Sunday, December 30, 2012

And We're Off!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are trying out a do it yourself indoor fodder system to grow nutritious chow for our critters all year round. I found an initial source for grains to sprout at Great River Organic Milling and better yet they have a store on Amazon so I can get 25 or 50 lbs bags of grain delivered for free. Whadda bargan! Plus I emailed them a question and got an answer back right away which makes me far more likely to shop from them in the future.

They next step and obviously a crucial one was to come up with the racks and containers. Now my wife tends to accumulate all sorts of stuff that I consider to be wasted space but then every once in a while she comes up with an almost perfect solution for something that costs me nothing. This was no exception. She dug out a couple of racks to put the growing trays on and found what appears to be a plastic cover for clothes to make a protective screen. With that in place we went to Wal-Mart to try to find some plastic storage bins. At first I checked litter boxes but they were all too small. Then I checked dish pans, same problem. We saw some storage bins but they were expensive, like $7-8 each and not quite what we were looking for. Discouraged we headed for the checkouts, thinking we could pay for our groceries and get the frozen stuff in the car (it was below freezing after all) and then shop a little more when lo and behold we came across a shelf with exactly what we were looking for, clear plastic, the right depth and the right dimensions, all for less than $3! So we bought ten, 8 to grow in one per day and two to nest on top of the sprouts on day one and two to simulate soil pressure. All in out of pocket cost was under $30. Here is the result:

As you can see, we have it right next to a window for natural light and if you look at the bottom corner you can see that it sits over a heating register so it will stay nice and warm (and dry, so we need to watch the moisture level). We have enough racks that we can have one tray per day for eight days so every day we will have a tray coming ready and a new one started. Initially I expect to use the mat of sprouted grains to feed our cow, we can just drop it in her hay rack where she is milked and let her munch on it, if there are leftovers we can give it to the horses or the chickens.

Our first 25 pound bag of hard red spring wheat is on the way and should be here tomorrow but we decided to try out some oats first since we have a fair amount of them and they were free. I am not sure how old the oats are but we are just practicing for now so it doesn't matter. This is what it looks like on day one after a night of soaking....

As I mentioned the top container provides the illusion of soil pressure which apparently helps germination, on day three we will remove the top container and let it grow. Once we get a feel for how this is working we can try experimenting by adding some oats and other seeds to the wheat like lentils, sunflowers, other grains, radishes, etc. I can't wait to see if this works and if it helps with the milk production and quality! I will keep you informed as I am sure this is fascinating stuff for my readers.


Stephanie said...


You need to check out Human BioDiversity:

It's what all the high IQ people (left and right) are reading.

Anonymous said...

This isn't related to this post, but could you please post a link to your post about Christians and self-defense/killing?