Spring into Sprouts! Earth Day Every Day


One of the Many Earth Day Logos

Sprouting is a great project to delve into, especially if you have no backyard garden to plant flowers and veggies. We have a patio, and my husband plants the flowers while I grow the herbs and some veggies. But “baby greens,” also called spoil sprouts, gourmet sprouts, or micro-greens can be done on your windowsill. By sprouting organic seeds, you are growing locally and organically. How good is that?


Ready to harvest! Sunflower on the left and buckwheat on the right.

Tools: Bowls for soaking seeds, strainers, small plastic tubs, organic garden soil, paper towels, dark plastic bags,

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Find some small containers, such as tubs from strawberries, tofu, or other foods that come in plastic containers. Wash and dry and fill with potting soil. (I buy organic soil from a local nursery and also may be able to obtain composted soil.)
  2. Soak about 1/2 cup of seeds of choice in jars or bowls overnight. Next day, strain and leave in the strainer to sprout a little before planting, maybe one or to days, rinsing the seeds at least once each day. You may not see any “tails” yet.
  3. On the second or third day, fill the tubs with soil and add water to soil to moisten. Spread the seeds onto the soil, shoulder-to-shoulder, that is, don’t worry about spacing. Moisten a piece of paper towel twice the size of the tub and fold in half over the seeds.  Moisten the paper towel. Cover with a dark plastic bag and tie off the end and then place on a warm windowsill. Check in 24 hours. If the paper towel is dry, moisten and place tub back in its mini-greenhouse.
  4. In 3 or 4 days you should see the black plastic looking higher than when you first planted the seeds. Time to remove the paper towel and black plastic and let the seeds sprout on your windowsill, giving them some water at least every other day or every day is the temperature on the sill dries out the soil.

Here are the micro-greens while they are still growing.
The black hulls are beginning to fall off.

5. By the time one week has passed, more or less depending on the temperature on your sill and whether or not it is a sunny window, the hulls will probably fall off by themselves and land on your windowsill, so putting a small tray under the tubs may be a good idea.

6. You can start cutting down the tallest sprouts and let the shorter ones come up now that they are not “shaded” by the earlier sprouts. The ones you cut down will not grow back, but you will get a second harvest from the shorter ones that were shaded by the earlier sprouts.

7. The micro-greens are full of nutrients, since if they were placed in the ground, they would become plants. And since they are eaten raw, none of the nutrients are destroyed, so only cut down what you can use each day, keeping them “alive” in the soil.

Add micro-greens to salads, sandwiches, as garnish for soups, sprinkled on celery stuffed with nut butters, in wraps and just to munch on!


This is a cooking-by-the-strings of your apron recipe, because a lot depends on the house temperature, the quality of the seeds, and “getting to know” what the seedlings need. I also soaked and planted peas to make pea shoots, and they spoiled before they sprouted and I had to compost them. So don;t worry if the first couple of times you have problems. You can email me at: menupause.info@gmail with questions.


Bloom Microgreens: Small is Bountiful

Announcement: I am now posting each essay, profile, recipe both on my Home Page and the cartegory it fits. My daughter-in-law suggested this change so that those who are not subscribers (See Subscribe/Unsubscribe on right hand side of Home Page) will see the posting when it is first published, rather than hunt for it.  This one is designated for Profiles.

Note: While visiting my older daughter in San Luis Obispo (SLO), CA last winter, I watched an infomercial about Central Coast businesses. One that captured my eye was Bloom Microgreens in Los Osos, about 10 miles from SLO, because of my own sprouting operation in Central Pennsylvania with my first husband. I contacted the owner and on our next trip back to SLO at the end of July, I went to Bloom with my husband and interviewed the owner, Kara Wood.

Kara Wood, owner of Bloom Microgreens in Central California

On the outskirts of the tiny town of Los Osos in Central California are two greenhouses surrounded by farmland and equipment. Here, Kara Wood, a “micro-entrepreneur,” tends 30 varieties of her microgreens, grown in soil in small flats in rows or cuplike containers in the flats. With the help of one other person, Laura, this seven-day-a-week mini-farm operation produces thousands of microgreens, microherbs, and shoots, for 25 restaurants and groceries in the area (plus a few on the California coast to whom she ships the microgreens), whose chefs use them to garnish soups, sandwiches, and entrees. Kara packages the hand cut greens in clamshells with coffee filters lining the shell to absorb excess moisture. They are delivered weekly. Her trademarked motto is “Big Flavors in Small Packages.”

Started in 2008 in her garage, Kara now has a thriving “green business” in which these caviar greens, as she also calls them, are planted on a rotating basis and watered with a specially designed wand using a thin spray of water. It is called a rain cane and is inexpensive and water-friendly. (The rain cane is a special hand-held wand invented by Ross Shrigley that seems to be very ecological. (Google Ross Shrigley/rain cane for You Tube demos or go to www.raincane.com) The soil is from a local farmer and after the harvest, the stems and soil are composted. This business truly reflects the concept of small is beautiful and bountiful.

As a former co-owner of a soil-free sprouting operation in the 1980s and early 1990s, also started in our garage, I know how intense this operation is, much like a dairy farmer that has to milk all the cows daily, no exceptions! The planting is done on a rotating basis, so there are always greens to water and harvest. Watering is two to three times daily, depending on the season, using the rain cane described above.

If you go to the website, http://www.bloommicrogreens.com, you can click on the Products category to see all the varieties available as well as more photos of this micro-business. There are also other categories to explore: Recipes, Testimonials, and additional information about Kara and the company. I think you will find the information interesting and exciting. Kara’s company is growing an enormous amount of greens in a very small space and making it a thriving business.

In addition, Kara is a new mom with two older children and is “sprouting” the business almost single-handedly, with part-time help from Laura and Kara’s two older children. The name of her company is perfect, because she “blooms” with enthusiasm and energy, as both my husband and I noticed right away. While interviewing Kara on a beautiful California morning, she excused herself to check on her baby daughter sleeping soundly nearby. She started the business as a single mom, and is now remarried with a baby. Kara’s husband is a contractor and is supportive of Kara’s endeavors.

To me, Bloom is a wonderful example of a woman-owned business that has a positive impact on the food industry and the environment. From what I learned, I believe that there is plenty of “room to bloom,” as Kara would like to expand her business to include kits to provide customers the ability to grow their own organic microgreens at home. For those of us living in the colder climates, this would allow us to have fresh greens year round. Kara may just be at the brink of her own bountiful green revolution!

P.S. before leaving, Kara packed us enough microgreens for a party! We ate them as a salad at my daughter’s for dinner. Then I left half the greens for my daughter, who loves sprouts, and took my half to L.A. on the last leg of our trip. They lasted another six days and were delicious!


*My subtitle is a spin-off of a book I read 25 years ago called Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher, first published in 1989 and still available in print.

+The photos of microgreens are from the Internet. My photos taken @ Bloom seem to have disappeared from my camera!


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