Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sprouting fodder for our livestock Part 5 - success & growth

This morning when it was time to rinse/drain, I was greeted by green on the sprouts!  This was a happy moment because this being my first time sprouting I was hoping that everything I'd read about them not needing to be in direct sunlight would still produce a green growth, which (yay!) happened.  The sprouts have been sitting on the island counter in the middle of the kitchen, getting indirect sunlight from the window over the sink and the window next to the door.

1/09/13 - Pasture mix green - day 5

It was suggested that at this stage it would be beneficial to the sprouts if they were transferred out of the jars into a bin where they could have more space, better air flow and better light.  The picture below was taken a few minutes after arranging them; later in the day the sprouts had grown/moved more upwards, towards the light coming in from the skylight (I'd also moved them from the kitchen to the bathroom, where the main setup is)

1/09/13 - winter wheat, black oil sunflower seeds, pasture mix - day 5

The set up, ta-da!  My original plan was to use racks that came out of an old fridge, lay them across the edge of the tub and put the trays on them.  The racks weren't long enough.

This set up is from supplies I already had on hand.  The wire racks I'd purchased about 15 years ago from either Kmart or Walmart.  I did a little rearranging of towels and supplies so I could use these.  The bins I had stored in a box, I'd bought them a few years ago at one of the dollar stores.

If you haven't been following along (our Sprouting/Fodder page) I'm using our bathtub because it doesn't get used for baths.  Our hot water heater can only fill it 1/4 of the way with hot water, so its been used as a beginning brooder for chicks & guineas and not a tub.  I don't have to worry about setting up draining tubs to catch the water, I have a water source about 2 ft from the bins, it sits almost directly under a big skylight.

Please don't pay attention to the awful colors in this room, I haven't gotten around to painting over it yet, so just pretend its white or pale blue. 

I had 20 bins in the box, plus 2 that I found on top of the fridge in Mr. Wilds shop.  The grating we've had for years, its been sitting around waiting for a job.

Last night (1/08/13) I mixed the 3 seeds/grains that I used in the trial into a 5 gallon bucket.  
I used pasture mix (orchard, timothy, fescue & rye grasses with red & ladino clovers), black oil sunflower seeds and winter wheat.  During the trial I've noticed that the growth rate was really close for all three, the wheat sprouting a bit longer than the other two, so I decided that for this round I'd mix them together and see how that works.  The mix weighed 20 lbs dry.

1/08/13 - close up of the 3 mixed together

I did the initial mixing of the 3 in one bucket, it was about an inch and a half maybe two inches from the top.  I realized as I had my hands in it stirring it around that I was going to need more space for water and swelling.  I got another bucket, divided it in half and then filled them a little over half full with cold water straight out of the faucet.  Some of the other trials/journeys I've read through have mentioned adding vitamins  or soaking in bleach or vinegar, this is to help prevent mold and to help with growth.  I'd like to see how this goes without any additions as one of the reasons for doing this is to reduce costs for feed.  If I have issues with mold I'll consider the options that have been shared.

1/09/13 - after soaking overnight, roughly 12 hours

I still needed to drill the holes in the bins.  I used a 3/32 drill bit.  I used this small size because the grasses and the clover seeds are tiny and I didn't want the water to pour out quickly.

I drilled 12 holes in each bin.  I'd recommend drilling from the inside of the bin to the outside.  I did it from the bottom into the inside and ended up with lots of plastic sticking up into the bin, blocking the holes.  I also did a quick in/out drilling and ended up having to re-drill each hole (12x22 twice,  not fun) and then clean up each hole with a pair of tweezers to remove all the plastic.

I drilled holes yesterday in the red bucket, after the time it took to drain I now realize I should've drilled many many more.  This bucket is only for rinsing after the overnight soak, so I do want the water to drain quickly. 

1/09/13 - rinsing after soaking overnight - the purple color is from the red clover

I measured out 6 cups for each bin, I weighed each bin, they ranged from 2.42 lbs to 2.64 lbs, so I added/subtracted to make them each an even 2.5 lbs.  The exception being the big bin in the back left, that bin is quite a bit bigger so it ended up with almost 6 lbs in it, spread out it is an inch deep.  

1/09/13 - the seeds dispersed evenly into 12 bins

The seeds needed to be rinsed a few more times as the water that was draining was still draining with a purple tinge.  I rinsed/drained 5 times before the water ran clear.  I don't know if this was necessary but it made me feel better that I wasn't leaving dirty water in.

I use a gallon jug to rinse, pouring in enough water to float/move the seeds in the entire bin.  Its a little over 1/2 full when I do this.  Again, I don't know if this is right, but for me I can see that the water is getting to all parts of the bin, watering them all.  I also think (and I'll post how it turns out) that the flooding method will help to wash out anything that may cause molds and give everything a better chance for growth.

1/09/13 - close up of the rinsing/draining

I put the temperature & humidity gauge on the back of the tub.  I've read that the seeds need between 60-70 degrees, with 65 being optimal.  This was up in our barn and I didn't give it much chance to adjust to the temp change when I took the picture.  When I checked it around 3pm, it was 64 degrees.

Tomorrow I'll go over the costs, the things I'd change about what I've done so far, the supplies and what I expect out from the amount I've put in.

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