How to grow sprouts and save money

November 22, 2021 7 min read

growing sprouts at home DIY

Sprouts are incredibly fast-growing seeds that can be grown in our Speedy Sprouters within days! The quick growth, low cost, awesome nutritional benefits and ability to jazz up your meals make growing sprouts an ideal option for those wishing to live a healthy and self-sustainable lifestyle – while keeping an eye on the bottom-line.

 

What are sprouts?

Simply put – sprouts are plants that are consumed within 1-2 weeks of germination. Sprouts are smaller versions of the fully grown plant – but generally take on the same characteristics of the adult version. For example, onion sprouts have a mild yet distinct taste which is similar to the fully grown onion sprouts. Some common examples of sprouts which are all available at Urban Plant Growers include:

Sprouts are similar to microgreens, with the main difference being that sprouts grow for a shorter period of time compared to microgreens. Microgreens are often grown in trays with coco coir or coconut mat growing mediums. Sprouts usually just have one set of leaves which are the plant’s baby leaves, whereas microgreens may sometimes have two or three sets of leaves. You can usually grow sprout seeds as microgreens and vice-versa.

How do I grow sprouts?

There are a range of ways to grow sprouts. The two main methods are growth in sprout jars, or growth in trays. In commercial growing there are automated misting systems with good drainage, and airflow that massively reduce the maintenance time required to grow your greens.

Our favourite and easiest way of growing sprouts is in a special jar. Interested in getting started? We have a full guide on how you can get growing sprouts at home.

What are the benefits of growing sprouts?

There are so many benefits to growing sprouts that its hard to focus on just one. Here are some of the big ones that our team loves to talk about!

Health benefits

According to webmd, there are a range of health benefits attributed to sprouts including:

  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Improved digestive health
  • Improved heart health
  • Great source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate and beta carotene.

You don’t need much equipment to grow sprouts

Traditional gardening requires soil, space, light and sometimes tools. Similarly hydroponic gardening setups like ours require equipment, nutrients, electricity, and growing mediums. By comparison, all you need to grow sprouts is a jar, seeds, and water! That’s because sprouts don’t need light (although it may help a day or two before harvesting to give them a burst of colour), and they also don’t need nutrients from soil or fertlisers as they get all of their energy and food from the seed they come from!

Cut out the plastic waste

If you buy fully grown sprouts at the supermarket, it will come in a plastic container. You can cut the need to consume that entirely by growing sprouts yourself. Best of all, our 25 and 100g seed sachets are 100% upcycled paper!

Sprouts are super-fast growers

That’s right! When seeds germinate, they shoot out their first set of leaves and pump energy from the seed into those leaves until they are large enough to support the growth of more leaves. This early growth means you can harvest microgreens in 1-2 weeks depending on the type of seed you are using.

Very little space required

Say you’re growing tomatoes – the vines and leaves take up a lot more space compared to the amount of space the actual tomato uses. You might get a few kgs of tomatoes out of one cubic metre of space if you’re lucky. By comparison – sprouts grow densely in a jar or tray – with very little space wasted or empty, similarly – with most sprouts you can eat the whole plant, so 100% of it is used up!

Can save you money

Growing sprouts is cheap, you can get 1kg of alfalfa seeds on our website for $39.99. That 1kg turns into 18kg worth of fully grown sprouts in just 7 days! More detail on that further down.

Tastes great

There is such an awesome range of sprouts, all with unique flavors that can spice up any dish. Better yet – sprouts are used in a number of cuisines, from the heavy use of mung bean and pea sprouts in Chinese cooking, to the use of fenugreek in Indian dishes, and alfalfa in pretty much any western salad, sandwich or wrap.

Fun to do

Finally, sprouts are fun to grow. Because you can see them grow so fast, it’s an exciting to come home everyday and see the change in growth! P.S. growing sprouts is a great activity to do with the kids.

How much does it cost to grow sprouts?

OK getting into the numbers now. The two main costs for growing sprouts in sprout jars are the cost of the jar, and the cost of the seeds.

Sprout jars typically cost between $10 and $30 for a jar that is roughly 1 Litre in volume. The lower end of the market of course has less durable, plastic jars, with plastic lids and poor drainage. Our Speedy Sprouter is a high-quality glass jar with a metal mesh lid and paper packaging. Overall, it costs $17.99 for one, and $32.99 if you buy a twin pack (at the time of writing).

