Chia seeds to grow

I have no idea how many Chia pets are sold at Christmas. Probably millions. And it’s a cash cow for Mr. Chia, because of the repeat business.These things are bought by non-gardeners duped by the advertising hype that it is easy, almost automatic. When they fail, they assume it is their fault, that they will do better next time, and they buy another.

Like most things in gardening, Chia pets are easy and automatic as long as you give them exactly what they want. What they want is a patch of soil in a yard in sun-baked Mexico.

You’re trying to grow them on a cute hunk of clay on a dim kitchen countertop in the cold, snowy, dim Northeast. Even the instructions admit to the problems – dry air, dry medium, mold – and give tips on how to fix them.

The dry air problem is easily solved, according to the instructions, by propping a plastic tent over the figure without touching it. As if this is the kind of attention a proto-gardener is likely to expend. And of course, the tent promotes mold, which is easily solved, according to the directions, by scraping the old seeds off, soaking the pet in bleach, scrubbing hard, and starting over. In which case you have the same conditions and the same problem. Good luck.

In short, they are not easy and automatic. If you fail, don’t blame yourself.

As long as you are going to fail anyway, you can get a pound of Chia seed at a health food store or Web site for less than the cost of one Chia pet and fail dozens of times. You find them in a health food store because they are healthy to eat, so they say. Actually Salvia Hispanica, it is full of Omega 3 – whatever that is – antioxidants, fiber, all the good things I don’t get on my Big Mac. It also improves the glycemic index of most carbs, which I assume is a good thing, and may lower blood pressure.

While I was researching Chia pets on the Web – because certainly I have no personal experience with the things – I saw one craft project that probably works better than a Garfield head.

Take a nylon stocking, wet it, and dump in some chia seed so it sticks to the nylon. Then carefully pour some potting soil into the foot, tie it off, and cut off the excess. Put it in a shallow saucer of water. You can use a glue gun to put on googly eyes, but I really hope you won’t.

You don’t have to use Chia seed for this. Wheatgrass, another health store staple with features I know nothing about, works, especially if you want to grow a green cat treat.

Those cat treat kits can be made even easier, though, not to mention a whole lot cheaper, without darkening the door of the health food store. Instead of wheatgrass, use grass grass, the kind out in the garden shed that you use to patch the lawn. Maybe a nickel’s worth. And grow it in a small plastic pot, free from that stack in the garage. How much do the cute kits cost?

The same principle is true of kitchen herb garden kits. In spades. One feature they tout loudly is their “soil sponge,” compressed potting soil that expands when you add water. Now think for a moment. The easiest part of growing herbs on a kitchen windowsill is putting a scoop of potting soil in a pot. If you have trouble with that, I wouldn’t start digging through your basil recipes right away.

Admittedly the kits are more attractive, but before you spend the money, try my nickel system first. See if any herbs will grow on your windowsill. If it fails, I’ve saved you enough money to buy a lot of fresh herbs in the supermarket produce section.

o Duane Campbell, a nationally known agricultural expert, can be reached at R6, Box 6092, Towanda, PA 18848 or by e-mail at [email protected] for questions or comments.

6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Chia Seeds

Ch-ch-ch-chia seeds have grown from a kitsch cultural phenomenon to health superfood, seemingly overnight. But there’s a lot more to know about these spreadable, edible sprouting seeds.

While there are many fascinating facts here, let’s get the most glaring one out of the way…

1. Yes, They’re the Same Seeds from Chia Pets

Wait for just a second, that’s not a real chia pet. Photo: @unklechip / Instagram

Back in 1977, a bunch of rabbit food-subsiding hippies in San Francisco created the first “Chia Guy” to help grow seeds. Though they knew about the power of these greens, the terracotta sprouting novelty was what caught major business attention. By 1982, the first commercially available Chia Pet was sold using the infamous time lapse ad campaigns.

__2. Spanish Conquistadores Nearly Wiped Out Chia Seeds __

“No one will ever find these chia seeds if we stash ’em in a bunch of spinach!” Photo: Joy / Flickr

Blame Spanish Conquistadores for obscuring the health benefits of chia seeds. As they took over the land of America’s indigenous peoples, the colonists also sought to eradicate their cultures.

