• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Large scale sprouting  RSS feed

 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi there.

I'm living on an organic farm.  The owners would like to start feeding their 8 sheep (more on the way) and 40 chickens sprouts.  They asked me to do some research on  building large scale sprouting trays. 

What I have found so far is not large enough and far too expsensive. 

Has anyone done this?  Does anyone have any ideas?

Anything that might help would be appreciated.

Thank you!

Carmen
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
does he want to only feed sprouts to his animals or supplement a regular diet with them? how much are we talking? which sprouts?
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I was at the St. Louis Zoo several years ago, I saw one section where they were producing sprouts in large amounts for various animals. They used stainless steel racks on carts like might found in various food service operations (restaurant, bakery, etc). Each cart had 6 or 8 large trays (maybe 2' x 3'. The trays had a food-quality screen for a bottom, and they were positioned under misting sprinklers indoors to wet them three times a day.

There are stackable bread trays that might work well for such a system:

http://www.rehrigpacific.com/images/catalog/BBTM23D003.jpg
 
                        
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I keep thinking of how one sprouts seeds on a small scale and if it can be scaled up to meet your needs.  I use a jar with cheese cloth over the mouth and daily fill with it water and then dump it out through the cheese cloth lid.  Could this same principle work on a large scale?  With, say, a 55 gallon barrel with a rod inserted through it so it can be spun around almost like a compost tumbler.  Or I guess you could use an actual compost tumbler with sections cut out of it and covered with fine enough mesh to drain the seeds.  Mind you I have no experience doing this, it was just the idea that popped into my head when I read your post.  Good luck and let us know how you do it and how it works when you get there, cheers
 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK...I'm not sure how to respond to individual posts...new here.  He wants to provide for the animals and yes we eat them too.  There will be a variety from alfalfa (spelling) to larger sprouts.
 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
EricTheRed wrote:
I keep thinking of how one sprouts seeds on a small scale and if it can be scaled up to meet your needs.  I use a jar with cheese cloth over the mouth and daily fill with it water and then dump it out through the cheese cloth lid.  Could this same principle work on a large scale?  With, say, a 55 gallon barrel with a rod inserted through it so it can be spun around almost like a compost tumbler.  Or I guess you could use an actual compost tumbler with sections cut out of it and covered with fine enough mesh to drain the seeds.  Mind you I have no experience doing this, it was just the idea that popped into my head when I read your post.  Good luck and let us know how you do it and how it works when you get there, cheers


Thank you.  Yes I saw something like this when I was researching here on line and I think it's the best way.
 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Johnathan.

I saw something similar to what you are talking about on line.  They were using a similar system for making sprouts for horses.  I think building something similar is the way to go.  Since I will be taking care of them I want it to be easy and efficient.  The one I saw was fixed so that the trays of sprouts could be easily pulled out and accessed.  I didn't care for the stacking systems as I think they will be far to labour intensive.

Thanks again!
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One other thing that needs mentioning - if the temp is cold where you are sprouting you run a greater risk of mold.  It's a damp and cold thing.  My friends are trying to figure out the same thing for their barn, but the temps are a great factor now that it is winter.  So I suggested an enclosed cabinet with heat light at the bottom.  I suppose warm water might work too.

So if your area is prone to moss, mushrooms and mold like we are here in Oregon you may want to consider a heat source.
 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes Jami and here on the Island it is wet and mold is an issue.  My feeling is that the sprouts need a small shelter/building of their own.  Well I certainly have a far better idea of how to proceed than I did before the owners sent me on this task.  Thank you all. 
 
                                    
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
for larger seeds like wheat and rye you could try getting the biggest sacks you can find (burlap) and make trays out of scrap lumber to lay them on with plenty of space for air circulation.  for home use i use a small bag made of some kind of natural fiber designed for sprouting.  grains need to soak and then rinsed once or twice and they are ready.

for alfalfa i would consider contacting some sprouting experts.  these people will probably help if you email them:  http://www.sproutpeople.net/contact.html
check their website too for sprouting products.  years ago i was considering trying to do a really small scale sprouting business and asked them some questions and they were helpful.
 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Chris.  Yes we are considering burlap and yes I have contacted the sprout people and they have been very helpful.  Thanks for answering and helping.
 
