Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

Small Scale Commercial Sprouting
of Alfalfa or Red Clover

(C) 1996, Lois Thompson
Cottage Roots, Box 336
Prince Albert, SK, S6V 5P7
Phone (306) 747-3371

The intention behind these ideas is to help a new sprouter develop his/her own sprouting methods. Lois Thompson has experience with other, higher tech sprouting methods as well.

To Sprout 250g (8 oz) Seed You Will Need

  1. 2 to 3 clean 16 liter (4 US gallon) plastic pails with good flat lids (translucent plastic preferred).

  2. A room or closet with dependable temperature (18-24 C, 65-75 F).

  3. Dark coloured nylon wedding veil material (tulle) or other fine netting to generously cover pails.

  4. Bungee cords with hooks to hold netting firmly over pails.

The Sprouts Need


Wash seeds thoroughly in at least 2 changes of lukewarm water. Agitate well with hands or stick and drain water through netting.

Soak the seeds for 5-8 hours, (or overnight) in cool water and drain. Rinse and drain thoroughly. Let pail stay on side for 5 to 20 minutes to drain, then rotate 1/4 turn and let drain again.

Divide the seed into more pails as necessary during sprouting. The larger the quantity of seed in one container, the more frequent the rinsing must be. This prevents heat build-up. Cover the pails with the lids between rinsing leaving a small crack for ventilation.

Rinse the sprouts at least 3 times a day with cold water (first thing in the morning and last at night are important). Break up sprout clumps by hand while rinsing. Large amounts of sprouts have a tendency to heat in the middle if not rinsed often enough (especially in summer). Cover pails with netting held in place by bungee cords. Let pail stay on side for 5 to 20 minutes to drain, then rotate 1/4 turn and let drain again. Stand the pails up and cover them with the lids between rinsing. Leave a small crack for ventilation.

Clean & Green
About the third day, before rinsing, remove the hulls and hard seed from the bottom of the sprout mass. Skim the hulls from the top of the water when rinsing. Replace the screen and bungee, then cover pails with a transparent lid to allow greening. Polyethylene sheeting, plastic or glass will work for this.

Use room temperature water for the last rinsing. Drain extremely well and let sprouts sit until internal heat has dried them well (7-10 hours depending on batch size and room temperature). Transfer to clean pails and cover with slight ventilation at fridge temperature. Do not use poly bags or similar for extended storage.

Hints and Options

Experiment and develop your own variations.

Go back to Sprouting at Home

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Revised October 21, 1996

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture