(B) Get yourself a plastic bowl that the collander/strainer
fit into and be completely surrounded.
The strainer will hold (for two trays per week) 5
full cups of
unsoaked (hard) wheatberries. Make sure the collander/strainer
has small enough openings to NOT let the seeds fall through.
(C) Take the collander (strainer) and place it inside the larger
bowl and fill the collander (strainer) with 5 cups of seeds.
(D) Fill the container (seeds
inside strainer inside bowl) with
water to completely submerge the seeds with an inch or so of
water OVER the top level of the seeds, it will all be soaked up.
(E) Add about a teaspoon/tablespoon
of kelp juice to the bowl
and mix throughly -- let soak for 12 hours. Note that some
people only soak for 6 or 8, I accidentally found that 12 (for
me) seems to create a more aggressive seed.
The logical argument behind the 6-8 hours is that it would
simulate a few days of natural rain if the seed was in the
ground, the choice is yours.
(F) After 12 hours (you don't have to be precise/exact with the
time) drain the water, or save it for your plant water. Then
cover the two bowls with a plate or towel to simulate darkness,
or what the seeds think is that they are underground/soil now.
(G) Once a day take the bowls and fill
it up to the top with
water, swish the seeds around then drain -- you must keep the
seeds damp not to let them dry out. You do that till they
sprout a tail. The tail should grow till it's about at least
the same length of the seed, or 1.5 times longer -- again, it's
not a thing where you bring out a micrometer to measure, just
look and guess.
That period should take you about 3-4 days max.
When you rinse the seeds daily take the time to fully submerge
the strainer, or what I do is just flood the two bowls at once and
then and let them "swim" in the water for a second. There was
a few times where I forgot to check the seeds and the new roots
had become inter-twined and I had to dump the whole seed "ball"
into a very large pot to gently wiggle the seeds free
from themselves as to not rip the baby roots off the seedlings
which would have set me back a week. (think about it)
(H) For planting the seeds I take a 2/1 or 3/1 ratio of Organic
Potting Soil to Earthworm Castings and then cut out a piece of
newspaper to lay into the bottom of the tray first, that will
not let the soil fall through and will dissolve later.
I mix my soil in a clean
5 gallon paint bucket -- fill it up
about 3/8 of the way with the potting soil, another 1/8 or so
with castings and mix them by hand. A 5 gallon paint bucket
filled about 5/8th of the way full yields enough to fill two
trays within a 1/2" of the top which is how much soil I use. I
hear suggestions of only using 1" of soil but I don't.
(I) Take your drained
newly sprouted seedlings and divide them
in half by just dumping them into the middle of your trays
filled with soil. Use the backs of your hands/fingers to sweep
the seeds evenly over all the soil. I put enough seed in so you
can't see any soil not worrying about seeds slightly laying on
(J) Take the new trays
out into your hothouse and get two empty
trays ready for you will cover the seeds with a cover and lay
some dark towel on top of the covers so you will end up seeing
your two trays full of seeds and soil, two empty trays turned
upside down on top of the trays and then the dark towel covering
the two trays to keep sunlight out.
(K) Before you put the
cover on the trays you will give them one
GOOD watering with a "drizzle" bucket with a mixture of water
and kelp juice -- you will only use this kelp/water mixture for
it's first watering, from then on just use regular water. I
douse the soil good and that will keep it moist for the one full
week or so that it will take for the baby grass to grow (in
the dark) up from the first tray and then another 2-1/2" or so
till they are "bumping" against the top of your upside-down
trays with the towel/board on top.
The grass shoots will be bright yellow or light
green but need
to be about 2-1/2" tall before you expose them to the filtered
light from the greenhouse.
The day you plant the seeds into the trays is the day you need
to start soaking again, and the beat goes on.....
Here is the whole setup with three generations of seeds growing.
Mature ones on the left, teenagers in the middle, juveniles on
the right. In the above photo I was actually taking the cover
off the grass shoots when they just touched the bottom of the
trays, they were not yet tall enough for full light exposure but
we were scheduled for a full week of fog so I didn't have to
worry about burning the baby leaves which happen very easily.
I singed the tops of my current trays do to the last heat wave
and I'm not sure if I can get them to recover.