How To Grow Wheatgrass at Home: A Comprehensive Guide
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Wheatgrass, the young grass of the wheat plant (whose scientific name is Triticum aestivum), has earned the label of ‘superfood’ because of how nutrient rich it is and the numerous health benefits it offers. The label seems well-deserved, given its extensive range of health benefits - its high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants make it a powerful addition to any diet.

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Wheat grass juice is popular amongst those who follow a healthy diet and work out routine. The grass is cut just above the roots. Wheatgrass juice is consumed immediately after juicing to maximise its nutritional benefits. It is usually consumed in small quantities due to its potent taste and concentrated nutrients. Fresh wheatgrass is juiced using a specialised wheatgrass juicer or a high-powered blender. It can be mixed with water, coconut water, or other juices to dilute its strong flavour.

Also Read: A Definitive Guide: Unlocking The Superfood Powers Of Microgreens

Adding wheatgrass juice to smoothies with fruits and vegetables can also mask its taste while one still gets the nutritional benefits. Wheatgrass powder is another popular way to consume it. It can be mixed with water, juice, smoothies, or other beverages.

It can also be incorporated into recipes for baked goods, such as bread or muffins, to boost nutritional content. Some people chew fresh wheatgrass to extract its juice and fiber. Fresh wheatgrass retains the highest levels of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

Wheatgrass is easy to grow at home and doesn’t require much space. To start growing wheatgrass at home, you’ll need Wheatgrass seeds (wheat berries), growing trays with drainage holes, organic potting soil or compost, spray bottle for watering, filtered water and paper towels.

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The Preparation

Buying high-quality wheatgrass seeds from a reputable supplier is the first step to growing this plant. It is better to choose organic seeds to make sure one  avoids any pesticides or chemicals. Measure out the desired amount of seeds for a growing tray. Typically, 1 cup of seeds should be enough for a standard 10x10 inch tray.

Rinse the seeds thoroughly under cool water. Place the seeds in a bowl and cover them with filtered water. Soak the seeds for about 8-12 hours, or preferably overnight. This helps to soften the seeds and kick-start the germination process.

Choose a shallow tray with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Line the bottom of the tray with a layer of paper towels to keep the soil in place. Fill the tray with about 1-2 inches of organic potting soil or compost. Make sure the soil is evenly spread and not too compact.

Planting The Seeds

After soaking, drain and rinse the seeds again. Spread the seeds evenly over the surface of the soil in the tray. Lightly press the seeds into the soil to make sure they make  good contact. You can cover the seeds with a very thin layer of soil or simply press them down firmly.

Use a spray bottle to mist the seeds lightly with water. Cover the tray with a paper towel, to maintain moisture and darkness, which aids in germination.

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Keep the seeds moist by misting them with water once or twice a day. It’s tricky because the soil needs to remain damp but not get waterlogged. After about 2-3 days, the seeds will begin to sprout. Once the sprouts are about 1-2 inches tall, remove the cover and expose the tray to indirect sunlight.

Caring For The Wheatgrass

Continue to water the wheatgrass daily using the spray bottle. Indirect sunlight or a grow light can help the wheatgrass grow strong and green. Rotate the tray occasionally if the light source is from one direction to make sure all parts of the plant get adequate light. The plant tends to develop moulds and to avoid this good air circulation is important. Ensure the tray is in a well-ventilated area. Avoid overwatering and make sure there is proper drainage to prevent water from stagnating.

Harvesting Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is typically ready for harvest when it reaches about 6-8 inches in height, usually within 7-10 days of planting. Use a pair of clean scissors to cut the wheatgrass just above the soil line. Harvest only as much as you need, as freshly cut wheatgrass is most nutritious.

Juicing and Storing

Freshly harvested wheatgrass can be juiced immediately. Use a wheatgrass juicer to extract the juice, as conventional juicers may not be effective. Store any unused cut wheatgrass in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. For the best taste and nutritional value, consume it as soon as possible.