How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts: The Complete Guide

Broccoli sprouts planted in soil

Last Updated on January 30, 2021

If you’re a vegetable enthusiast, you probably know how to grow broccoli sprouts. These microgreens are immature seedling versions of a common vegetable known as broccoli. They’re loaded with incredible nutrients, including huge levels of sulforaphane, that help you stay healthy. 

Although they’re healthy vegetables, broccoli sprouts are a bit expensive and rarely available in the shops. The good news is that broccoli sprouts can be grown at home. What you need is some knowledge about cultivating them at home.

Here are a few different ways you can grow broccoli sprouts at home:

  • Grow broccoli sprouts in a mason jar.
  • Grow broccoli sprouts in soil.
  • Grow broccoli sprouts with the help of a grow mat.
  • Grow broccoli sprouts on growing paper.
  • Grow broccoli sprouts in wood shavings.
  • Grow broccoli sprouts using a commercial kit.
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts

Why Should You Grow Your Own Broccoli Sprouts at Home?

Broccoli sprouts are among the healthiest foods you can think of. These humble sprouts are high in glucoraphanin, which your body converts into sulforaphane. Sulforaphane helps protect against inflammation and is beneficial to your health in other ways, including:

  • Cancer prevention.
  • Neurodegenerative disease prevention.
  • Cardiovascular disease prevention.
  • Increases glutathione, which aids in detoxification and inflammation.

You can save money cultivating them on your own. Keep in mind that store-bought broccoli sprouts are costly compared to growing them at home. One ounce of store-bought broccoli sprouts can cost as much as 2 dollars; the same ounce will cost you under 20 cents. That’s ten times cheaper!

All you need to do is buy certified seeds in bulk. With basic equipment, you can grow between 15 and 16 pounds of broccoli sprouts for every pound of seeds. 

They’re also easy to grow and take care of compared to other vegetables such as celery, fennel, cabbage, and some lettuces. These veggies are time-intensive, require more space in the garden, and are relatively expensive to look after. 

Broccoli sprouts grow faster and are ready for consumption in just a couple of days. Most importantly, they’re healthier than most other vegetables. 

Which To Broccoli Seeds and Where To Buy Them

Broccoli sprout planted in a jar

When it comes to growing broccoli sprouts for the first time, you’re likely to rush to a traditional vegetable seed catalog to buy broccoli seeds. But this can be expensive and unnecessary as seeds sold in gardening catalogs are only meant for growing in the garden. 

Varieties have been produced to only bear certain traits once they mature, so they’re more costly than those for growing broccoli sprouts or microgreens. 

Since you don’t want your broccoli to reach maturity, you don’t have to go for costly seeds. Instead, choose cheaply sold broccoli seeds meant for sprouting only, not producing mature, large, and high-quality broccoli heads. 

Focus on looking for organic sprouting seeds for broccoli rather than seeds treated with fungicides. Organic is a key factor for cultivating fresh sprouts instead of rushing to buy seeds bred using conventional herbicides or pesticides. You can purchase high-quality broccoli sprouting seeds from online retailing platforms at affordable rates. 

What Is the Best Form of Lighting for Growing Broccoli Sprouts?

Broccoli sprouts and other forms of microgreens thrive best on sunny windowsills. To be precise, they grow well when they’re on East or West-facing windowsills, especially in summer, spring, or fall. In winter, you can place them on south-facing windows. 

Grow lights can help in winter. Some grow light brands are affordable and readily available for you; they’re sized perfectly to take care of sprouts in different containers. 

Examples include gooseneck lights and tube grow lights, which are designed to provide enough artificial sunlight for sprouting plants. Another type is tabletop grow lights that are made for single trays. Light fixtures with fluorescent tubes are an affordable source of light for growing sprouts. 

All these light sources work perfectly to make your broccoli sprouts grow steadily and uniformly. You’re advised to leave them on for 16–18 hours a day for the best results. Where necessary, use automatic timers to save energy and to ensure that your microgreens get light at the right time and duration. 

Also, remember to keep your trays at least 2–4 inches beneath their source of light. Any farther away may make your seedlings stretch towards the source of light and ruin the sprouting process.

How To Grow Broccoli Sprouts: Six Different Methods

Broccoli Sprouts planted in a white ceramic pot

There are many ways you can grow your broccoli sprouts. Some of the methods require specialized equipment, but most don’t. Since most of the growth will be indoors, you can use methods that don’t need soil. 