While chia was a staple food of Mayans and even currency for Aztecs, the seeds were nearly wiped out centuries ago. Fortunately, someone managed to squirrel some away, and they’ve slowly regained their superfood reputation over the past 20 years.

3. The Mexican State Of Chiapas Gets Its Name From Chia Seeds

Chia sage! Photo: Dick Culbert / Flickr

Mexico’s southernmost state, Chiapas, was originally called Chiapan which translates roughly to, “River where the chia sage grows.”

4. A Chia Seed Can Absorb 12 Times Its Weight in Water

That’s why they get so deliciously gooey when soaked in anything. Photo: @smelly_prawn / Instagram

Roughly the size of a pinhead, chia seeds can swell to roughly the size of – 12 pinheads! Their hydrophilic design helps eaters stay hydrated, and all you have to do to take advantage of this fact is soak them in water 10 minutes consuming.

The seeds create a flavorless, gel-like liquid (though you can add fruit juice if you’d like to make it sweet), meaning that you can enjoy a speckled drink that’s packed with fiber.

5. Chia Seeds Can Last An Extraordinarily Long Time Before Spoiling

Oh yeah, these guys have been sitting out for years, no big. Photo: Larry Jacobsen / Flickr

While seeds can be kept and grown for years after their prime, not many edible nuts or seeds will stay fresh to eat for very long. Chia is the exception to the rule, and can be eaten up to four or five years later so long as they get stored in a cool, dry place.

As a comparison, this is up to ten times longer than vacuum-sealed peanuts and 60 times longer than bagged peanuts kept under the same conditions.

__6. Chia Seeds Have More Omega-3 Fatty Acids Than Any Other Plant __

They actually kind of look fatty when left to gel. Photo: Larry Jacobsen / Flickr

While it might seem like a catch-all, the health benefits are astonishing, which is perhaps why Aztec runners were said to sustain themselves for an entire day on only a teaspoon of seeds.

These small wonders contain more fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds, give you approximately 16 grams of protein per every 3.5 ounces eaten, while also containing no gluten. In other words, start putting them in everything.

Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses and have a huge range of versatility in the kitchen. They are my very favorite seed to use in the kitchen. But what about chia plants? In this article, we’re going to look at how to grow these awesome little plants that are easy to grow and beautiful to look at.

Chia plants are the flowering plants grown from chia seeds. A member of the mint family, these plants (Salvia hispanica) are easily grown from seed and can sprout as quickly as two days. In fact, it happens all the time in my kitchen when chia seeds get stuck to the dish sponge or hide on the countertop!

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Ch-ch-ch-chia!!! First time growing chia (orher than on those silly heads). These seedlings literally sprouted in about 30 hours. In a few days I will thin them out and transplant to the main garden. Apparantly they grow over 5 ft tall! I have been adding the raw seeds to my green tea. Takes a while to get used to…but a great boost of energy!! #chia #chiaplants

A post shared by Tobey (@an_gairdin_ina_gconai) on Jun 6, 2016 at 8:03am PDT

Despite their tiny seed size, chia plants can grow quite big: upwards of about 6 feet! They require quite a bit of space in the garden and would do best in a garden bed rather than a pot. They will need as much space as a large bush or small tree would. These plants, with their large flower stalks of purple flowers, will attract bees and butterflies to your garden.

How To Grow A Chia Plant

To direct seed chia, weed out the garden in your selected spot. You’ll want to choose a location that has well-drained soil and gets plenty of sun. Loosen the topsoil and layer in the chia seeds. Chia seeds are always sold raw, and you can plant the same ones you’d use in the kitchen. Thin out the chia sprouts after they are a few inches tall, leaving about 12-18 inches of spacing on each side. This ensures that the chia plant can grow in all directions.

graibeard / Flickr (Creative Commons)

During the growth phase, keep the soil moist. Once established, chia plants can handle drier conditions, as its desert-based Meso-American roots imply. The plant will flower after about 12 weeks of growth. Chia plants will need to flower in order for you to harvest seeds. If your plant doesn’t flower, you can use the leaves as a tea; although I think that might be a bummer consolation prize to the expected seed harvest!

Chia Plant Growing Conditions

Chia plants are grown as an annual in USDA Zones 8-12, covering most of the southeastern United States. Frost will stop the growth of flowers, and thus, seeds in colder regions. Some reports show that chia plants can grow in cooler regions, but the shorter season might mean fewer seeds; and since they are so tiny, it might not be worth the effort.

If you live in a cooler climate but still want to practice growing these plants, chia sprouts can be eaten. Sprinkle some seeds into a pot of moist soil or a growing tray, and harvest them when they are about 2 inches tall. Rinse well and enjoy in salads or on sandwiches.

Chia plants are easy to grow organically, and natural compounds in the leaves prevent most bugs. Although, they can be susceptible to whiteflies. As sprouting chia plants are quite delicate, herbicides are not recommended—instead, manually weed out any chia sprouts that are not thriving along with any other weeds in the garden bed to ensure that the chia is off to a good start.

Harvesting Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are easy to harvest from slightly dried flower heads. As the pretty purple flowers of the chia flower stalk start to dry, they will lose their petals. This is the ideal time to harvest. Don’t wait until the flower browns, as this will compromise the harvest.

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Some for my tummy & some to put back in the soil for new plants. Up close they look like dragon eggs, so pretty. Hope everyone is enjoying the second day of spring 🌞🌸🌿 #chia #chiaplant #harvest #chiaseeds #gardening #growyourown #urbangarden #organic

A post shared by Growapear.Gardens (@growapear.gardens) on Sep 1, 2017 at 5:04pm PDT

Cut the stalk from the plant and layer it onto a drying rack. Alternatively, you can store your stalks in a paper or cotton bag so that it dries fully. What’s considered an amount of “fully dry” time will depend on your climate. Once they are fully dried, they can be crushed and separated. DenGarden has a few tricks for harvesting chia seeds and how to get the most seeds from your harvest.

Once harvested, store your chia seeds in a cool, dark, and dry place (like in a mason jar). These seeds can be used the same way that packaged chia seeds would, or you can save and sow the seeds next season. If you do not harvest your chia seeds, they will self-sow for the next season.

A Brief History Of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have a long history with Native people of the southern U.S., Mexico, and Central America, and have been a staple crop since the time of the Incas, where they were used for food, ritual, and medicine. Despite this long history, they were not really used in the U.S. until the 1980s when we had a Chia Pet craze. Luckily, chia has now found a solid place in the health food scene, with really good reason.

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Another day, another breakfast chia bowl. It’s really just a super healthy dessert for breakfast: chia seed pudding with coconut milk, coconut creme, homemade coconut soy yogurt, roasted apples, cacao nibs, and hemp seeds. High in healthy fat, protein, fiber, and obvs, ridiculously delicious.

A post shared by Andrea Devon Bertoli (@vibrantwellness) on Feb 8, 2018 at 10:31am PST

Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are huge in nutrition, offering healthy fats, fiber, vegan protein, calcium, and iron. I eat chia seeds nearly every day in my daily decadent chia pudding bowls (see above). Their unique texture is similar to tapioca but is whole-foods and wholesome. You can also mix these healthy seeds into smoothies, drinks, oatmeal, sprinkle atop salads, or use as an egg replacer in vegan cookies.

The first UK-grown chia seeds go on sale this week, as demand for the plant native to the Americas is fuelled by the explosion in the popularity of plant-based diets.

The company Hodmedod, pioneers of British-grown pulses, grains and seeds, has been working with farmers Peter and Andrew Fairs, of Great Tey in Essex, to bring the new British crop to market.

Chia has become increasingly popular in the UK in recent years. The tiny dark oil-rich seeds can be sprinkled on cereals and in salads, incorporated into bread doughs or used to thicken smoothies, soups or stews. Their nutritional profile and versatility has led to them being dubbed a “superfood”.

“We are delighted to be able to offer British-grown chia seeds as another step in our mission to increase the diversity of both British farming and British diets.” said Nick Saltmarsh, co-founder of Hodmedod.

