It was so hot and tropical this fall. Finally, the day after Halloween, the cool weather came, blowing away the heavy, damp heat.
The light is different now, beaming in long, honey-colored rays through the afternoon trees.
The last yellow cherry leaves are wavering at the tips of tiny branches where little birds flutter and chit, and the leafy ground smells spicy like holiday baking.
I feel alive again on the crisp, cold mornings that make you gasp when you go outside, away from the muffled cozy fire, out into the bright, loud morning where the geese are honking and the pigs rumble and gurgle.
The garden at last looks a little like a garden. The little plants seemed to drag their feet in the hot weather. It’s been so long since we have had anything fresh from the garden, and I’ve been longing for fresh vegetables again.
With the farm scaled way back, the cows on hay, and the two companies Ethan was working for having long waits for paychecks, we had only $11 to get through one week at the end there, and we just couldn’t afford organic store bought veggies.
Then i realized i could grow vegetables quite quickly on my kitchen counter. It all started with a cup of organic mung beans i bought for about 80 cents from the bulk section at Ward’s grocery. It was just one cup, and I didn’t know what i was getting myself into.
My sprouting project quickly outgrew the quart jar i had soaked them in. I transferred them into two half gallons, and in just a couple days moved them over to two gallon jars, and from there into four of the largest mixing bowls i own, where they started taking over the kitchen.
The family complained. You could hardly walk through because of the sprouts. Think “Little Shop of Horrors”. Everyone got tired of eating them in everything, so i burdened my friends and family with as many as i could get away with without them never speaking to me again.
I don’t believe for a second that you can’t eat healthy on a tight budget. There is the claim that only the more prosperous can afford to eat healthy, everyone else is stuck with cheap fast food and frozen meals, which is actually a very, very expensive, in terms of money and health.
It might take some time and effort, but i was quite impressed with our return on 80 cents. From there i started sprouting lentils, rice, buckwheat, beans, and kamut to increase the nutrition, digestability, and vegetable quality in our grains and legumes. I also tried sweet peas, radish, and alfalfa, but these were more expensive because they were special sprouting seeds.
Sprouting is quite easy, I’ve found. I have no special equipment, only glass jars and a mesh strainer.
First i soak the seeds in a jar with lots of water overnight. In the morning i drain them by holding the strainer over the mouth of the jar and pouring the water out.
Then i rinse them by filling the jar with water again and repeating draining again. I give them a gentle shake to make sure they are lose and aerated. I move them to larger jars quickly as they grow and expand. I found that keeping a loose lid on bean sprouts and peas keeps them from getting dry and uneven. I will put a dish cloth over the top otherwise to keep insects out.
In hot weather i rinsed the sprouts 2-3 times a day. The buckwheat was sort of gooey, and i would fill the jar with water twice when i rinsed to keep the seeds from fermenting and tasting funky. In cool weather i only need to rinse them 1x per day to keep them fresh.
I’ve been really enjoying this little counter garden of mine, and i know that soon we will have lots of fresh vegetables from the garden.