Originally Posted by featherbaby
Great idea!!! Do you think the sprouts would grow up through plastic canvas if I put it over them to hold the seeds in place?
what has your experience been with cocoa matting? Is it safe for chickens? Where do you buy it?
Those of you who use paper towels, do you put the seeds on top of the towels just to anchor the roots? How do you set this up?
Plastic canvas? Like that used in sand bags? I don't think so. The OP serves them vertically, but they are grown horizontally.
Cocoa matting/"baby blanket" I bought online from sproutpeople.com. I had already had success with small scale hydroponic growth, but wanted increased yields in both density and height. I was comparing what I was producing to what was available (4" organic pots) in stores and theirs were much nicer. The matting isn't exactly cheap, but I did my research and liked what I found. I wanted it to be soil-less, and this is only 1/8" thick, and holds moisture well. It's organic, but my personal choice is not to serve to chickens directly because the fine threads can be ingested and I don't like the idea what it could do to them. Instead, I either harvest/cut the grass as low as I can, or I'll pull the grass out of the matting. If you do it right, you can get it all out without the matting, but it's much quicker to cut.
Using the matting, I did enjoy the yield increase that I hoped for. Very easy to use, and will compost once I'm done with harvest. I got all my supplies from the site above, which includes a drip tray (solid tray on bottom), drainage tray (tray with big holes which you plant in), and a vented cover. It sounds involved but if you compare this to what the OP used, what is the same is that they both drain well. You want to avoid too much moisture, or you'll end up with mold growth. That's the downside of dense foliage, is that there is less air movement, so you need to rinse well (2-3 times a day) and drain/ventilate. I started with 4" trays, eventually moving to 22" trays and had success without any mold, until sometime late Fall where I think the humidity levels started going up. It wasn't bad, but it bothered me since I was growing it indoors and didn't need to be growing mold. Not a show stopper, just a little thing you have to watch for.
I saw some documentation regarding using paper towels and I was intrigued to give it a try. Methods are identical, just much thinner. The article suggested using unbleached paper towels, but I just used normal household type... bounty I think.
I'm not sure if the OP sprouts the wheat before "planting" in trays, but I sprout all mine first using Sprout Master trays. I soak them 8-12 hours first, then drain and rinse in the sprout master 2 times a day until there's about 1/8-1/4" roots. Then I spread it over the medium and rinse 2 times a day. The paper towels I wet and place on the tray, trim excess if any, then I gently spread the sprouted grains on top. Then I take the sprayer from the sink to help spread it out without damaging the root/shoot. The paper (or any other medium) is used for the roots to grab on to something during early part of the growth. It also serves to help keep the roots moist.
I cover mine until there's about 3-4" of growth. The site doesn't explain WHY, but I think it encourages growth and mimics the seeds living under ground, while discouraging the plant to start opening up. Then I let it grow uncovered and it opens up and grows 6-8" before I harvest. All about 7-10 days.