Sunday, August 24, 2008

Starting Bean Sprouts

Two plants I have problems starting from seed in my floating garden are beans and peas. For some reason, they just don't seem to make it above ground. To give them a head start, I've been sprouting the seeds much like I did back in my teaching days. Each spring my kindergarten class would start bean sprouts in milk cartons or plastic bags along the windowsill. The kids learned about plant growth first hand. The also loved giving the green plants to their parents at Open House.

For my bean sprouts I used a glass jar lined with thin cardboard covered with a paper towel. I tucked the seeds about half way down the side of the jar so they would have room to grow. Water in the bottom of the jar wicked up to the seeds and their tender roots. Once the roots appeared I took the jar outdoors during the day to bask in the warm sunshine. At night I brought the jar indoors. This wasn't because of cool evenings, but because the mice on our deck love to nibble the tender shoots.

Once the green leaves appear, the plants are ready to transplant directly into the soil. With this head start, they seem to do fine. Right now I am harvesting my snow peas and they are really prolific. Do you grow peas and beans? Do you have any tips for me? -- Margy


  1. Hi, Margy! I'm sorry have no advice; I'm pretty new to veggie gardening. My own garden consists of herbs, peppers and tomatoes in pots and burlap bags. (I'll be blogging about that sometime in the next few weeks, probably when my tomatoes finally turn red.) But I hope to grow some sugar snap peas next year!

    So, how do you get the sprouts out of the jars without damaging them? I may try that next year for sprouting from seed; this year I tried the coffee filter/baggie method and transferred the shoots to egg carton cups filled with compost. It didn't work as well as I would've liked.

  2. Hi Jena - It's good to hear from you. I would have preferred to use a straight sided jar, but didn't have one handy. After the sprouts started, I bent the cardboard inward so that the stems and leaves could grow upwards without obstruction. When it was time to remove the sprouts, the soft wet cardboard crushed inward to release the small plants without damage. Thanks for asking. - Margy