I love gardening. I really do, so I was especially excited when Mercola contacted me to sponsor a review on their Sprout Doctor Starter Kit (minus the sunflower seeds). I will note here that I received seeds and products from Mercola for free, however I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.
I’ve always germinated/sprouted my seeds before I planted them in my balcony garden. However, I have yet to sprout seeds for consumption. I’m sure many of you have already heard the claims of the immense nutritional value of sprouting your own seeds. If you haven’t, Mercola has a good page here to tell you all about it. Now I can’t attest to the claims but nonetheless I’m sure there’s some truth to it and it’s got to be healthy somehow, just by the fact of how fresh your produce will be. Plus it’s fun, so it’s a win-win situation!
I was provided with 2 packages of sprouting seeds, one for pea shoots, the other for broccoli sprouts. I also received sprouting trays top and bottom (top one has drainage holes), plus an 11L bag of Sprout Doctor Soil Enhancement.
The seeds were sourced from High Mowing Organic Seeds as Mercola does not “manufacture” their own seeds. I actually just bought some tomato seeds from High Mowing too! For next year though haha.
I thought the tray was going to be too large for my use, so I decided to do my project in a clean plastic tray. I just recycled one from when I bought roasted chicken from Costco. They’re perfect for all my seed starting needs since it comes complete with a clear vented domed lid. I have three of those lying around for Spring time.
As you can see, there’s plastic wrap on half the tray. That’s because the scientist in me wanted to test the Sprout Doctor Soil Enhancement properly, via a “scientific method” of sorts. The naked half is just potting soil alone. The wrapped half has the soil enhancement mixed in. I would like to see if there’s going to be a difference in growth.
I say a “scientific method” of sorts since not all variables were controlled. I couldn’t be bothered to make sure there’s the same number of seeds on each side (as over or undercrowding could be a factor in growth patterns), nor can I really control the amount of water each side gets. But temperature and amount of light will be the same. I even made sure that I washed my hands after handling the amended side before touching the non-amended side.
After laying the soil in the tray, I misted both sides with a spray bottle until moist. The night before, I soaked the pea seeds in cool water for 12 hours. Then I drained them before scattering them on top. I decided not to cover with soil after since after researching online, that didn’t seem to be a necessity.
They sure sprouted quick. A few hours later when I went to check up on them, the peas already have little legs poking out, and the broccoli have broken through the hull and split too.
By day 1 the pea shoots have already grew long roots. You can see they’re trying to find their way into the soil. The broccoli sprouts are emerging too.
But by day 3 the broccoli had really taken off! They were standing tall and green. Pea shoots are on their way too.
Apparently by day 4 the broccoli sprouts are ready for eating! The were at least an inch tall. The pea shoots I was still waiting on.
So I harvested some broccoli sprouts for my favorite breakfast of all time….Avocado on toast! Weirdly, broccoli sprouts themselves kind of taste like mushrooms to me. Weird right?? But I love mushrooms so that’s alright with me!
The pea shoots were ready at around day 8. They were fresh tasting and tender. Make sure you harvest them while they’re still young.
In the end, sprouting is super easy and only takes a few days! And you can go as little or as large scale as you want. Give it a try! It could be your first “gardening” project 😉
And a final note, I didn’t find a difference in the growth rate or vigor between the enhanced and non-enhanced sprouts/shoots. But this was a short experiment. I’ll try the enhancement in my balcony garden also. As for the seeds, they sprouted really quickly.
Disclaimer: The product/s mentioned above have been given to me to review, and without any form of compensation. The opinions in this article are solely my own, and have not been influenced by Mercola.com and/or other parties. I understand that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated any of the statements mentioned above. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health condition. Pregnant women, nursing moms, and people who are taking medications or have a medical condition should consult their physician before using this product.