Wheatgrass juice is a very healthy way to begin your day, since it is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that help keep your body and mind healthy and vibrant. Unfortunately, buying wheatgrass juice or powder can get very expensive. Fortunately, wheat grass is easy to grow, either inside or outside. You can either use soil or water (see the hydroponic method below) to grow your wheat grass. This article is about growing wheatgrass indoors.
Growing Wheat grass in soil
Soak and Germinate Wheat grass Seeds
The first thing you need to do is find wheatgrass seeds and germinate the seeds. Wheat grass seeds are sold online or in health supply stores. Make sure you buy organic seeds from a reputable retailer, so you can be sure the seeds have not been treated with pesticides or other chemicals.
Measure out enough seeds to create a light layer on the seed tray you are using to grow the grass. If you’d rather grow your wheat grass in a pot, measure out how many seeds you need to create a thin layer across the soil in your pot. If your seed tray is a 16” x 16” tray, this will be about two cups of seeds. Then, rinse the seeds in cool, clean water using a colander with very small holes or a strainer. Then drain them well and put them in a bowl.
Next, soak the seeds to start the germination process. Pour cold, filtered water into your bowl of seeds. Put in about 3 times as much water as you have seeds, then cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let the seeds soak for about 10 hours, or overnight. Drain the water and replace it, again with 3 times as much water as seeds, and let the seeds soak overnight or for 10 hours. Finally, repeat the process one more time, for a total of three soaks. Once you have soaked the seeds for the third time, they should have sprouted roots and are ready to plant.
Plant the Seeds
Line your seed tray with paper towels. This will help keep the roots from growing through the holes at the bottom of the seed tray. Next, spread a two-inch layer of potting soil or organic compost along the bottom of your seed tray. Finally, spread the seeds. Make an even layer of seeds across the top of the soil, then lightly press the seeds into the soil and water it lightly. Cover the tray with a few sheets of newspaper, moistened, to protect your seedlings.
For the first four days, lightly moisten your seedlings to keep them damp. You should water the tray thoroughly in the morning so the soil is wet but not waterlogged. In the evenings, lightly mist the soil with a spray bottle and do the same with the newspaper, so the seedlings do not dry out overnight. After four days, remove the newspaper and continue watering the grass once a day. Keep the grass in partial sunlight, but not direct sunlight.
You can also move the seed trays outside and grow your wheat grass outdoors, but make sure you choose a shady location that will not put the wheat grass in direct sunlight. If you want to grow completely outdoors, you might even plant the seedlings directly into the soil in your garden after you germinate the seeds. It is, however, more effective to use seedling trays for growing wheat grass.
Harvest the Wheat grass
When the wheat grass shoots are mature, they will split and a second blade will begin growing out of the first shoot. This should take around 9 or 10 days, and the grass will be about six inches tall. Cut the wheatgrass just above the root, and collect the leaves in a bowl. It is now ready to be juiced. You can keep watering the wheat grass to produce a second crop.
Growing Wheat grass without soil (hydroponically)
Hydroponics allows you to grow wheat grass in water instead of soil. It is easy to do, and you do not have to worry about dirt after you are done! You will need a soil-free seedling tray for this method, so make sure that is what you purchase. You should be able to find this at any large, reputable gardening supply store.
Soak and Germinate Wheat grass Seeds
To start out, put enough seeds to cover the bottom of your soil-free seedling tray in a bowl. This will usually be about a cup of seeds, but you can check by spreading a thin layer on your tray and then measuring out that exact amount each time. Soak the seeds in water for 8 hours.
Spread wet paper towels along the bottom of your seedling tray, and then spread the pre-soaked seeds evenly onto the soil-free seedling tray. Make sure there is only one layer of seeds, or you will run the risk of mold setting in.
After spreading the seeds, place the germinating lid over the seeds. Later in the day, mist the seeds if they appear dray. For example, if you soak the seeds before you go to bed, spread the seeds in the morning when you wake up and cover with the germinating lid. Then in the evening, around dinnertime, mist the seeds with a spray bottle.
Mist and water Wheat grass
One the second day, you should mist each seed using a water bottle twice. If there is water in the growing tray under the seedling tray, wipe out any excess water. Keep this growing tray dry to prevent mold.
On the third day, the seeds should be starting to grow and the grass should be white. Continue to mist each seed with a spray bottle twice a day, and take off the germinating lid and put on the greenhouse cover. Place near a window from here on.
On day four, your grass should be starting to turn green. Continue misting twice a day, and check for mold. If you spot mold, take off the greenhouse cover for part or all of the time. You might have to mist more often if you take the cover off: check to make sure your shoots do not dry out.
On day 5, you should start seeing roots forming and locking into place. If so, you can start watering using a sprayer head instead of the spray bottle. Fill the tray with water until the water is covering the seeds, and shower each seed gently to wash away any mold that can be starting. Let the wheat grass seedlings soak in the water for about 30 seconds or more, then carefully drain the water out and wipe the growing tray dry. Reduce your watering to just once a day. If the seeds appear dry later in the day, you can mist with the spray bottle.
For days 6 through harvest time, you will probably only need to shower the seedlings with the faucet sprayer once. Repeat the steps from day 5, making sure the seedlings and grass stay moist, but not too wet. When your grass is about 1” tall, you can remove the greenhouse cover and leave it off.
Harvest the Wheat grass
Sometime between the 10th and 14th day, your wheat grass leaves should begin to split. At this point, you can harvest the grass by cutting it just above the seeds. Keep the seeds growing for a second harvest, or start fresh.
Now, you can juice your wheat grass. Rinse it lightly to get rid of any debris or dust from the air, and put the wheat grass in a juicer. We recommend using a special wheatgrass juicer, since the fibrous plant will clog regular juicers and break them. If you do not have a juicer, you can also use a blender, using a strainer to take out any solids left over.
It is going to take a lot of wheat grass to make enough for several days of wheat juice, so consider growing several seed trays at once.