Health-conscious folks across the country love this vibrant green little grass, and if you’re one of them, you know how much natural food stores and smoothie shops charge for it. So why not grow your own? Wheat grass is actually just the baby stage of wheat plants and can grow to 4–9″ tall. This plant has been used by humans for over 5,000 years and first appeared in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Some people grow wheat grass for their kitty to help the digestive system, aid in furball elimination, and provide helpful nutrients. In the 1930s, it started to gain popularity in the US and Canada, being sold in a powdered form as early as 1940. Health claims include that it is cleansing, purifying, nutritious, and a sweet and easy way to get a dose of greens.
Seed Depth: 1/4–1/2″
Space Between Plants: Scatter densely in growing tray.
Space Between Rows: 1/4″
Germination Soil Temperature: 50–65°F
Days for Germination: 3–5
Sow Indoors: Year-round.
Sow Outdoors: Not recommended. You could grow outdoors during any frost-free time of year, but it’s easier to tend and harvest when right on your counter.
When grown indoors it will thrive any time of year, making it a great source of year-round greens. If you are growing it outdoors, make sure it doesn’t get down below freezing at night, or bring the growing tray inside.
Natural: Full sun. Partial sun. Grown indoors, a sunny window provides enough light.
Artificial: If you don’t have enough sunny space in your home, wheat grass will grow well under fluorescent of LED lights. Provide 10–12 hours of light daily.
Soil: Prefers a well-drained loamy potting soil mix.
Soilless: Pre-sprout before planting in a sprouter or jar. When planting, you can use a piece of wool felt, coco coir, or vermiculite.
Hydroponics: Because you harvest wheat grass so young, it doesn’t make much sense to grow in a hydroponic system.
Aeroponics: Aeroponic sprouters will work well for starting seeds.
Water: Soak seeds in water overnight before planting. You can use this water in your garden. Water germinating seeds twice per day using a misting spray bottle to avoid displacing them. Once the seeds have rooted, keep the growing medium consistently moist.
Nutrients: Requires no added nutrients. If you are hoping to get multiple harvests from the same planting, provide a liquid source of nutrients like compost tea or liquid seaweed, especially if using a soilless media.
Disease(s): Your wheat grass sprouts may be susceptible to mold if they are planted too densely or kept too wet with poor air circulation.
Companions: Can be grown as part of a mixture with other sprouts including flax, oats, barley, and rye.
Harvest: Cut the leaves just above the soil level when they have just started to grow their second leaf. At this time, the grass should be around 7″ tall. You can harvest slightly earlier or later without ill effects. After the first harvest, wheat grass will re-grow, though it may not reach the same height for the second cutting. A third cutting is sometimes possible if you’re lucky.
Storage: Ideally, you won’t be storing wheat grass since the best flavor is found in grass that is freshly cut. If you’ve grown too much for one serving, reduce watering the last day before harvest, then place cut leaves in a plastic bag or airtight container in the refrigerator and use as soon as possible.
Fun Fact: Wheat grass is gluten-free since it only contains the green parts of the plant.
Preserve: Leaves can be dried in a dehydrator or an oven set to low and ground into a powder to add to smoothies or green drinks. You can also put this powder in a capsule and take it like a supplement. Also commonly freeze dried. Juice can be frozen for later consumption.
Prepare: Add fresh leaves to smoothies, put them in your juicer, or simply chew the grass and spit out any remaining fiber.
Nutritional: Provides vitamin(s) A, C, E, K, and B. Also a good source of iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.
Medicinal: Many sources posit health benefits associated with regular consumption of wheat grass, though the scientific literature does not always back up these claims. It might be helpful for lowering blood pressure, cleaning the liver, managing diabetes, promoting tooth health, and increasing metabolism. It contains chemicals that may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, or antibacterial properties.
Try these wheat grass juice combinations in your juicer.