Essex grown Chia seeds by Peter Fairs for Hodmedod’s Photograph: Rebecca Noakes/Courtesy of Hodmedod’s

The company is aiming to reintroduce British-grown beans, peas and pulses and has worked with chefs and restaurateurs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Yotem Ottolenghi, Jamie Oliver and Mark Hix.

Chia seeds are harvested from the Salvia hispanica plant, a member of the mint family originating in central America, where – alongside beans and corn – chia was a staple food in Aztec cultures. Once imported from South America, large volumes are now typically shipped to the UK from Australia and Africa.

Salvia hispanica was previously thought not to grow to maturity in the UK climate but the Fairs have selected a strain that has ripened and yielded well on their Essex farm. They already grow a range of crops not usually seen in Britain, including quinoa, camelina and naked barley.

“We believe we have successfully harvested the first commercial crop of chia seed in the UK” said Peter Fairs. “The crop received no pesticides and both yield and quality far exceeded our expectations – and the bumblebees loved it too.”

The first harvest of chia seeds is available to buy in 200g retail packs at £2.49 from Hodmedod’s website and some independent retailers.

Supermarkets say demand for high protein foods has been boosted by the popularity of flexitarianism, with more and more consumers choosing to reduce their consumption of meat.

Chia Plant Care: Learn How To Grow Chia Seeds In The Garden

Once the hair on a novelty toy, chia seeds are making a comeback, but this time, they’re taking up residence in the garden and the kitchen. Aztec and Mayan warriors in old Mexico recognized chia seeds as a valuable source of energy and stamina; in fact, the Mayan name for chia means “strength.” With this chia plant information, you can learn how to grow chia seeds for all their health benefits.

What is a Chia Plant?

Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a member of the Lamiaceae, or mint, family. Adding chia to your plantings provides a valuable nectar source for bees and butterflies. These herbaceous hardy annuals grow to 3 feet tall (91 cm.). They have thick, dark-green leaves that are wrinkled and deeply lobed. Tiny, soft, gray hairs cover the upper side of the leaves as well.

The chia plant has several stems rising from the plant’s base. In the late spring and early summer, each of those stems holds up spikes of small blue, tube-shaped flowers. The blooms have three lobes on one lip, with a white tip on the lower lip. Burgundy, spiny-tipped bracts surround the flower whorls, and each set of flowers produces a seed head of tiny gray or brown seeds. The seed heads look a lot like those of wheat plants.

How to Grow Chia Seeds

Growing chia plants is simple provided you stick with optimal chia plant growing conditions. They are hardy in USDA zones 8-11. Choose a spot that receives full sun and has good drainage. In the fall, prepare the soil as you would for other plants, breaking it up and amending it as needed. Scatter the tiny seeds over the surface of the soil and then rake the earth over them carefully. Water them lightly until the plants are growing strongly.

Chia plant care is uncomplicated. The desert plant is not only drought tolerant, it is known as a “fire following” plant, meaning that it is one of the first to reappear after a devastating wildfire. Once the plants have established themselves in well-drained soil, simply water them only infrequently.

Remarkably adaptable, chia plants can even self-pollinate if the bees or butterflies don’t take care of the task, and they will self-sow the following autumn, assuming they survive the depredations of birds, insects, and animals.

Once the canopy of the chia plants grows over, there is no need for added weed control. Having no known vulnerabilities to pests or diseases makes chia plant care especially simple.

Are Chia Seeds Edible?

Not only are chia seeds edible, they are a rich source of many nutrients. They are high in protein, antioxidants, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They offer five times the calcium available from milk, and the enzymes in the seeds may aid digestion. Researchers believe that chia seeds have an important role in diabetes treatment. Chia seeds may also help to lower triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Use the seeds in baking or add a light crunch with a sprinkle of them over salads, casseroles, or vegetable dishes. Chia sprouts are also delicious additions to salad greens.

Adding chia plants to your garden is a triple winner: they are easy to grow, they add a pop of blue color, and they have numerous health benefits.

How To Sprout Chia Seeds

Why Sprout Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds have gained popularity recently though they were once a staple food in ancient cultures. They are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. And because of their mucilaginous properties, they make a great pudding! Sprouting chia seeds, however, can present a bit of a challenge due to these same properties.

Seeds such as chia, flax, and other mucilaginous seeds are best sprouted on unglazed clay or terra cotta (think Chia Pet!).


