Lettuce Try Again

Several weeks back, after seeing some success from replanting a celery stalk, we decided to plant the stems of a few store-bought artisan lettuce heads. In the beginning, it looked like all was going well. Each little head sprouted; but while there were 4 different red and green varieties in the container, every sprout looked the same.

We placed 3 under the grow light and one in the windowsill. Sadly, these lovely little plants never produced more that what you see in the pictures. Soon after beginning to form leaves, they all decided to bolt! Each lettuce head started sending shoots with sparse leaves upwards like a beanstalk – even the one in the windowsill.┬áBut, we continued to let them grow. There’s something nice about seeing a green plant inside the house when it’s starting to get cold outside. But then, this morning, we awoke to this:

I don’t know if any of this is normal or abnormal for replanted lettuces. There’s a lot of how-to videos online about replanting them but not a lot of info on what they look like in the various stages of growth. From our experience with herbs though, this definitely looks like the plant bolted (and then fell over). Bolted lettuce can still be eaten but it’s kind of bitter, so we opted not to put these leaves in our salad.

This was our first attempt to grow lettuce indoors but it won’t be our last. Next time though, we’ll probably start our crop from seed.

Have you had success growing lettuce indoors? Or replanting a lettuce stem? We’d love to hear about your experience.

Sprouting Seeds the Easy Way

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We had a great suggestion on our Instagram from fellow bloggers, The Tin Can Travelers, about posting a how-to on growing microgreens and sunflower sprouts. We thought about doing a video but we’re still having technical difficulties with our editing software, so here goes…

Step 1: Purchase Quality Seeds

It is VIP to buy the right seeds. Though almost any seed will sprout, not all seeds are meant to be eaten as sprouts. Seeds and legumes that you purchase from the grocery store bulk bins can have harmful bacteria on them (like e.coli or salmonella) or have been irradiated to keep them from sprouting in transit (which means they will never sprout, no matter how long you wait). We use organic microgreen seeds from Seeds of Change and organic sunflower seeds from Hometown Seeds.

Step 2: Select Your Equipment

We use two wide-mouth quart jars with mesh screens – one jar for each type of seed. We purchased the screens and stands here, but you can make them yourself using a piece of cheesecloth as a screen and a bowl as a stand. We’ve tried both but find that the stands are more secure than the bowl.

Step 3: Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Place 1-2 tablespoons of seeds in your jar and cover with approximately two inches of warm water. Place the mesh screen or cheesecloth and ring on the jar. Let the seeds sit overnight.

The next morning, drain the water. Rinse the seeds by adding water to the jar, swishing the seeds around, and draining. Turn the jar upside-down on the stand to continue draining any remaining water.

Repeat this twice a day, every day until your sprouts are the desired size.

Sprouts do not need sunlight so it’s best to place your jar in a room-temperature location where there’s little sunlight. We place ours in the dining room/office area on our rolling kitchen cart.

Step 4: Eat and Enjoy!

Rinse your sprouts one final time and remove the sunflower seed shells. Store in the refrigerator in a mesh produce bag of open container. We’ve found that sprouts tend to go limp when they are in a closed container with no air circulation.

All parts of your sprouts are edible, even the hairy little roots of the sunflower seeds; but if you prefer, you can trim these off. Sprouts are especially good on salads and sandwiches.