This post is based on nearly 2 months of experience and some of the information here is updated, compared to my earlier two posts on the topic:
Let me try to put rest of the information in the 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? – I am now using rectangular plastic tray as shown here. Each tray can produce enough to serve 2-3 persons every day. I have purchased 12 of these so that I have a few spares to handle other needs (e.g covering tray during germination phase, letting soil air for 3-4 days to prepare soil for reuse etc.). I have also purchased two bigger trays to store soil in them. Smaller tray cost me Rs 40 each and bigger Rs 80 each. To organize them, I bought a 4 -self steel rack in Rs 700.
- What should be the depth of the soil in the pot? – One to two inch depth is enough. So one could have more shallow pot. My plastic tray are about 2 inch in height.
- Should tray have holes at bottom? – I did not have holes in the tray at first. As it was rainy season, I found some time water had accumulated and was difficult to drain it off and affected the plants I have now been drilling hole to take care of this. With holes in the tray, I put paper at the bottom of the tray before putting soil. This way only water would drain out and not let soil fall through holes and make the place dirtier.
- 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. However I have found it very useful to add an organic fertilizer – “bio-field”. I got it in local nursery. See this in my earlier blog here.
- 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 about 9-10 table spoons for the one tray. But you can adjust as per your experience, this is just initial guess. Amount should be enough to cover the soil fully with seeds without overlapping as shown below:
- 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 it has sprouted a little, it is ready to be sowed.
- How to sow? – Prepare soil by adding 50% compost to soil first time and mix it nicely. I like to thinly spread 6-7 tablespoon of “bio-field” on top of the soil. Now I spread the wheat in single layer touching each other so that it is as dense as possible without overlapping(see the picture above). It is suggested to spread a very thin layer of soil on the top of this but I leave it exposed and have found better result. Now spray very small amount of water to just make it damp. I use a water spray to make this uniform. 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 in a day or so to keep it damp based on climate. 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. See the growth day by day here:
- How to harvest? – I use a pair of scissors with long enough blade to cut the wheat grass about half inch to an inch above soil . I bought a sturdy all metal scissors with stainless steel blades. One with iron blades gets rusted and may not be good. I got one with brass handle and stainless steel in Rs 325. 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 ordered a hand juicer from eBay (India) for something that looks like this. It was not sturdy enough for this purpose and handle broke. I am still looking for one in India. (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 but found it essential to add “bio-field” to reuse the plant second time. More than 3 times may not give you much juice.
- 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.
- What to do if I see Moud formation? – Some time you may see a bluish-white formation like shown in the picture below. This happens in humid condition and specially if seeds remain ungerminated due to poor soil condition. It is a good idea to air the seeds for some time in the early stage when weather is very humid. One can harvest the wheatgrass above mold and use it.
There is lot of material on the web and you can go through it. I am a learner and not an expert! I am sharing this since many want to try it too and may find information useful.