for a day and then eat! Easy peasy!
Give it a try!
03-21-2006, 04:15 PM
Hi, we have many gardens, and we are in the Pacific Northwest, not the tropics, so our growing season isn't too long, but adequate.
We also sprout, and yes we make many wonderful meals out of the things we grow and sprout.
We also collect wild edibles, I don't know where you live, but I'd be happy to look and see what wild edibles grow in your area. just let me know your location.
03-21-2006, 05:01 PM
I live in northeastern North Dakota. Ranches and beet farms all around.
Thank you for tip on the grow light. I will get one and start sprouting.
We don't have a basement and the garage is too cold. I guess I need to get creative and stop thinking of food coming from the store or market.
I love being outdoors, foraging would be fun and help teach me along with my children the things that are available all around us to eat. Any tips on what to look for would be greatly appreciated.
The more I read on this board the more I believe I can do this :)
Thanks for the help.
03-21-2006, 05:15 PM
I also am interested in growing, but live in DC in a 500 square foot apartment. Space is super limited!
I have been considering sprouts recently. I'd love to be able to get cheap healthy stuff! I am also considering this wheat grass kit I saw at the health food store. Does anyone have any knowledge aboput these? I am not much of a green thumb, so I like the idea of the kit. It is only $30...
But what can I use wheat grass for? I do not own/ want to own a juicer, food processer or dehydrater. I like lots of salads, smoothies and whole, fresh fruit.
03-21-2006, 05:24 PM
your question was really good. I live in southern Illinois but I don't have any outdoor space worth anything.....if someone reads this maybe they can post some thoughts on indoor gardening, or the types of herbs or things that grow best out of pots indoors.....
03-21-2006, 05:39 PM
But what can I use wheat grass for? I do not own/ want to own a juicer, food processer or dehydrater. I like lots of salads, smoothies and whole, fresh fruit. Unfortunately wheatgrass is very tough, and hard to get juice out of, so you need at least a manual juicer or a high speeb blender to be able to access the goodness in it. And wheatgrass is probably the hardest of all the dozens of things I sprout to be able to get consistent results from. So I would not recommend it as the best choice for your situation.
But Ann Wigmore ranked dandelion greens almost as high as wheatgrass in healing properties, and dandelion is now readily availble and inexpensive in many produce sections, and can easily be incorporated into salads and such. And if you are careful not to pick anything that has been sprayed you can find it wild almost everywhere. But personally I prefer the organic, purpose grown bunches in the stores, which can easily be 2 feet long at peak season.
And other green sprouts like broccoli and clover and radish can be grown in days in the tiniest of spaces. There's even a compact sprouter that looks like a big Slurpy cup called the Easy Sprouter that works surprising well. Here's a link for that: http://www.sproutpeople.com/devices/ez/easysprout.html
And maybe easiest of all, soak a tablespoon or two of organic fenugreek seeds (found in the spice section of most natural foods stores) in water overnight, then keep moist, and rinse several times a day, and as soon as they have little tails (1 - 3 days) start eating a big pinch of them each day. They are a powerful detox agent and liver cleanser. They do taste very strange, and I do recommend putting them in the fridge to slow them down once they sprout because they keep getting stronger. But they are very good for you.
As to the wheatgrass kits, I don't think they are such a good deal. The three trays are maybe $2.50 each at a good garden store, the red winter wheat you buy from the bulk section will be fresher, and cost you maybe $1.50 for enough for three batches, a small bag of sphagnum peatmoss for $5, and a bottle of organic kelp fertilizer for $7-8 and what's left? The instruction booklet, some of which are OK, but some of which are totally bogus. You'd be better off following instructions online from people who really know their stuff, like Pam Free at http://www.growwheatgrass.com/
03-22-2006, 10:33 AM
There are many wild edibles available and the growing season is just now starting. Dandelion greens are easy to identify and may other plants considered to be 'weeds' are excellent in a salad! You can find good wild edible books at www.bookfinder.com and if you need some titles, let me know.
