Little Sprouts: Fun and Easy Ways to Grow

Sprouts are the supreme indoor gardening crop. They are fun and easy to grow. Sprouts contain high levels of nutrients and take up very little space.

There are several ways to grow sprouts from Mason jars to hemp bags to stacking trays. The method is often a personal choice and what works best for you.

We will discuss the pros and cons of some different methods and a step-by-step guide on how you can get started.

Why Grow Sprouts?

  • Sprouts are the quintessential indoor gardening crop.

  • They grow quickly and are ready to eat in four to seven days

  • Contain minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium

  • Good sources of Vitamin K and Beta-carotene

  • Research shows that sprouts can lower blood glucose levels

  • Benefits digestion, is high in fiber and is a pre-biotic

  • WebMD states that it lowers cholesterol

  • Fun science experiment for children

What Do Sprouts Taste Like?

There are many different types of sprouts that each have their own unique flavor.

  • Alfalfa: mild, nutty, crunchy

  • Beets: earthy, sweet, beautiful red color adds zing to dishes

  • Broccoli: slightly spicy, nutty, they don’t taste like broccoli!

  • Clover: mild. earthy and crunchy

  • Green peas: sweet and mild, I think they taste like snow peas

  • Mung beans: mild and juicy, they absorb flavors of sauces in a dish

  • Mustard Sprouts: spicey zing, similar to horseradish

  • Radish: slightly spicey, pretty red leaves for garnishing

  • Sunflower: juicy, thick stems, nutty flavor

How To Grow Sprouts in a Mason Jar

Growing sprouts in a Mason jar is an easy peasy method. You only need four things. A mason jar, some type of lid, and your sprout seeds.

A square of cheesecloth held on with rubber bands or the jars ring

There are several types of stainless steel and plastic lids made to fit Mason jars. They come in a variety of hole sizes to meet the needs of different sprout varieties.


  1. Place your sprout seeds in a clean jar with water

  2. Put on lid and place in a cool location

  3. Soak for the recommended time

  4. Drain, rinse, drain the seeds

  5. Repeat two or three times a day.

  6. Sprouts are done when they are just starting to produce tiny leaves

  7. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week

TIP. I drain and rinse my seeds before every meal that I eat throughout the day. That has become a habit and helps me to remember.

Check out our Sprouting Kits at True Leaf Market

How To Sprout in Bags

Bags drain well and provide good air circulation. Using a sprouting bag works well for bigger seeds such as mung beans and peas. Smaller seeds like alfalfa or broccoli don’t work as well because their roots will grow through the bag.

You can easily sprout seeds in cotton or hemp bags. Many people like this method because the sprouts are neatly contained.

You can also make your own bags with linen or a piece of loose weave fabric.

This is a popular method for hikers and RV travelers. You can even carry your bag with you and rinse and drain in a hotel room!


  1. Place your bean or pea seeds in the bag. Run some water over them to rinse the seeds.

  2. Tie the bag shut. Place bag in a bowl of clean water. You need enough water to just cover the bag.

  3. Soak the seeds for twelve hours inside the bowl full of water.

  4. After the time is up, remove the bag from the water. Rinse the bag and the sprouts. While rinsing move the bag and the sprouts around some so that all sprouts have water run over them.

  5. Hang the bag over your kitchen sink or another area that it can drain.

  6. Rinse, drain, repeat, several times a day.

For bags, you can either rinse the bag under running water or dunk the bag in a bowl of clean cool water for one minute.

How To Sprout In Trays

There are several styles of trays to choose from. I use the Handy Sprout Garden from True Leaf.

Gardens Alive also has a nice simple system.

The advantage to trays that stack is twofold. You save space and can grow different varieties without taking up more room.

Alfalfa seeds do especially well in the tray system.

The steps to sprouting in trays are going to vary slightly with what style you purchase. However, it will follow the basic steps described in the other two methods.

  1. Soak your seeds.

  2. Rinse and drain.

  3. Place them in the tray and rinse/drain three times a day until they sprout.

Buying Seeds to Sprout

Always buy organic seeds that are sold for sprouting. That way they don’t contain any harmful chemicals that are unhealthy for you or will inhibit growth.

Seeds should be uniform in shape and color and not have any chips damage to the seed coat. These seeds will not sprout well and can contaminate the entire process.

Growing sprouts is very economical and you can increase your cost efficiency by buying in bulk.

Cons of Growing Sprouts

There are a few cons to growing sprouts.

First, rinsing and draining are very important steps. If your sprouts dry out they will die.

Also, if they are not rinsed two to three times per day they can experience bacteria growth which causes the sprouts to decay and become slimy.

Never eat sprouts that have a slimy film, are too soft, or smell bad.

Ancient Food

Sprouts have been grown for thousands of years by many cultures. Ancient cultures often grew them as a survival food during long winters.

The Chinese have records of their growth going back 3000 BCE.

Captain James Cook used them to combat scurvy among his sailers on those long sea voyages.

Author, Ame Vanorio, is the director of Fox Run Environmental Education Center and enjoys growing a variety of sprouts on her kitchen counter.