Graph the popularity of wheat grass, and it looks like a sine curve. In the western world, wheat grass first became popular in the 1930s as the newest health fad because it helped chickens lay more eggs - no lie, I couldn't make that up.
Two decades later, a woman claimed drinking wheat grass juice cured her cancer, and again its popularity rose.
I first remember seeing wheat grass juice at health food bars in the early 1980s (only on TV - no health food bars where I grew up).
From the 2000s on, wheat grass has continued to be popular, not only as a human superfood but also for pets. First as cat grass, then more recently becoming more generically called pet grass.
In reality, the consumption of wheat grass has a history of over 5,000-years.
It might be the oldest super food if you believe in such terms.
Health Benefits of Wheat Grass
Before we jump into how to grow wheat grass at home, you may be curious about the health benefits these young wheat shoots possess.
We will publish our own article soon on wheat grass nutrition, but in the meantime here is a good article that summarizes wheat grass benefits.
How to Grow Wheat Grass at Home
Growing wheat grass at home is relatively easy. There are a few tricks that we think make it easier and produce better greens.
We will show you how to grow wheat grass at home in as few as 6-days!
Supplies You Need to Grow Wheat Grass at Home
- Planting Tray with lid
- Watering Tray
- Soil (soil is preferred but you can use a grow mat).
- Small glass or ramekin
- Hard Red Spring Wheat seed
- Small weight (2.5-lbs) or a Heavy Book
- Tea Towel
We have provided links to our preferred products. Once you see the photos below, you can see if you have anything lying around you can use instead.
Getting Started Growing Wheat Grass
The trays we use have a planting surface area between 37.5- and 38-square inches.
We measured out 24.5-grams of hard red spring wheat seed (about two heaping Tablespoons). If you have a different sized tray figure on 0.65-grams per square inch of tray surface area.
Other websites throw out rough seed volumes, but we believe that measuring out the seed will make the process more repeatable and help with any problems in the future.
Soak The Seed
Soaking the seed helps with germination.
Most likely, because the seeds lay on the soil's surface and the moisture they up took while soaking helps keep them hydrated.
We soaked the wheat seed for 6- to 8-hours. A little longer or shorter won't hurt. Don't soak them so long that the seeds start to germinate. Spreading the seeds once the radicles have appeared risks damaging the seed when planting.
Cold or room temperature tap water is acceptable to use. In fact, the chorine will help disinfect the seed.
Planting Wheat Grass Seed
Dump the seed into a strainer or decant the water off the seed and rinse with fresh water.
You will want to plant into what we call, simply enough, the planting tray. Planting trays have holes in the bottom so that water can enter the tray through the bottom when it is time to water.
Using grow mats, you will need to add liquid fertilizer for the best results. Also, it is harder to control the watering as you can add too much or have to water more often.
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Using soil, fill the tray to 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the top. Level and firm the surface.
If you are using a grow mat, spread and level the mat at the bottom of the tray.
Wet the surface of the soil (or mat) with a spray bottle. There is no need to saturate the soil column. Only wet the top one-third of the soil. That is all the moisture the seeds will need.
Spread the seeds evenly on the surface. Seeds should not be stacked on top of each other.
Some space between the seed is good. The wheat grass blades are reasonably large and will fill in the gaps.
Respray the seeds once the seed has been spread on the surface. This will help settle the seed onto the soil surface.
You can place the planting tray into a watering tray, so any small particles of potting mix don't fall out.
But do not add water at this point.
Wheat Grass Blackout Period
Wheat grass will germinate and start to grow better if the seeds stay in the dark and have a bit of pressure on them.
If you want to know more about the blackout period, you can read this article.
After we mist the seed, we place the Home Microgreens Planting tray lid on top of the seeds upside down and put some weight on the cover.
We use a 2.5-pound weight. But we have used large books, flat rocks, or even a box of shotgun shells.
The purpose of the weight is to press the seeds onto the soil for better contact. Also, once the wheat grass starts to root, the roots will force themselves into the soil and produce better plants.
To darken the tray, we put a tea towel over the top.
Wheat Grass 2-days After Planting
After 48-hours in the blackout, the wheat grass seed will start to germinate at room temperature, and you should see the yellow-white radicals searching for soil.
