Grow wheatgrass hydroponically? Try these simple steps
Wheatgrass is a healthy crop full of antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Drinking a glass of wheatgrass juice can help you prevent cancer in the long run. Thus it is a healthy crop worth cultivating at your home. The best thing is that you can cultivate wheatgrass hydroponically at home.
Why should you grow wheatgrass hydroponically?
- Growing wheatgrass hydroponically is one of the simplest crops to grow hydroponically. Being newbie-friendly and DIY-friendly it is the best for full-time gardeners as well as it saves a lot of space and is cheaper compared to other hydroponic crops.
- You will be able to cultivate in a controlled environment that will further protect the crops from any insects, critters, and other diseases
- Growing hydroponic wheatgrass will give you an added advantage in growing the crop in a controlled environment. You will be around 80% master of the entire harvesting of the plant. The right environment can help you with 10 times the yield.
- There will be Cleanliness all around owing to the absence of soil and setting up the environment indoors. Thus the operations remain mostly clean.
- You can save water up to 90% more than soil farming.
- Moreover getting the health benefits of wheatgrass, right from your garden is something which everyone would like doing.
Health Benefits of Wheatgrass
- Rich with minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium, containing 8 essential amino acids it is also packed with vitamins, especially Vitamins A, C, and E.
- It consists of various antioxidants which keep a check on the cell damage and reduce stress. Thus, protecting our body against heart diseases.
- Wheat Grass Is the best resource for living chlorophyll, up to 70%. It is responsible for reducing inflammation, energizing, building blood, detoxifying, deodorizing, cancer prevention, etc.
- Wheatgrass can slow down aging, neutralize toxins. Its antibacterial & antiseptic properties can improve respiratory function. This can help you get rid of acne, scarring, and soothe a sore throat.
- It helps keep your bowels ‘regular’ and patients undergoing chemo usually take it to fight against the negative side-effects of chemo. It can reduce good HDL cholesterol and prevent obesity.
What all you need to have in your bucket for growing wheatgrass hydroponically
Wheatgrass is one of the simplest crops to grow hydroponically. So you won’t have to spend much cash on the ingredients and equipment.
- Wheatgrass seeds
- Jar or container for soaking
- Trays or large containers with drainage goals
- Growth medium like soil, coconut coir, vermiculite, or some type of fiber growing mat.
- Spray bottle for sprinkling water
- Liquid kelp fertilizer (optional)
Steps of growing wheatgrass hydroponically
Prepare the seeds
For getting started with a DIY hydroponic setup, you have to sprout wheatgrass seeds initially. In a container and cover it with a mesh. So soak them for around 8-12 hours. This will help them to sprout fully. Drain the seeds to obtain clean seeds.
Thereafter, put them in a quart-size container of purified water. Cover it with a screen but ensure to leave a gap of 2 inches. This has to be done to pull down the edges of the jar’s mouth. Secure the cover with the help of a rubber band and keep it in a room of temperature 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Choosing the container
When you choose a container it doesn’t matter if it’s very deep. This is because the roots don’t need much space, unlike other plants. Shallow containers with a few holes work the best. The holes act as drainage systems and prevent the young grass from shrinking or developing mold diseases.
Add growth medium to the wheat seeds
Once these seeds have been prepared, spread them evenly at the bottom of a tray or container. Put one inch of the potting mixes like coconut coir, vermiculite, or peat moss. These are the popular growth medium. You can even skip this part.
Spread the seeds on a tray with a pinch of water
But adding this will give a healthier and faster yield. Ensure that the seeds are moist, so you can add a bit of water but don’t add it excessively. You can simply repeat the rinsing and draining the seeds a few times a day to avoid mold.
Maintaining the pH
A pH of 6.5 is ideal for growth. This slightly acidic soil enables the plant to absorb all the micronutrients and macronutrients efficiently. Add Sodium Bicarbonate if you find your pH level going below 6. Whereas seeing the pH level beyond 7, you should consider adding citric acid.
