Growing Wheat Grass and Juicing
(Please read updated version first at http://www.ranjan.in/?p=74 )
Recently I came across benefits of drinking wheat grass juice and I was amazed with what nature has in store. I searched extensively (as usual!) on net and went through lot of material to understand the complication of growing it. In USA lot of support from commercial entity is available to support those, who want to grow it. There are kits available and supplies along with various tools are available to make it easy. I thought I would still write out my experiences in trying to grow and giving other people a hope that one can do it without much problem in India as well. I am very lazy person and If I can do it, so can you!
Some one may ask why wheat grass is so special. It turns out that it is not so very different from many other grasses. For example, maize or barley grass are also quite good and so are many others. However among them what grass juice is more beneficial. I would not want to go into those details since there is plenty of material available on net.
Let me try to put rest of the information in form of FAQ!
- How much time it takes to grow what grass for juicing? – It takes about 6-7 days to grow to about 6 inches, when it should be harvested for juicing. This depends on climatic conditions and so on.
- How to organize this so that I can get juice every day? – What is important is to have this juice fresh. Ideally it should be consumed within 20 minutes of juicing. So what is best is to have seven containers in which to grow this. It should be sowed every day in a different one so that after six to seven days, you start to get fresh grass every day. Once you harvest from one container, you can reuse that and continue doing that. It is also possible to reuse the same plant once or twice more.
- What should be the size of container? – For one person the round pot here seems sufficient, whereas the larger rectangular one is sufficient for three persons(see my comments in the next Blog on this).
- What should be depth of soil in the pot? – One to two inch depth is enough. So one could have more shallow pot. My larger rectangular pots are better that way.
- What soil to add ? – One can add good gardening soil. First time I went to local nursery and asked them to fill it in the pots and had some extra too. While buying the larger pots, I got it filled with the persons selling the pot itself. Soil should not be soggy and should not stick together. One can spread it to dry faster before using it. One should add compost fertilizer before sowing. It has been suggested to not use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides etc.(See my comments in next Blog about this)
- Which wheat to use? – I bought it from local grocery shop. They did not have any choice so used whatever they had. If there is choice, one can use bigger grains.
- What quantity of seeds should be used? – I use two and half table spoons full of wheat for smaller pot and six table spoon for larger one.But you can adjust as per your experience, this is just initial guess.
- What preparation to do before sowing? – Wash and soak wheat for about 12 hours or overnight. Then tie it in thick damp cloth for another 8-10 hours. In Indian warm weather, you should see wheat sprouting by this time. Once is has sprouted a little, it is ready to be sowed.
- How to sow? – Spread the wheat in single layer touching each other so that it is as dense as possible without overlapping. Spread a very thin layer of soil on the top of this. Now spray very small amount of water to just make tit damp. More water can be bad here. Cover the pot with damp newspaper sheets so that damp environment is maintained inside. If it is too hot cover with a plastic sheet or some other thing to keep the seeds in damp environment. Respray twice a day or so to keep it damp. Once you see little sprouts coming out, you can start to expose it to fresh air. Direct strong sunlight for long time may not be good for plants in early stage.
- When it is ready to be harvested ? – Keep spraying water every morning and evening and plants should keep growing. Once it has reached a height of 6 inch or so, it is ready to be harvested.
- How to harvest? – I use a pair of scissors with long enough blade to cut the wheat grass as close to soil as possible. I bought a sturdy Tailors all metal scissors for this as cheap ones with plastic handle do not last long.
- How to Juice? – Wash the grass properly and juice it in spice grinder by adding little water. It would become like a paste in this and now one can strain it through a thin cloth to get juice out of the pulp. It is suggested to use a low RPM machine to do this to keep temperature low during this. Higher temperature destroys some beneficial enzymes. One could use other means of extracting juice as well. I could not find a low RPM machine in India, but they are available abroad though expensive. I am using normal spice grinder for the time being. However I have ordered a hand juicer from eBay (India) for something that looks like this(one below that is on Amazon.com) :
- How to drink? – It is best taken in morning on empty stomach. It is suggested to not gulp it down at once but consume it slowly as if you are eating it.
- What to do after harvesting? – One can reuse the plant couple of times more after which it starts to get little harder. I am still experimenting with this.
- Can I freeze grass? – One can keep it upto 2-3 days in freeze but Juice should be consumed within 20-30 minutes of making it.
There is lot of material on the web and you can go through it. I am a learner and not an expert! See my comments in next Blog on this.