  1. Sprinkle a thin layer of chia seeds on the bottom of a terra cotta dish.
  2. Set the terra cotta dish in a larger plate of water.
  3. Cover with another plate.
  4. As the terra cotta dish soaks up water from the plate below, the terra cotta dish will provide exactly the right amount of water to sprout the chia seeds.
  5. On the second and third days, lightly mist the seeds with fresh, clean water.
  6. Chia sprouts are ready to harvest in 2-3 days.

Alternate Method for Sprouting for Chia Seeds

  1. Lay a nylon or linen cloth on a plate.
  2. Spray a fine mist of water onto the cloth.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of chia seeds on top of the cloth. Mist seeds lightly with fresh, clean water.
  4. Cover with another plate. Mist lightly once per day.
  5. Chia sprouts are ready to harvest in 2-3 days.

Try Sprouting More Seeds!

Try these popular sprouting seeds today!

Chia seeds a popular health food; you can also grow healthy, delicious chia sprouts from seeds at home

I’m a huge fan of chia seeds. Ever since I first discovered them years ago, I have been on the chia seed train. I add them to water in a glass jar and let them soak up with fruit and drink it throughout the day. It’s a flavorful drink, all organic full of healthy fats, proteins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and more.

Chia seeds are something I recommend to everyone to upgrade your health. What I discovered recently is that you can grow chia sprouts. I love chia seeds, so I figured I’d try to sprout chia seeds and it went astonishingly well. The first batch of chia seeds that I planted grew into a good amount of chia sprouts. Healthy as can be!
I always see alfalfa and broccoli sprouts in the health food store but never chia sprouts and I’m not sure why. It’s fine though because after watching this video and seeing how easy it is to grow chia sprouts, you’ll do it yourself forever!
First, let’s warm you up to the health benefits of chia sprouts. You may already know and love the health benefits of chia seeds. Chia sprouts are a different form of the seed that still offers many of the same benefits plus a few more.

Chia Sprouts Health Benefits:

  • Rich in calcium, which benefits bone and cardiovascular health.
  • Rich in phosphorus which benefits bone and teeth health.
  • Rich in ALA Omega 3 Fatty Acids! Great for brain and heart health.
  • A great source of fiber and antioxidants which work to outsmart free radicals!
  • High in manganese which is a good mineral for connective tissue.
  • A great source of chlorophyll which is beneficial for blood health and rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, E, K as well as a source of potassium and iron.

Now, here’s how you can grow chia sprouts from chia seeds at home with only a few things needed. It’s a simple process. All you need is the chia seeds, soil, pot, and water. All organic is preferable as your chia sprouts will come out greener and more full of nutrients. Enjoy those chia sprouts! They’re delicious!
You can harvest your chia sprouts when they begin to fall over to the side and can no longer stand on their own. This means that it’s time for them to be eaten. This takes around 10 days or so to do. If you have a bigger pot you can plant more chia seeds and harvest more sprouts at one time.
If you have a bigger family or live with a larger group of people this makes more sense.

David Benjamin is a health and green living advocate, and the founder of He is the author of Dirt Cheap Weight Loss: 101 Ways To Lose Weight On A Budget.

How To Grow Your Own Chia Sprouts!

By now you will probably have tried chia seeds. But have you ever tried sprouting them to add to salads and sandwiches? It’s much easier than you think and loads of fun too!

Just a little housekeeping announcement to start off with! For those of you on Snapchat and Periscope, I am now on them too (username: notquitenigella on both). So to keep up with my adventures (I’m currently in Thailand) and to see a bit more into a day in my life, please follow me! 🙂

Love, Lorraine xxx

I usually have meetings in cafes and restaurants but recently, time has been slipping away from me and even those seem to be too difficult to achieve. So last week I had a meeting in our apartment. It was a last minute thing so I just had time to spruce up the bathroom and wipe down the kitchen before they arrived. As we sat down I noticed with an inner groan that Mr NQN had left a rather large collection of his dirty cycling gear on the rug in the lounge room just within their eyeline. I could either snatch it up in which case they’d definitely see it or just ignore it. So I went with Plan B.