Ed Waters
Posts: 102
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Misty:

Why sprouts, think about micro greens.  We grow micros and sell them, and the stubble and seeds that didn't propagate we feed to our chickens.  They are grown in cafeteria trays, with a 50/50 medium of vermiculite and compost.  It's normally about 8-10 days from start to finish.  The ladies during the winter usually get grain in the morning and the good stuff in the afternoon.  They like sunflowers best, which is good because it is cheap relative to some of the other varieties we grow.  One tray of the stubble and seeds a day keeps 10 layers very happy.  If you want more details let me know.

Ed
 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Ed.   

Yes I am interested in any information you care to share.  We are on a budget so I like the fact that this way may be less expensive and the owners would really like to get their animals off of grains and onto living foods.  I await your reply. 
 
Ed Waters
Posts: 102
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
MM:  Try the sunflowers.  Take 1 cup of seeds, and put them in warm water for 12 hours.  After 12 hours drain off the water, and wait about 24-36 hours.  At that time you will see little 1/4 inch roots beginning to appear.  Spread those seeds on your medium, we use 50/50 vermicultie/compost mix.  Roll them into the medium with a piece of plastic pipe, and then cover them.  For a cafeteria tray we use aluminum basting pans.  After a couple of days in the dark the should be about 2-3 inches high, at which time you need to get them under light.  We can fit 3 trays under one 4'-0" fluorescent.  Usually can get less than 1/2 a pound per tray but that's for micros we sell to restaurants.  You will get alot more because of the stubble and seeds that don't sprout. 
 
Allison Rooney
Posts: 42
Location: Shields Valley Montana
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think sprouts are way too expensive both in terms of the cost of seed and the cost of labor to produce to feed to poultry.  The only thing I would consider doing for poultry if I was looking to provide them sprouts would be to sprout spring wheat berries (often found in scratch grains), or rye berries, whatever's cheaper, and only to sprout the seeds, not planting into soil.  I do this in used one gallon glass jars that olives come in for restaurants.  Soak first for 12 hours, drain, and rinse, and drain.  Do this for a couple of days, and the seeds will produce tails.  Feed these seeds to the chickens.  They do love them extremely.  Sprouts, microgreens or wheatgrass fetch some of the highest prices per pound compared to other vegetables for people, so I'm not sure why you'd want to produce them and feed them to chickens?  In fact, I only feed them sprouted wheatberries that are left over from wheatgrass tray production that I sell to a juice bar...and I try to re-collect the soil blocks after the wheatgrass has been cut to give to the chickens...they love this too, but its a byproduct.
 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Allison.    I have to agree with you.  It seems like a lot of work and expense but the owners ask me to look into it.  I will definitely pass your thoughts on and thanks again for taking the time to answer and share your experience and ideas!  Carmen
 
            
Posts: 79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is my favorite video on youtube about microgreen sprouting.  Jolly from Cross Family Farms once told me that the grow beds shown in this video were made by her father for $1000.

http://www.youtube.com/user/crossfamilyfarms
 
Ed Waters
Posts: 102
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
PaulB you put a smile on my face.  Cranked up the music and learned something.  Hard to tell from the video but are they using burlap for their growing medium.  We want to grow watercress in this huge old maple syrup evaporator, and we keep going back and forth on what kind of medium to use.

Thanks!!!
 
Allison Rooney
Posts: 42
Location: Shields Valley Montana
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah PaulB, wow that was a really excellent video.  I loved the gravity fed wicking irrigation set-up with the rubbermaid bin cistern.  Low tech rules!
 
                                
Posts: 30
Location: Ontario, Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
PaulB wrote:
This is my favorite video on youtube about microgreen sprouting.  Jolly from Cross Family Farms once told me that the grow beds shown in this video were made by her father for $1000.

http://www.youtube.com/user/crossfamilyfarms



Great video.


Do you or anyone else know what the blueish plastic might be that's underneath the burlap and hangs down over the edges?
 
Allison Rooney
Posts: 42
Location: Shields Valley Montana
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
At one point I thought it was blue tarps...there seemed to be a glimpse of them hanging down below.  Though I bet you could cover plywood with thick greenhouse poly.  I would be less concerned about some kind of plastic chemical leaching up into the plants with the g.h. poly. 

