Feb 2, 2014

Going Green with Fodder

Draining out water.
After the equipment has been sterilized, and the seeds soaked in bleach water for 12 hours, it's time to get serious about making this seed grow into fodder.  One of the handy things about using these reusable jar lids is that I can just loosen them slightly and dump the water out without losing any of the seeds.

The seeds have started to sprout after soaking 12 hours.
Most of the instructions I've seen about growing fodder suggest continuing to soak the seeds for about three days, changing out the water twice a day.  However, when I looked at my seeds after the initial drain, I saw that many of the seeds were already starting to sprout.  So, I decided that it wouldn't hurt to move the seeds to a growing tray right then.  I dumped the drained seeds into one of the washed trays, peeling back a corner of the plastic wrap that I had covering it.
Dumping seeds into tray.


Seeds spread out in the tray.
In order to spread the seeds evenly in the tray without contaminating the seeds, I washed my hands thoroughly.  If you've ever taken a food safety course, you know that truly clean hands is only possible with water as hot as you can stand it and scrubbing with antibacterial soap for at least 20 seconds, especially between the fingers and under the fingernails.  One trick for getting a full 20 seconds of washing is to sing "Happy Birthday" to yourself, twice through.  Follow up with a bit of hand sanitizer, and rub until your hands are completely dry.  I didn't measure exactly how deep my seeds were in the tray, but I know that anything much more than 3/4" tends to mean lack of seed sprouting, and excessive mold. Mine should be well below that, especially since I can still see the black of the tray under the seeds.

Filling the tray with low water pressure.
From there, we use the hydroponic method of flood and drain, which means filling up the tray with water, and then dumping it out.  Even though the sprouts just came out of a soak, I did a flood and drain to help remove any traces of bleach that might still be on the seeds.  While the seeds are still in the sprouting stage, some of the seeds try to float and escape the container as I'm dumping it out, but I use the plastic sheet as a kind of dam filter to keep the floaters in the tray.
Draining off the water.


Covered back up with plastic.
Temp at the growing shelf.
After dumping, I covered the tray back up with the plastic wrap, and set the tray at the growing station, which was at just over 64 degrees at the time.

Every twelve hours, I repeated the flood and drain.  Each day, the sprouts could be seen getting just a little bit longer, and after 3 days in the tray, I was starting to see green in the shoots.
After 24 hours in the growing tray.
After 48 hours in the growing tray.
After 72 hours (3 days) in the growing tray.