The animals and I are all so sick of waiting for the grass to grow! Time to take things in hand and grow our own forage inside (in my shower actually).   I should call this how to feed a farm from your shower!


Even Poppy was out there yesterday desperately looking for some green to munch on.


She always loses her hair when she is pregnant. Her temperature rises I guess.

Today is the last day for the cold Easterly that has been blowing into her pen for weeks now  – slowly, slowly it will turn to the South. She hates it when I shut her door so we will all be grateful. But that cold wind was brutal.


Anyway, I am going to start growing sprouts in earnest this week. It takes seven days to get from the beginning to the end of a batch.  Jake makes pea and sunflower shoots to sell to the lucky people on his List and I realised I have everything I need to make my own shoots for my own animals.    I have already bought a bag each of whole seed, animal feed grade (because it is cheap) ; oats, barley, fieldpeas, sunflowers and wheat for sowing in the fields.  So I am dipping into those bags.

I have buckets with holes in them for the draining.

I have old seed trays that I will clean up with a little bleach and some scrubbing.

I found an old second hand restaurant grade metal shelf with one wheel missing on ebay.

And my shower is big enough for growing the sprouts and has a hand-held nozzle for watering. (I may have to take a deep breath to squeeze past the shelf into the shower (once it arrives), but I designed it for washing dogs and myself, so it is quite big enough for a 6 foot high set of shelves. Also all the watering water will drain into the grey water tanks outside that we use to water the Kitchens Garden.


So the set up took nothing more than Thinking. Everything is here.  And the shelves are on their way.

If I stick to it I will look for better trays – the seed trays will not stand up to much hard work, I think.

The rule of thumb is to feed about 2% of your animals body weight in sprouts. (Of course we will have to introduce these slowly to the pig’s diet as they have not had greens for some time).  One pound of barley seed will produce 6-7 pounds of sprouts.  (Though the barley seed I bought did not sprout in it’s test so I am soaking a mix of oats and wheat – both of which grew very well in the test). All this seed will have been stored in cold sheds over winter as it is feed seed – raw and dirty from the fields. OK – back to maths –

The pigs in the field are almost 200 pounds and the sows way over three hundred plus little pigs and chickens and Manu.  So that is over 2000 pounds of animal. So I need 40 pounds of forage a day.  FOUR trays.

So I will sprout four pounds of seed a day.

Remember it takes SEVEN days,  so in a week I will have seven times four trays in some stage of production.  What is that – um.  7×4=28.  (Thank goodness I can still chant my times tables). poppy-029

Yikes – 28 trays –  well,  we will see.  OH NO! Scrap that. The first two days of growing are in BUCKETS. So we need twenty trays – much better.  And if I can stack the trays for day THREE  then we only have sixteen growing on the racks.

Is my maths keeping up?  We will see, I am only on Day TWO and you are still on Day ONE.  You live in my past.  Let’s see what happens.

Tane will LOVE sprouts!

Though labour intensive sprouting grains does two very important things – it changes the nutritional makeup of the grains to a product with less sugar and more protein, more palatable, alive, healthy,  etc.  Sprouting grains for hogs.

And it will be cheaper and at this time of year with the farm running on egg sales we need to be careful with the feed money. I feed a lot of hay to the pigs for their greens and will continue to do so for their roughage, but way less dry grain. Here is another good read. 

OK – I will take you through the week WITH me.

DAY ONE.  1. Put the seeds in a bucket, wash with water and 1/2 a tsp of bleach (or peroxide or vinegar) in a five gallon bucket of water to kill any moulds that came in with the seed, drain and rinse until grains are clean, then cover with clean water and soak for 12 – 24 hours. The soaking seeds are in a bucket with a hole in it that is inside a bucket without a hole. When I sign off here I will go and lift the full holey bucket up and set it on the shower floor to drain. Then give the grains another good wash and leave to sit in the bucket for another 24 hours, occasionally washing.

Also,  I START ANOTHER BATCH every day.

Have a lovely day.


WEATHER: Rain coming. But it is warmer so the rain is a good thing.  Note the wind! Poppy will be pleased.

Monday 03/26 100% / 0.19 inPartly cloudy early then becoming cloudy with periods of rain this afternoon. High 53F. Winds SE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 100%.

Monday Night 03/26 100% / 0.64 inPeriods of rain. Low 47F. Winds S at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall around a half an inch.

6:46 am 7:11 pm
Waxing Gibbous, 71% visible1:56 pm 3:47 am



55 Comments on “SPROUTING GRAINS

  1. I don’t know if it is cost prohibitive but using hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach is probably healthier for the animals and puts oxygen into the grain as well as the critters. It’s worth a little research because chlorine can kill the good gut microbes in anything living. Hydrogen peroxide isn’t as bad.

    • This is why there is chlorine in your town water and a trace in the washing water for commercial fruits and vegetables and even pork and chicken. All the big packhouses. Not nice but essential when working with large amoounts. However, the bleach or peroxide or vinegar is washed straight across the grain in the first wash, before soaking, cleaning it of spores and molds from the storage – then of course there are seven more days of thrice daily washing so I feel confident I will grow a good product. (Thank you for your input though – I have gone back and clarified this – adding your peroxide option – to avoid anyone else being confused). Have a good one. c

  2. Wow. This is a NEW adventure, and I am quite excited by it. Does all the bleach wash out? I would think it would be quite bad for them…I love it that you can still think. Sometimes I think my thinking doesn’t think so well anymore.

