Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Prelude to Pretzel Class: Wheat Sprouts

This is one of my preschool pretzel class experiments to do the week before. What better way is there to prove that grain is a seed? Many whole grains from a health food store will sprout easily and quickly. Kamut and hard red winter wheat berries are a sure thing. Some other grains, like hulled barley, will not sprout. That's because the outer bran layers have been removed, damaging the seed.

Here are the sprouts after two days on a wet paper towel, inside a zip-lock. They have swollen with water, and you can see the roots fingering their way out of the grains. This Kamut® seed (my favorite wheat) is at least eight years old, and still sprouts like a champ.

A couple of days later, the paper towels grew mold spots, the roots grew through the paper towels, and I discovered that I didn't really know how to operate the camera. The photos aren't worth posting. I'm going to try again, with a different setup, and some camera instruction.

Six days after that, here's the wheat grass. You can still see the grain that the grass is sprouting out of.
I'll revisit this project with better photos, and hopefully a better growing method. The bowls go dry quickly, damaging the roots. The Montissori teachers just showed me a better way, which I will try. They put a folded wet paper towel around the inside of a clear glass, putting the grain between the glass and the paper towel. Extra water can be put in the glass, to be wicked up. The glass is open to air flow, hopefully preventing the mold. Also make sure to only use grains that look the most perfect. Damaged grains that do not sprout become food for mold.

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