Shivananda (or anyone else who knows), I have a question -- what do people mean by 'buckwheat lettuce'? Ann Wigmore and others talk about it.
Is it just the ordinary buckwheat that we sprout and use for breads etc? I'd like to grow some little leafy sprouts of it to add to salads with the baby sunflower shoots which I'm also trying to grow. My fingers are turning greener by the minute!
I love the spicy taste of sprouted fenugreek -- but a little goes a long way.
Just want to say that I really appreciate your expression of the male point of view on these boards and all the detailed info you share -- thanks!
03-24-2006, 03:42 PM
Ya know, I sprout buckwheat into greens but have never quite understood the "lettuce" part myslef. Maybe I should try growing them longer. If they'd just last that long around here. :)
And I earlier made a mistake in a post above about fenugreek which I've edited out. Nursing mothers actually take fenugreek deliberately to stimulate milk production.
Here's some innersting facts about Fenugreek from breastfeeding.com :)
This ancient herb may help increase your milk production
What is fenugreek? - Fenugreek is one of the world's oldest medicinal herbs. It has a variety of uses, including increasing breastmilk production.
Where does it grow? - Fenugreek is indigenous to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, but it is grown in India, Morocco, Egypt and England. The herb can grow to be about two feet tall. It blooms white flowers in the summer and has very aromatic seeds.
What is it used for ? - Fenugreek seeds are ground and roasted and used to flavor to curry. The seeds are also soaked and then powdered and used to make lip balm and tonic. The seeds can be used to make tea, which can reduce fever and menstrual pains, or they can be used in an ointment to treat skin infections. The seeds have also been used to increase libido in men and serve as an aphrodisiac. Ground seeds are often used to give a maple flavor to sweets and candies. Ground seeds are also used to flavor cattle food, including different vegetable meals and hays. Fenugreek's leaves, which are high in iron, are used in salads. Taken internally, fenugreek is used to treat bronchitis, coughs, respiratory problems, sinus conditions and to increase milk supply (see more below).
Fenugreek in history - The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used Fenugreek for medicinal and culinary purposes. According to Kathleen E. Huggins, RN, MS, director of the Breastfeeding Clinic at San Luis Obispo General Hospital, fenugreek was one of the major ingredients of Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, a popular 19th century cure-all for "female complaints."
Fenugreek and breastfeeding - Fenugreek seeds contain hormone precursors that increase milk supply. Scientists do not know for sure how this happens. Some believe it is possible because breasts are modified sweat glands, and fenugreek stimulates sweat production. It has been found that fenugreek can increase a nursing mother's milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb. Once an adequate level of milk production is reached, most women can discontinue the fenugreek and maintain the milk supply with adequate breast stimulation. Many women today take fenugreek in a pill form (ground seeds placed in capsules). The pills can be found at most vitamin and nutrition stores and at many supermarkets and natural foods stores. Fenugreek can also be taken in tea form, although tea is believed to be less potent than the pills and the tea comes with a bitter taste that can be hard to stomach.
Fenugreek is not right for everyone. The herb has caused aggravated asthma symptoms in some women and has lowered blood glucose levels in some women with diabetes.
03-24-2006, 06:38 PM
For all those who live in small apartments, you can grow your own delicious herbs/greens with just a little work!
I live in a smallish apartment (no balcony) in Canada - hardly any growing season here. I grow sprouts almost all the time (mixture of clover, alfalfa, and radish, as well as fenugreek, lentils, mung beans, quinoa, and adzuki beans) Not that I have all these at once - but they are the ones I use most often. Sometimes I mix different seeds/beans that have similar soaking/growing times and sprout them together. Sprouts are SO cheap, SO healthy, and SO easy to grow !
I also grow herbs year round in my windowsill. I use a grow light (since the light is so weak here in the winter) and they do really well. Especially the cilantro (my favourite), parsley, and lately - the basil. I would recommend growing your own herbs - just pick and add to anything. You can also dry them, if there is too much.