    • The 1/2 teaspoon of bleach is washed off yes- (remember there is chlorine in your town water but not in my well water) when I get a fresh bag I can change to vinegar – but mold would be very bad for the pigs especially pregnant ones like Poppy – so I will be careful. c

  3. We do sprout for ourselves, so delicious and healthy! Very exciting to hear about it happening for the animals too!

  4. I vaguely remember a sprouting program for my human family way back when from those new & intriguing cookbooks of the late ’60s & ’70s. I think I had special sprouting apparatus & I piled them all over our dinners. Husband & son never enthusiastic. In the end I bought small bunches for myself & then I guess I forgot to. It was fun watching the sprouts growing & surely they were very good for us. Hmmmmmm.

  5. I used to sprout grains all winter for the layers – they loved it. Barley and oats did the best for me – wheat took too long. Excellent idea.

    • I am buying another bag of barley from another supplier today – hopefully it was stored better – this bag I have is definitely dead. Barley seems to be the most popular in my research.

  6. I used to sprout grains for my chooks in seed trays, and turn out a whole mat of them in the chook pen every so often in the winter when the grass wasn’t growing. Pandemonium reigned as they all scrambled for the fresh green pick. It’s one of those natural miracles, that a small and starchy little fragment can turn into a huge, nourishing, protein filled bouquet of leaves.

  7. I read an article somewhere about a farmer who had a large sprout growing operation for his animals. It worked very well for him. This sounds like a great idea. I hope it is successful. My mother used to grow sprouts for us and I did for a while when I left home. They are good on a sandwich…crunchy!

  8. Look forward to this as well- I made one feable, unsuccessful attempt at fodder. They were slow sprouting and molding- i didn’t know about mold coming in on them. I’ve learned something already. Thank you. I’d like to try it again and will look into vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
    I wish we could tell the animals-“please eat slowly and savor each blade of grass”.

  9. I like living in your past.* It’s an adventure, and I learn things, but they’re already sorted by the time I get to read about them, so it’s more like reading a novel– living vicariously: experiencing the emotions, doing the work without getting tired or frustrated– well, I do get a bit tired and sometimes anxious, but it’s already finished for you so I breathe easier in a sense. Do you ever think about how you are creating art while you go about the challenges of your day? I do. My world is more beautiful because of it.

  10. This sounds really good. Looking forward to the updates. Glad it is finally warming up.

  11. Ok you have convinced me to try sprouting my own, but not quite as a big a scale as yours. I am sure the pigs will love them. I was wondering if the barley that didn’t sprout could perhaps not be organic or transition? Laura

    • It is organic barley – everything from there is organic or trans. Old and cold most likely. Bad time of year for grains that have not been well stored.

  12. Honestly Cecilia, I read very seriously your description of steps but I am dizzy just thinking about your seeds and sprouts. Don’t know a sprout from my elbow but still I soldier on😀 because I love gleaning (r u impressed) anything I can absorb from your vast store of knowledge.

    • I did all the cleaning and washing in the shower, after my shower ( just between you and me maybe they should be called Birthday Suit Sprouts) and already I am thinking of ways to simplify the process. That first clean is the messiest one. c

  13. It looks a lot better outside today!
    I love the idea of sprouting your own greens – what an excellent idea.
    I’ve just been in the market looking at bellota ham, which costs €250 per kilo! It’s acorn fed and takes 2 years or so to cure, but the return is astonishing.

  14. Well, I applaud you, Ms C., but am quite dizzy thinking of all the extra work you’re creating for yourself. Labour intensive, as you say, which is fine as long as one has the time but seems you’re already a very busy person. Best wishes on this and will look forward to your ongoing reports. Have a great day! ~ Mame 🙂

  15. it’s a grand idea, and I always wondered why you didn’t do sprouts for the animals in winter, but thought you probably considered it but for some reason, it wouldn’t work for you. I do sprouts for myself and the chooks, they love them!

  16. Oh Lordie – have sprouted all that will forever for myself and friends . . . that is enough work to keep a healthy cycle going: yours will be almost a ‘factory’ production line – wonderful and wonderfully healthy but good luck with finding the ‘extra time’ that will take. Well, have not grown mine in the shower but every winter do grow boxes and boxes various kinds of mushrooms in my garage 🙂 !

  17. This is excellent information! I would like to raise some sprouts for a few of my animals. Not the tortoises. They will be on grass soon, and hay is just as good. But some of my animals never go outside, and I’d like to increase the variety in their diets.

  18. I believe it’s the Farm Tek catalogue that has a large selection of equipment to grow fodder. Pretty interesting.

  19. You are amazing… I feel quite dizzy just thinking of all that arithmetic involved…here’s to you and your healthy happy creatures !!

  20. What a great idea, I’ve sprouted beans but I haven’t done it in a long time. Doing it on your scale is quite adventurous, I wish you well.❤️

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