Sprout seeds can range from about 1 cent per gram, to 36 cents per gram depending on what you are growing, our seed prices can be seen below:

Type

Grams

UPG Price

Price per gram

Sizes available

Mung Bean

100

 $          5.99

 $                   0.06

100g/1kg

Snow Peas

100

 $          8.99

 $                   0.09

100g/1kg

Alfalfa

25

 $          3.99

 $                   0.16

25g/100g/1kg

Fenugreek

25

 $          4.99

 $                   0.20

25g

Red cabbage

25

 $          4.99

 $                   0.20

25g

Red russian Kale

25

 $          5.99

 $                   0.24

25g

Sprouting broccoli

25

 $          5.99

 $                   0.24

25g

Sprouting onion

25

 $          8.99

 $                   0.36

25g

*Seed prices as at 22/11/2021

How much sprouts can you grow from my seeds?

We wanted to make sure that our sprout seeds and kits were providing value to our customers. The problem is that supermarkets sell 100 grams of fully grown sprouts, whereas we sell sprout seeds which grow to more than 100 grams. We couldn’t find a fair comparison - so we did some experimenting!

We started by adding 5 grams of Alfalfa, fenugreek, and broccoli seeds to three separate jars. Over one week we weighed them each day, and the results were staggering:

Type

Starting Weight (grams)

Ending Weight (grams)

% Increase

Alfalfa

5

89

1780

Fenugreek

5

45

900

Sprouting broccoli

5

56

1120

 

That’s right, within one week your sprouts can grow up to 1780%! To help you visualize how much 50 grams of sprouts is, it ends up being about a handful, so this much could reasonably be eaten daily by an individual person.

How much money can you save by growing your own sprouts?

Pulling it all together, lets see just how much money we can save by growing sprouts at home. At the growth rates above, our smallest packs of alfalfa, fenugreek and broccoli would give us a price per gram of grown sprouts of $0.002, $0.011, and $0.009 compared to $0.02 and $0.013 per gram of fully grown sprouts (alfalfa and broccoli respectively) from the supermarket.

Comparing this to growing from our seeds, we can see that growing alfalfa is about 855% cheaper than buying it in store, and broccoli is about 127% cheaper!

Bringing together, if you wanted to eat 50g of alfalfa sprouts per day, you would not only eliminate dozens of plastic sprout packs from being sent to landfill, but you’d also save $550.73 over a year by growing it yourself. If you were to grow Broccoli seeds, you’d save $54.93 over a year.

* See appendix for calculations

How to turn your home into a sprout farm?

Now that you’ve hopefully been convinced that growing sprouts is an economical way to save money and eat healthily – lets dive into our recommendation for how you can get started.

Start small. If you try to grow too much at once without previous experience, it will be too much to manage, you’ll make a mistake somewhere along the line, and feel upset with yourself for doing so. Start with one or two sprout jars and see how they work for you. If you are happy with them, then consider buying more and setting up a few different sprouts' jars running on a cycle so that you’ve always got fresh greens!

We wish you the best of luck with your sprout growing journey, if you ever have any questions, always feel free to reach out to us and speak to our friendly team (link to contact us page).

Appendix: Calculations

 

Seed

Weight of Pack (g)

Weight fully grown (g)

Cost of pack ($)

Cost per gram ($/g)

Alfalfa

1000

17,800

39.99

$0.002

Fenugreek

100

900

9.99

$0.011

Broccoli

100

1,120

10.99

$0.010

 

We were unable to find prices for fully grown fresh fenugreek sprouts online, however we could find the prices for alfalfa and broccoli sprouts – the cheapest results we could find ended up costing $0.02 and $0.013 per gram of fully grown sprout (alfalfa and broccoli respectively).

 

Seed

Weight of Pack (g)

Cost of pack ($)

Cost per gram retail ($/g)

Cost per gram UPG ($/g)

% Difference in cost

Alfalfa

125

$2.4

$0.019

$0.002

855%

Fenugreek

 -

-

-

-

-

Broccoli

200

$2.5

$0.013

$0.010

127%

 

If you were to eat 50 grams per day, or 18.25kg/year, then the difference between prices would amount to $309.40 and $49.05 for alfalfa and broccoli sprouts, respectively.

 

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