I am also growing cherry tomatoes right now - but I haven't had a chance to try them yet! For the tomatoes, I use supplemental full spectrum grow lights during the day - they seem to be doing well so far. I have grown hot peppers in the past, but I had a south facing window (more direct sunlight) - so I don't know how they would fare in my apartment. Come to think of it, I am going to try getting some going!
Also, I love the look of green plants growing around my apartment while it's 30 below outside!
The only downfall is that the quantities are much smaller. I buy parsley, as I will use half to a whole bunch in just one green smoothie - my potted parsley would be gone in one morning :D
So don't let that apartment stop you!
This is very interesting. Thanks Shivananda and rawcananadgirl for the info. I will try growing buckwheat. The info on fenugreek and breast milk is fascinating but too late for me unfortunately (my babes are grown up!)
03-25-2006, 02:10 PM
Easiest and most alive that can be grown year round anywhere are baby greens and sprouts. Baby greens are one step past sprouts and the easiest are buckwheat and sunflower. You neeed raw viable seeds still with the hulls on. Grow in a tray with an inch (more or less is okay too) of soil, you can use peat moss and vermiculate and mix in some compost or soil from under the leaves in the woods if you want. Soak a cup of seeds overnight, lay on top of moist soil, seeds touching but not overlapping too much, cover with another tray or slip inside a plastic bag to keep in moisture. In about three days, take off covering and water every day or so. Ready in a week, Clip with scissors when the plants have two leaves opened up. Originated by Victoras Kulvinskas when working with Ann Wigmore at Hippocrates. I've been growing these over the last thirty years, they are quick and easy and so vibrant! Grow! Enjoy!
virginia -- raw buckwheat and sunflower seeds 'with the hulls on' -- sorry to be so ignorant, but does that mean different ones from the type we normally use in cooking (and sprout)? And where do you get these?
I have read about Ann Wigmore's green soup made with them, and want to try them...
03-25-2006, 03:53 PM
virginia -- raw buckwheat and sunflower seeds 'with the hulls on' but does that mean different ones from the type we normally use in cooking
The sunflower seeds with the hulls are black when you get them and they shed the black hull as they grow. Most of them do not fully shed and it is a fair bit of work to remove them. I sometimes look at the bowl after and think "is this all I get after all that work". I sprout them in water and I think that they may shed better if grown in soil.
03-26-2006, 08:33 AM
Lily, Yes, they are different. For cooking and simple sprouting in water the outer hull has been removed. I get mine through the mail from Jaffe Brothers, they have an excellent assortment of seeds for sprouting and growing greens. If you are not sure, ask the operator and she will tell you which ones are for growing in soil. As for the sunflower, there are two kind, the gray and white striped and the black. The striped usually give bigger greens, the black are smaller but sometimes a better rate of viability. If you keep the trays reasonably warm and wait long enough, you can run your hands over the top and many of the remaining hulls will fall off. If it is cold and they are growing slower, yes, you will get a wider range of growth for the individual plants and may have a lot of hulls left. Do not let them grow four leaves or they will be a little too course and bitter. Good luck!
03-26-2006, 08:34 AM
P.S. You can also get these in any garden supply or feedstore, but be sure they are untreated. I like mine organic and you want to be sure your sources have ones fresh enough to be viable. That's why I choose Jaffe.
03-26-2006, 03:15 PM
I feel for you. I live in northern MI and until the Meijer came to us I could'nt get nice produce either. If you still want lettuce or other greens with your sprouts, fill your largest pan or a dishpan 3/4 full with cold water and soak your lettuce until it is crisp. It will get crisp. I have to do this with swiss chard every time I buy it. With swiss chard I just put the stems into the water.
Thank you all so much for the info about the seeds for growing. You've inspired me to have a try!
03-27-2006, 08:59 PM
Something interesting about fenugreek, it is used to flavor butterscotch chips. It smells wonderful. I have a spicy seed mix for sprouting with fenugreek in it.
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