Urban Agriculture – Starting Small

by OPIRG member Helen Brink

While my first garden was in a third floor window box, I could have started even smaller, and at any time of year. Sprouting edible seeds is easy, quick and greatly increases the food value of the original seeds. They’re great in sandwiches and can make up half or so of your salad.
Food grade seeds are available at bulk and health food stores. Radish, mustard, alfalfa, mung bean are the ones most readily available. Fenugreek is one of my favourites but some people find the smell of fenugreek off-putting. I find mung beans a bit harder to sprout without having them go bad. Mustard is easy.
Take a jar (large jam jar, pickle jar – about half a litre or so) and fill it a third full of water and add about a tablespoon of seed – two tablespoons for large seeds like fenugreek. Soak seeds for 6-8 hours or overnight, then carefully drain off water so as not to lose the seeds. Drain them through a sieve if you have to, but you’ll soon get used to just loosening the lid a bit and letting the water run off slowly. Put on the lid and leave at room temperature but not in direct sunlight. Rinse seed with cool water at least twice a day – three times is better – and watch your crop grow.. Failure is almost always due to no rinsing.

Alfalfa is ready in about 4 days, fenugreek in as little as three. Experiment.