Kitchen Greens

I bought a packet of buckwheat lettuce seeds a while back thinking that I’d try sprouting them, but then started experimenting to see how I could grow them as kitchen greens. I discounted the traditional kitchen green growing kit with its tray of 30cm square because it would take up too much bench space, and my preference was to avoid soil by growing hydroponically as I have done with some vegetables on my patios.
For my first attempts, I used an inch of perlite in a clear plastic container that greengrocers sell lettuce in. While the greens grew well, my dilemma was that all I could really do with the perlite and matted roots afterwards was dispose of them in the general garbage bin.

Then I found a Décor 900 ml microwave container with lid and tray inside that became the perfect growing environment. After some more experimentation, here are the steps I use to grow kitchen greens hydroponically.
Place a moderately heaped tablespoon of buckwheat lettuce seeds into a jar sprouter and soak in water for 12 hours.
Drain the water off and rinse and then drain again. Place the jar at an angle so that any remaining water will drain off.
Rinse and drain morning and night for the next couple of days.
Place a small amount of water into the Décor container – enough just to cover the bottom of the container. Place the tray inside the container and then spread the sprouted seeds over the tray separating them as much as possible. Cover with lid.
Over the next 2 days, ensure there is always a small amount of water in the bottom of the container. Leave the lid on the container until the seedlings are getting close to the height of the container which should be around about the 2 day mark.
Then check the water level night and morning and add water with some powdered kelp mixed in up to the level of the tray. I use ½ heaped teaspoon of kelp to 1/2 cup of water when watering 3 trays.

After 7 to 8 days in the container, the buckwheat lettuce will be ready to harvest. Once all of the greens in the tray have been harvested, then the remaining stems and matted roots can be pulled off the tray and placed into the compost heap or worm farm. I use an old toothbrush to clean the tray.
So far, buckwheat lettuce has worked out the best for me. When I’m not able to grow salad greens on my patios over summer through lack of sunlight, I have one sprouting jar and 4 Décor containers perpetually in operation so that I have a regular greens supply. My next experiment is to grow barley or wheat grass which can then be included in a daily juice.

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