Here are our top six methods for growing broccoli sprouts.

Growing Broccoli Sprouts in a Mason Jar

One of the easiest methods of growing sprouts indoors is by using a mason jar. This is a popular option as you only require good seeds and basic equipment. All you need is a few clean quart-sized mason jars with lids and base to set up your project. 

In the absence of a sprouting lid, you can use cheesecloth with rubber bands or try pieces of window screening. 

Materials

  • A clean quart-sized mason jar with a sprouting lid.
  • Filtered water.
  • Tablespoon.
  • Apple cider.

Method

1. Start by soaking 2 tablespoons of seeds in a cup of clean water. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the cup and let them soak for about 10 minutes. Soaking will help sanitize the seeds. After 10 minutes, drain the solution and rinse the seeds with clean water.

2. Transfer the seeds to a mason jar and fill it with water. Cover with a lid, place the jar in a dark place at room temperature and let the broccoli seeds soak overnight, or at least 12 hours.

3. Once your seeds have soaked overnight, drain and place the jar on its side on top of a counter. Ensure the seeds are as spread out as possible. Use filtered water to rinse your broccoli seeds a few times a day. Then drain the sprouting jar afterward while monitoring the progress of your seeds. 

4. In a few days, your seeds will germinate and start growing into seedlings. You need to harvest them around day 5 when they start turning slightly green.

How To Grow Broccoli Sprouts in Soil

Broccoli sprouts planted in soil

You can also grow broccoli sprouts in soil. This option requires a few bits of equipment to get started. 

Material

  • Fresh potting soil or organic potting soil.
  • A compartmentalized tray with at least eight sections.
  • Light; sunlight or grow lights.
  • Fresh water.

Method

1. Fill a container with organic or potting soil. Make sure the soil is an inch from the upper rim.

2. Plant the broccoli seeds very thickly; the seeds should cover every part of the container. The sprouts will be harvested when they’re still young, so they don’t need a lot of space to grow to maturity.

3. Cover the seeds with a light dusting of potting soil before watering them well.

4. Place the tray on a sunny windowsill or under grow lights to ensure that your sprouts are getting enough light.

5. Keep the soil in the container watered throughout. Make sure not to overwater the container as there are no drainage holes at the bottom for excess water.

6. Harvest them as soon as they develop their first set of leaves.

Pro Tip: Don’t use potting soil more than once to grow more broccoli sprouts since it will be depleted of key nutrients after the first harvest. Instead, empty the container and refill it with fresh potting or organic soil to grow new broccoli sprouts.

How To Grow Broccoli Sprouts Using a Grow Mat

Grow mats provide an easy option for growing broccoli sprouts. This method is better than soil as it’s clean, and you can recycle the mats.

Materials

  • Flat container.
  • Scissors.
  • Fresh water.
  • Light; sunlight or grow lights.
  • Grow mat.

Examples of these mats include:

  • Biodegradable hemp grow mat and hemp grow pad.
  • Jute grow mat.
  • Felt microgreen grow mat.
  • Wood-fiber grow pads.

Method

1. Cut the grow mat to a size that can fit nicely into the bottom of your flat container. 

2. Once you’re done sizing the mat, soak them in clean water for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, soak your broccoli seeds in water for several hours to prepare for planting.

3. Drain the water from the flat container and seeds, and carefully spread the broccoli seeds across the mat. Don’t cover them with anything.

4. Transfer the flat containers under grow lights or, if possible, place them on a windowsill. Keep your seeds well-watered, and don’t let the grow mats go dry.

5. Wait for a few days for your broccoli seeds to sprout before harvesting them.

How To Grow Broccoli Sprouts on Growing Paper

Broccoli Sprouts

This is an easy and clean way to grow your broccoli sprouts. The growing paper retains moisture and has little ridges designed to hold tiny seeds in place. You can buy these papers online at affordable prices. Most of them are sized to fit into standard nursery trays. 

Materials

  • Growing paper.
  • Nursery trays.
  • Fresh water.

Method

1. Put the papers into the bottom of the trays.

2. Soak them in water for a while. Also, soak 2 tablespoons of broccoli seeds in water for a few hours. 

3. Drain the excess water from the trays.

4. Spread broccoli seeds across the growing paper and leave them uncovered.

5. Maintain a certain moisture content within the growing paper by adding a little water to the trays 2–3 times per day.

6. Once the sprouts are ready for harvest, scrape them off the growing paper.

How To Grow Broccoli Sprouts on Wood Shavings

You can also grow your broccoli sprouts on wood shavings. The shavings are also known as “confetti” and are a little messy compared to growing on grow mats. You cannot reuse them, but they’re compostable and sustainable.

