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.
There are stackable bread trays that might work well for such a system:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you or anyone else know what the blueish plastic might be that's underneath the burlap and hangs down over the edges?
Maybe the blue stuff is some kind of food grade plastic material though?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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