Soil vs Hydroponic Method
This page will attempt to clarify the growing debate on the choice of growing mediums. Unless I am quoting, it is all my opinion based upon my experience.
Most popular argument: Ann Wigmore grew in soil.
First some quotes from her book, The Wheatgrass Book, published in 1985.
Where will we get our minerals from in a healthy diet? Our best source of supply is from organically grown land vegetables and sea vegetables, and from sprouts and wheatgrass. Page 13
To grow wheatgrass seek out some good topsoil from under the grass on your lawn or under trees – add peat moss and compost. Do not use compost that has been treated with animal manures, as it might contain harmful bacteria. Page 66
To produce a tray of wheatgrass a day you will need to start off with 2 barrels of soil and half a bale of peat moss. This will take care of your soil needs for the first few weeks. Page 68
As you can see from the above quotes, Ann was imagining people like herself accumulating barrels of organic mix and compost and worms, dedicating a lot of time and space to the preparations for growing. Hardly realistic, in these times, I think.
In fact, I have heard from people who worked with Ann in Chicago before she died that said she tried to use the same methods there and got rats and other vermin from doing compost inside the building.
Most people now grow in the widely available substitute, which is bagged potting soil.
If that is organic, it will almost invariably contain animal wastes – which she specifically warned against.
If the potting soil is a product of Agri-chem, it will contain chemical fertilizers that Ann thought were very detrimental to health.
So I would venture to say that few people today are growing at home according to Ann’s guidelines.
To make the growing of wheatgrass truly available to anyone, which is one of my goals, we have to look for a new solution.
Growing in water alone.
Ann believed, from experience, that small sprouts like alfalfa could be grown in water alone but wheatgrass needed more, in both minerals and support than plain water could provide. I have tested extensively and found the same. It takes ten days for wheatgrass to mature. That is too long to do its best on the miracle of the seed alone. What is funny is that in the beginning it seems to be working to grow on the cocomats or baby blanket or paper and water but after a while you can see that the wheatgrass is not as vigorous.
Growing in a hydroponic medium with the support of a kelp fertilizer.
The hydroponic medium I use, after trying everything on the market, is a sterile base that supports the roots and holds water for them.
The kelp fertilizer is certified organic and pollution-free, and is fed daily through the roots and the leaves. Wheatgrass grown in this manner is thick and healthy and takes up all the minerals you need to keep you healthy too.
Growing in a hydroponic medium with Canadian sphagnum peat moss added.
This is my final solution. By adding the Canadian Sphagnum Peatmoss the yield was increased quite a bit and the mold tolerance was greater. The grass seems happier! It is widely available and relatively cheap. But there is a difference between American peatmoss and Canadian Sphagnum Peatmoss. The Canadian is better, with less sticks and twigs in it. It usually says Canadian Sphagnum Peatmoss in very small letters somewhere on the bag. The main label just says Peatmoss.
It is my belief that, if she were alive today, Ann Wigmore would embrace this new way of growing. Anything that spreads the availability of wheatgrass juice in a safe, non-toxic way has to be an improvement. With great respect and gratitude to Ann for her pioneering of this wonderful green magic, I can’t think that she wanted us to stop exploring just because she is dead.
Let’s all grow the green, drink the green and stay green and open to growth.
So get it now and get your living greens daily!
You might also consider the Wheatgrass Growing DVD