|Fodder from one of our former runs at it.|
If you want to learn more about fodder, Peak Prosperity is where I first read about it. There are many other resources available online, with a few different methods. My own method differs somewhat from the method they discuss, and I'm considering eventually going to an automated system for it once I get the kinks worked out.
|Boiling jars to sterilize them.|
The first few times, I've soaked the seed (whole grain wheat, bought from the feed store) in plastic tubs, similar to how The Urban Rabbit Project does it (he uses margarine tubs). This time, since I'm wanting to sterilize everything, I figure it's best to use some of my canning jars, which I can boil without risking any chemicals leaching where they shouldn't be. Just like in canning, I put clean (read: no visible residue, washed in soap and hot water) jars into hot (not boiling) water in a deep pot on the stove. I also put some reusable jar lids in the water to sterilize. You want the water to be at least an inch above the top of the jars. I don't have a canning rack, otherwise I would have used it. A canning rack will keep multiple jars from bumping into each other while the water is boiling, and also make it easier to remove them from the water when they're done. Once the water starts into a rolling boil, start your timer. For elevations under 1,000 feet, it only takes 10 minutes. If you're over that, add another minute for each 1,000 feet. So, if you're at 4,000 feet above sea level, you'll want to boil for at least 14 minutes. Extra time just means extra sterile.
|Removing jar with a jar lifter.|
|Fill the jar 3/4 with seed.|
|Give the jar a good shake.|
|Temperature within optimum range.|
In the meantime, I wanted to sterilize the trays that the seed will be going into when they're done soaking. I'm using nursery trays bought from the local hardware store. Other people have used organizer trays, plastic totes, disposable roasting pans, and other things. Many people punch holes in their trays, but for the time being, I'm leaving mine as-is.
|Bleaching the seedling tray.|
Since I'm taking extra precautions to control the growing environment and reduce the risk of mold, I then covered the tray with plastic wrap and taped it down. If I had thought about it when I bought the trays, I should have grabbed the clear plastic lids that come with them. At the time, I didn't think I would ever use them (oops). The plastic wrap will keep anything from getting into the trays while we wait for the seeds to sprout.
|Plastic wrap taped down to keep contaminates out.|