Howto: Fresh Vegetables Year Round without a Garden or Grocery Store

by Erich

Did you know that you can have a source of fresh vegetables that are available all year long without the need of a grocery store or garden? Read on to find out more…

grow-sproutsFor those of you that may one day have to live exclusively off of your food storage, have you ever wondered what to do about the lack of fresh vegetables? Well if you’ve taken my advice and stored a year’s supply of grains and legumes, you already have an excellent source of fresh vegetables all year long – in your sprouted seeds!

Seeds are nature’s miracles. They contain all the nutrients and energy needed to support a young seedling until it develops its own root system large enough to sustain itself from the sun and soil. For humans the raw seed is an excellent food source, but even more perfect than the seed in its raw form is the sprouted seed.

The process of sprouting takes a carbohydrate rich food source and turns it into a “live” food rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and beneficial enzymes and on top of that is healthier than commercially grown vegetables! Best of all, growing sprouts doesn’t require any special equipment, soil, or land. With a simple container, 30 seconds of care a day, and some water you can turn your food storage into a vegetable source that is available in all four seasons.

Here’s the process:

How to Grow Sprouts

CAUTION: Be aware that potato and tomato sprouts are poisonous.
  1. Referencing the sprouting chart below, measure out the required amount of seed. Try to use organic, untreated seeds if possible.
  2. Place the seeds in a jar and completely cover them with warm water until the water is twice the height of the seeds.
  3. Cover the jar with a breathable membrane (cheesecloth, paper towel, pantyhose etc) and soak the seeds overnight or as indicated in the chart
  4. After soaking overnight, drain out the water and rinse the seeds with cold water. Repeat the rinsing every 8 hours or 3 times a day (or as specified in the chart).
    Day 1

    Day 1

    Day 2 (notice the small sprouts forming)

    Day 2 (notice the small sprouts forming)

    Day 3

    Day 3

  5. For greener sprouts expose them to indirect sunlight so they develop chlorophyll. For whiter sprouts, keep them out of the light.

Sprouting Chart

(Sources: Stevens 1997, 198; Emery 1998, 114)
Seed Quantity per quart jar Soak time (hours) Rinses per day Avg # days to sprout Harvest length (inches)
Adzuki bean 1/2 cup 6-12 3-5 2-5 1/2 – 1 1/2
Alfalfa 2 tbsp 3-8 2-5 3-6 1/2 – 2
Almond 1 cup 10-12 2-3 2-5 when split
Amaranth 12 tbsp none 3-4 2-3 1/4
Barley 1 1/2 cups 5-10 2-4 2-4 0 – 1/4
Cabbage 3 tbsp 7-10 2-3 3-5 1/2 – 3/4
Cabbage, chinese 3 tbsp 4-7 2-3 3-5 1 – 1 1/2
Clover 1 ½ tbsp 4-8 2-3 3-5 1-2
Corn 1 ½ cups 8-12 2-3 2-3 1/4 – 1/2
Garbanzo (chickpeas) 1 cup 8-12 3-4 2-4 1/2
Kidney Beans

(CAUTION: Studies indicate that consuming large amounts of raw kidney beans may be toxic.)
3/4 cup 8-12 3-4 2-4 1/2 – 1
Lentil 3/4 cup 5-10 2-4 2-4 1/4 – 1
Lettuce 3 tbsp 3-7 2-3 3-5 1 – 1 1/2
Millet 1 ½ cups 4-8 2-3 2-4 1/8 – 1/4
Mung Bean 1/2 cup 6-10 3-4 3-5 1-3
Mustard 3 tbsp 5-8 2-3 3-5 1 – 1 1/2
Oats 1 ½ cups 3-5 1-2 1-2 0 – 1/4
Pea (not split) 2 cups 7-10 2-3 2-3 1/4 – 1/2
Peanut 1 cup 8-12 2-3 3-5 1/4 – 1
Pinto Bean 1 cup 8-12 3-4 3-4 1/2 – 1 1/4
Pumpkin 1 ½ cups 5-10 2-3 2-3 1/8 – 1/4
Quinoa 1/3 cup 3-5 2-3 1-2 1/4 – 1 1/2
Radish 3 tbsp 5-8 2-3 3-5 1/4 – 1 1/2
Rice 1 ½ cups 10-20 2-3 2-4 seed length
Rye 1 cup 6-10 2-3 2-3 1/4 – 1/2
Sesame 1 ½ cups 6-10 3-4 2-3 seed length

(CAUTION: Studies indicate that consuming large amounts of raw soy beans may be toxic.)
1 cup 10-20 5-6 3-6 1/2 – 2
Spinach 3 tbsp 5-8 2-3 3-5 1/2 – 2
Sunflower (hulled) 1 cup 2-6 2-3 1/2-3 1/2 – 2
Triticale 1 ½ cups 6-10 2-3 2-3 1/4 – 1/2
Wheat 1 cup 6-10 2-3 2-5 1/4 – 1/2

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Comment by Lisa
2009-11-17 19:06:12

I’ve never tried sprouting before but have been very interested in this. I’m going to print out your information and the chart and give it a try.


Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2009-11-18 22:55:33

let me know if you figure out any good recipes. Sprouts aren’t my favorite food by themselves, but with other stuff like sandwiches, omelets or stir-fry they’re pretty good.

Comment by Michael
2009-12-01 18:12:50


after the first soak, you have subsequent rinses…do you leave the water in it, or drain the water after the rinse and leave to sit moist in the covered jar?

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2009-12-01 22:15:30


Good question. Yes, you’ll want to drain it completely after the first soak. Subsequent rinses you’ll just fill it up with water, shake it a bit to drench the the seed in water and then drain completely again (just to keep it moist as you said).

Comment by Michael
2009-12-02 16:46:43

Great, thanks!!

Comment by Michael
2009-12-09 16:10:32

i just wanted to let you all know that my Alfalfa sprouts are excellent!!!
Thanks for the chart!!

Comment by Erich
2009-12-09 17:38:50


that’s great! Alfalfa are my favorite sprouts. Very tasty and light.

Comment by Mom to 4 arrows
2011-01-04 03:56:52

Per, truly RAW almonds cannot be purchased in the U.S. (

Question: have you tried to sprout almonds that we do get in the U.S. that are called ‘raw’ and if so, have you had good results?

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-01-05 17:10:35

Yes I have tried to sprout Almonds, but like you said I didn’t get good results. I wasn’t aware that our “raw” almonds aren’t truly raw. Thanks for the good link.

Comment by Shreela
2011-03-01 17:08:03

Are sprouted kidney beans no longer considered dangerous (I don’t remember if they’re toxic, anti-nutrients, or just disagreeable to the system). But I do remember from somewhere that supposedly we’re not even suppose to make kidney beans in a crockpot – only boil on stove-top.

So if the experts still recommend against kidney bean sprouts, maybe you might add a warning? Thanks!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-03-06 23:07:59

Thanks Shreela,

There are indications that if consumed in large amounts, raw kidney beans are toxic. However, since kidney bean sprouts have a bitter taste and aren’t particularly palatable, it would probably be difficult to consume a harmful amount. However, I will add a warning. Thanks again!

Comment by vegetable gardening
2011-05-10 03:31:23

i also do sprouting for my mung beans. Growing your own veggies in containers are very convenient and economical.

Comment by heritage seeds
2011-06-26 01:27:04

Absolutely a great hub – can’t wait to get atarted. Excellent tips and most informative. A big thanks! Voted way up!

Comment by Ruth
2012-07-17 01:08:13

My favorite-ever sprouter is a plastic peanut butter jar. I used the smallest drill bit I have on my Dremel tool (probably something like 1/32″) and drilled a bazillion holes in the lid. It drains like a champ, eliminating the need for cloth, and the holes are small enough to keep in even the tiniest seeds.

You can also use it as an amazing sugar-sprinkler for getting a nice even coating on large areas, like for cinnamon toast or to add a little bit of sweetness to tart apple slices before dehydrating.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-07-18 05:27:07

Great tip Ruth! Thank you.

Comment by pem
2012-10-25 11:20:00

The raw soybeans should probably be roasted before eating, to denature the Tryptophan. Feeding the raw soy beans to chickens will cause the chickens to starve because they can’t handle the tryptophan until it is denatured.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-10-26 06:58:23


Thanks for the good tip.

Comment by Simon
2013-06-23 19:02:05

Red Kidney beans need to be cooked as they do indeed carry a toxin basically.

If boiled then they require 1 to 1 1/2 hour till tender from a rolling boil.

If done in a pressure cooker then its 5 to 8 mins at 15psi once the steam stops escaping and the lid is then sealed by the internal pressure.

Or you can take all the worry out of it and use a slow cooker and cook with all the other ingredients for a long time.

And if your wondering why the different times, that all comes down to how long they were soaked for in the first place.
Do not bother to sprout them, just soak over night minimum or 24 hours and get cooking.

The reason when you are sprouting seeds that you need to rinse them at least once a day, then leave to drain, is to remove those things that will try and ferment them, I say rinse at least once a day because you may need to do it more than once depending on what it is your sprouting, (then commit it to memory) how can you tell if it needs to be done more often, your nose will be your guide, if its smelling “odd” then rinse with clean cold water and let drain for a while, enough water will remain between each seed/shoot.

Oh and one more thing I noted that potato sprouts/ leaves (and green potatoes) and tomato sprouts / leaves are stated as poisonous, well they are all part of the same family which includes Deadly Night Shade (Belladonna) strange but true!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-06-24 15:54:42

Great comment and insights Simon. Thanks!

Comment by Simon
2013-06-23 19:10:28

Another tip (this may have been said already so apologies if thats the case),
I use cut up sections of the legs off tights, (pantyhoes?), that have been sanitised before use over the top of my jars held in place with elastic bands that I get from my postman (the elastic bands not the tights!…lol)

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-06-24 15:54:02

Great tip Simon. Thanks!

2013-08-02 04:45:38

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