There is no need to do anything yet. Don't remove the weight or water them. If you remove the weight to check on the seed's progress, do so carefully and gently replace the cover.
Day 3 of Growing Wheat Grass
On the third day, recheck the seed.
Instead of the whitish root, you should see a bit of greener growth.
Regardless if it is the second or fourth day if your wheat grass looks like that in the photos below, it's time to place the tray of wheat grass under or in light.
What Type of Light Does Wheat Grass Need?
Wheat grass will grow under all types of light.
From a sunny window, to an incandescent bulb, fluorescent, or LED light, they all work. It is grass, after all.
However, the better light you can give it, the quicker it will grow and, in theory, be more nutritious.
The wheat grass you are about to see in the following photos grew under an LED shop light with a light intensity of 4,000K. We usually grow under a 6,500K (daylight) light. But room was tight, and that was the space we had.
As you will see, it grows great.
We prefer growing under artificial light (LEDs) because we don't have to rotate the tray with the directional sunlight. We can control how long the plants are under the light.
We leave our lights on for 15-hours.
We will post more about growing microgreens under lights soon.
At this point, remove the weight and the lid and place the tray under a light.
Now Is the Time to Water
When the tray goes under the light, it is also the time to water.
We prefer and thoroughly recommend bottom watering.
Add 1/4-inch of water to the watering tray and place the planting tray into the water.
It may float, that is fine.
As water is drawn up into the planting tray, the tray will settle down tightly in the watering tray and force water into the potting mix.
Remember the weight of the planting tray as you set it into the water. When the tray feels that light again, it is time to add more water to the watering tray.
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Day 4 of Growing Wheat Grass - We Have Blades
Even though we've grown 1,000's of microgreen, lettuce, and other trays of plants, we are still amazed how quickly plants adjust to the light and turn green.
It always brings a smile to my face when I see those sorry bent-over, yellowish plants transform in a few hours into green, growing plants!
We took the photos on day 3 at 3:42 pm and the picture below on day 4 at 8:42 am. It is impressive when you think that the lights went off around 10 pm and came back on at 7 am. So they only had a few hours of light.
The wheat grass is on its way!
Wheat Grass Day 5 - Dark Green & Growing
One more day under the lights and look at the difference in height, blade size, and color. The wheat grass is creating all kinds of chlorophyll!
Wheat Grass Day 6 - It's Time to Get the Blender Out
All it took was 6-days for wheat grass to go from hard seed to a whole tray of shoots! The tray is 1.5-inches tall, so the wheat grass is about 6- to 7-inches.
When to Harvest Wheat Grass?
The wheat grass shown on day 5 could be cut and harvested for juicing. But most will want to wait until the sixth day to get more juice from the tray.
However, you could also place the tray in a location where your pets can access it.
Pets love wheat grass too!
We have a unique pet grass blend that contains not only wheat but barley and oats too! Check out the reviews. Pets love it!
But back to harvesting wheat grass for humans.
If you've had wheat grass juice before, you know that it doesn't compare to ice cream in flavor. But the younger the wheat grass, the milder and more palatable the flavor.
When the wheat grass reaches 4- to 6-inches tall, you can start to harvest it.
Use scissors to cut the grass just above the roots and let the shoots fall onto a cutting board or plate. Once you have finished cutting the grass, use your hand, pick up the blades, and drop them a couple of times.
This will allow any soil or seed husks to fall to the bottom.
Juice the wheat grass immediately.
Wheat grass grown in a Home Microgreens Tray will yield about 3.5-ounces of wheat grass juice.
Need more juice?
A 1010 tray will yield about 10 ounces of wheat grass juice.
For a 1010 tray, use 65-grams of wheat grass seed. That's 2.3 ounces or about 1/3-cups of seed.
Home Microgreens Store
All the supplies and microgreen seeds you need to grow beautiful and nutritious microgreens at home!
Our prices are as competitive as the larger seed sellers. We also have our own soil, microgreen kits, and trays!
Will the Wheat Grass Grow Back?
Yes, it will!
However, the nutritional value will not be as high, and there will be more care as the tray will need water about every day.
The juice from a second cutting might also be more bitter.
Wheat Grass Nutrition & Health Benefits
We will be researching the nutritional & health benefits of wheat grass in an upcoming article.
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