You can acquire them from nearby pet stores or online. Make sure the wood shavings are finely sized to sustain your broccoli seeds. Better still, look for wood shavings specifically meant for growing microgreens. 

Use the same method for growing broccoli sprouts in soil. Only use the wood shavings to fill the containers rather than the soil. Remember to soak the shavings in clean water for a couple of hours before using them. 

The best thing about wood shavings is that they retain a substantial amount of water for a long time. You won’t have to worry about watering them all the time.

How To Grow Broccoli Sprouts Using a Commercial Kit

The final option that you can use to grow broccoli sprouts is a commercial kit. The kit is normally in the form of a seed sprouter tray. Most of these kits come with seeds already embedded in their grow mats to make your work easy. You can also get tiered kits to allow you to grow different varieties of sprouts simultaneously.

Frequently Asked Questions

Broccoli sprouts in a pot

Are the Little Fuzzy Features on the Broccoli Sprouts Normal?

Yes! Those little fuzzy parts on each broccoli sprout are perfectly normal. These features are actually micro “hairs,” their function is to draw water into the sprout. Don’t confuse them with mold. 

However, you can use your sense of smell to differentiate between mold and the fuzzy features on your broccoli. A sour smell will outrightly tell you that your little sprouts are moldy and not safe for consumption. Such cases are rare if you take good care of your broccoli sprouts.

Where Can I Find Broccoli Sprouts?

You can buy broccoli sprouts from natural food groceries or your local farmer’s market. This is a good option if you don’t have time and enough resources to grow them independently. The only downside of choosing this option is that it’s costly to acquire broccoli sprouts from the market compared to growing them at home.

What are the Health Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts?

Broccoli sprouts are rich in sulforaphane. This nutrient is believed to have cancer-fighting properties. Also, it’s a powerful antioxidant compound that’s brilliant at detoxifying your body.

How Long Should I Wait for My Broccoli Sprouts To Grow?

For your broccoli sprouts to grow, you will have to wait for about 5–6 days. This duration includes 12 hours of soaking time on the first day and 5 days for sprouting time, depending on conditions around your area.

What’s the Taste of Broccoli Sprouts?

They taste somewhat spicy, although they don’t have a strong flavor. That’s why they’re a favorite delicacy for all family members.

How Long Will My Sprouts Last After They Have Matured?

Once they’re mature, your broccoli sprouts will last for about one week if you keep them in the fridge. All you need to do is harvest them upon maturity, wash, and package them before stashing them in your fridge for future use. 

You can make them last longer by freezing them; this also retains the sulforaphane content well.

Can I Eat Broccoli Sprouts Everyday?

Yes, you can, and you should. Your body will thank you. They have a multitude of health benefits and contain 25 times more sulforaphane than broccoli.

Although this super-food is amazing, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Try to keep your consumption of broccoli sprouts under 4 cups a day so that you don’t exceed the safe amount of the phytonutrient sulforaphane.

Don’t eat the seeds; they’re far more nutritious as sprouts. Plus, the seeds don’t digest very well, and they taste disgusting.

Will Broccoli Sprouts Grow Into Broccoli?

Broccoli sprouts will eventually grow into broccoli, but it will take a lot longer and require more effort.

You can start off germinating the seedlings inside, then after 5–7 days, plant them outside at least 1–2 feet apart from each other to encourage larger heads. Pick an area that gets around 6–8 direct sunlight.

Broccoli grows best in moist soil, so water regularly, but don’t make the soil soggy, and remember to watch out for weeds.

You should be able to harvest broccoli grown from seeds after 14–21 weeks. There are many factors to consider when growing full-size broccoli, like temperature, soil type, pH level, and time of the year.

Final Thought

Broccoli Sprouts on a shelf

As a beginner, you may find it difficult to keep up with the steps involved in growing broccoli sprouts. This sprouting process might look a little weird if you’re not used to growing microgreens at home. 

Once you get the hang of how to grow broccoli sprouts right, you will be amazed at how straight forward this task is. You will find yourself doing it without giving it a second thought; keeping your family healthy by consuming this type of microgreen vegetable. You can even apply this same tactic to grow various other healthy seeds at home, although the actual sprouting time may differ considerably. 

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