It wasn’t until after they left that I saw the packets of foil left on the table. I make Mr NQN little energy bars for his rides and we’re trying to arrive at a good way to package them to make them a bite sized snack. In endurance races they simply place them in foil. But he just wanted smaller one bite ones so the foil packets were smaller than a normal energy bar. It occurred to me just then that they might look like drugs!

As I am vehemently against drugs and know little to nothing about them apart from what I see on tv I rushed to my computer and googled “foil packets of drugs” because I wanted to know what exactly they looked like. “Uuurrrghhh!!” I moaned. The energy bars looked just like drug packets! As soon as Mr NQN got home I pointed at the foil packets. “Haha I know! I did that on purpose,” he said laughing before I pretended to kill him. Honestly who knew that hippies had such a twisted sense of humour?

Day 6

Anyway, there is something else that we are growing in the house. I first saw the idea for sprouting chia seeds on Juliana’s blog Color Your Recipes. I never had a chia pet when I was little but it’s pretty much the same thing and the sprouts are edible and tasty!

All you need is a terracotta dish, some chia seeds, a spray bottle of water and sunlight. It takes about a week to ten days to grow the sprouts. Every day you spray the seeds in the morning and evening and before long you’ve got your own replaceable chia sprouts to put on sandwiches. They’re really tasty with an ever so mild bitterness that is replaced with the regular sprout flavour that you would get with alfalfa at the end. It took me a little back to science class experiments growing the tops of carrots. If you have any kids at home on school holidays it also makes a fun, edible project!

So tell me Dear Reader, did you ever own a chia pet? And do you often have people over in your home? Do you ever google weird things?

Takes 7 to 10 days

  • 1 tablespoons chia seeds (regular kind)
  • Terracotta dish
  • Spray mister filled with water
  • Cling wrap or a jug to place over it

Day 1

Step 1 – Soak the terracotta dish in water for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the bottom of the dish so that they are spread out (mine were a little too close). Spray with the mister and pump it 3-4 times. Cover with cling film.

Day 2

Step 2 – Every day repeat morning and evening. Around day 3 they’ll start to sprout and around day 7 you should have enough to make a sandwich!

Day 4

Chia seeds:can I plant food grade chia seeds?

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In this Instructable I will show you how to sprout small mucilaginous seeds. Because these seeds form a mucilaginous coat when soaked in water they can’t be sprouted using the usual mason jar method. These seeds are best grown on terracotta, clay or ceramic dishes or trays. If you are familiar with Chia Pets, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Mucilaginous seeds that can be sprouted this way:

  • Chia
  • Arugula
  • Cress
  • Flax
  • Mizuna
  • Radish

Seeds can be obtained from specialized sprouting seed sites (ie; Mumms, or Sprout People). Chia and flax seeds can be found at health food stores.

What you will need:

  • Growing tray/dish -Unglazed terracotta, ceramic or clay. Such as an unglazed pie plate, or plant saucers.
  • Clear glass or plastic bowl that fits over growing tray/dish
  • Spray bottle and watering can

Soak dish/tray

Fill dish with water. Let soak for several minutes then drain. Sprinkle your seeds onto the dish, they should be evenly spread and only a single layer. There should be space between seeds to allow them to spread while growing. Cover with clear glass or plastic bowl and place in a sunny spot.


Spray the dish twice a day (I do it in the morning and evening). It may require more In warmer weather. Make sure the surface of the dish is wet at all times but there is no pooling water. Keep covered.

Continue watering

After a few days you can water it by pouring it into the dish from a water can or faucet and then draining it. The sprouts should stay put. Again make sure the surface of the dish is wet at all times but there is now pooling water.


The sprouts are ready to harvest when they are about 1/2 -3/4 inch high which should about 4-7 days depending on the type of seed and time of year (where I live it takes longer in the winter months). You can cut the sprouts just above the roots and use directly. Or you can also take the whole thing, roots and all, lift off of the tray roots and all and store in a partially closed container in the fridge for up to 10 days ( just cut the sprouts above the roots for eating). Don’t water prior to harvesting.


Add your sprouts to a yummy sandwich, wrap, salad or anywhere you would use boring old lettuce!

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