Maybe the blue stuff is some kind of food grade plastic material though?
 
            
Posts: 79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, they used rolls of burlap as a growing media, for the roots to grab ahold of.  They also used a product called Sure To Grow, which is a white extruded polyethylene product, if memory serves me correctly.  It's the same kind of stuff sold in stores such as Walmart and fabric stores for use in quilting, called batting.  It's a sterile synthetic material that does not wick water, unlike the burlap.  You can see it in some of the black trays at the end of the video.

For a more organic growing media, use potting mix.  There are many different kinds, but I don't recommend using topsoil or any mix with sand in it.  This mix, like the burlap, wicks water, and unlike the Sure to grow, it can be reused by screening out the roots, or letting them compost. Well rotted compost would work well as a growing media as well, as it would provide all the nutrients needed.

If you are only growing sprouts, you don't need nutrients, just water, as the seed contains enough for it's first spurt of growth. 

Looking closely at the growing troughs, it appears that they are made of fiber-reinforced plastic sheeting.  These come in 4 foot by 8 foot widths.  I know Home Depot carrys them, Lowes probably does too.  I don't know if lumber yards would carry it.  You could also use thin plywood, if you painted it with acrylic paint in several coats. 

The blue tarps are used to cover the tables (planting troughs) at night and during the seed germination period, and is opened when the sprouts need the light, after the seeds have sprouted.
 
Allison Rooney
Posts: 42
Location: Shields Valley Montana
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
PaulB, do you know anything about what sort of nutrient tea they might be using to get to the baby leaf stage? 
Thanks so much for the detailed info about the table materials...

I like the fact that the burlap can be composted, but I wonder about what treatments may be added to the burlap...I ordered a roll to use for a windbreak experiment and though I believe it was described as untreated, it still has a really powerful odor-- that burlap sort of smell or kind of formaldehyde-like, and I wondered if it wasn't treated with something despite the labeling...do you have any knowledge on chemical treatments and burlap?  It seems that it would be something to avoid with the wicking and the baby greens or microgreens just soaking the possible chemical up and concentrating it. 

 
            
Posts: 79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As I recall, I had asked her what they were using for a solution, and I believe she said just water, but I could be wrong.  I do know she said it was an open-ended system, and they dumped the runoff into their flower beds instead of recycling it, but they were considering adding a pump to do that.  On another sprouting site, they recommended a kelp solution added to the water.  I suspect that worm tea from a vermiculture bed, added to the water supply would be a good fertilizer.  There are various hydroponic solutions that would be good too, especially nitrogen-rich solutions, as the leaf production is more important than root or flowers/fruit production.

I haven't used or been around burlap since I was a child, so I really can't address that issue.

I have sprouted using the quilt batting material, with a fish emulsion mixed in water (very stinky stuff).  I am currently sprouting using Ferti-Lome's Ultimate Potting Mix, and it seems to be doing well, using only water.  Later on, I may add some form of fertilizer, I haven't decided yet.  I'm using a self-watering or wicking system that I made out of new concrete mixing tubs.
 
                                  
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Allison.  If you want burlap that isn't treated for outdoor use then try the fabric stores.  I do beleive that the burlap sold for outdoors is treated....the burlap in the fabric stores is not.
 
antonio alen
Posts: 1
Location: Germany
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello! I have my automatic sprout farm set up in my basement laundry room. But now I've tried micro green since last year and got more advantages. And I use to grow Indoors, I place my microgreen plants in bright light. The container size that I selected is wider than deep and filled with a loose planting medium such as vermiculite or perilite. I think that you try it too like me.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the way to go would be to buy/make a bunch of screen doors, with the screen protectors still on em.

drop 2 chains along the outside corners to attach em to.

mount em horizontally, and put a couple drip line misters attached to the one above. would be tempted to mount a couple LED grow panels to the bottoms too.

You could have say, 10 doors mounted up a wall, and just un-hook the side, and tilt em down to dump em in a wheelbarrow.
 
it's a teeny, tiny, wafer thin ad:
This is an example of the new permies.com Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!