Cover the container
Cover it with a paper or muslin cloth to ensure a dark and warm environment within the container. This helps in stimulating the darkness underneath the soil’s surface. To maintain moisture within the tray, you can wet the paper or add a few drops of water on top. Your container should be kept in such an area that gets bright yet indirect light and still remains at room temperature.
When cultivating in a soilless medium, it is always advised to add a small pinch of liquid kelp fertilizer to the water. Initially, you have to water the seeds twice a day. You can use a spray bottle to wet the top surface of the wheat. This will help the seeds get their roots established and provide them with nutrients. However, don’t overwater.
Removing the cover and placing it in sunlight
After 3-5 days, once the seeds have sprouted into an inch tall, you can uncover them. Witness the beauty of the golden-colored grains and the tiny bunch of greenness all over and keep them under direct sunlight.
Harvest hydroponic wheatgrass
When they are about 6 inches tall, keep an eye out for the splits and secondary shoots from the first shoots. So this is when the wheatgrass is ready to harvest. It might take you about 2 weeks for the entire process.
Storing hydroponic wheatgrass
With sharp scissors, cut the grass above the surface of the medium. Just a quarter cup of glass can make a serve of one-ounce wheatgrass juice. YOu can store them in the fridge as well but try to consume them within 2-3 days to prevent them from drying up.
Dry wheatgrass stays for a longer duration than wet. Consider putting it into a dry bag with a dry towel wrapping the bunch of grass so as to absorb humidity. If you are extracting the fresh juice, it can also be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. However, be assured that it will lose nutritional value as time passes by!.
Also note that while drinking, if there are any signs of spoilage like the juice turning slightly yellow or if the juice is suddenly more bitter, avoid drinking it.
What after growing it?
Once you have harvested the wheatgrass, you can use wheatgrass as a salad dressing or even make it as a juice and smoothie. Apart from ingesting, you can include the juice to reduce your scars, apply to your acne skin to soothe it. You can even massage the juice on your scalp to reduce dandruff.
Challenges you might face
Growing wheatgrass hydroponically is one of the simplest plants to grow with minimal vigilance, unlike those required in other crops like hydroponic tomatoes and hydroponic basil. However, during the growth period, the moist surface of seeds with a stagnant environment can be a ground for the growth of mold and fungus.
If the environment is beyond 75 degrees, use a fan to improve air circulation within the room. It is also advised that you must rinse the seeds every day to prevent the growth of mold. Secondly, once plants are in their growth phase, if they turn from green to yellow, it indicates that they are in need of light nutrients. It also shows that they’ve been over or under-watering.
Since wheatgrass is one of the easiest and 2-step processes to be grown hydroponically, you can start your hydroponics journey if you are new to it. It will not only make you happy for your first harvest but will also provide you with lovely juices.
Are there any good grains that can be grown hydroponically?
Ans: Sprout cereal grains such as barley, wheat, oats, sorghum, corn, legumes, like alfalfa, clover, cowpeas can be grown hydroponically.
How can I make wheatgrass grow faster?
Ans: You can increase the growth of wheatgrass by warming up the temperature of the environment. That is the only way possible.
Does wheatgrass need sunlight?
Ans: When growing wheatgrass hydroponically, it does not need a lot of sunlight but requires the proper amount of heat and moisture maintenance to grow into a healthy plant.
How long does wheatgrass take to grow?
Ans: It takes about 6-10 days to reach the harvesting level size.
Is it better to grow wheatgrass with or without soil?
Ans: Growing hydroponic wheatgrass without soil is a cheaper option anyway. Also, nutrients and growth medium can be additionally provided to the water.
What is the best way to consume wheatgrass?
Ans: The best way to consume raw wheatgrass or wheatgrass powder is to make a smoothie or juice out of it. Since it does have an overpowering taste, you can mix it with an ingredient having a strong taste. While Making smoothies of pineapple, and mixing it with milk, honey, or fruit juice can be a great option.
Should I reuse my growing medium?
Ans: It is always advisable to replace your growing medium, as there is always a chance of fungal and mold build-up.