Sprouting is one of the easiest ways to grow local veg. It can be done anywhere - the start up cost is low and you can do it year round. I have been growing sprouts for years. First I started with a jar and a screen, but this did not give me the volume I wanted so I had to up the ante. That is when my wife and I invested in the biosta sprouter. It is very easy to use and costs very little. Simply put a table spoon of seeds in, water daily (more or less), and voilà, sandwich greens for a week.
If you want to start growing sprouts in Edmonton I highly recommend checking out Earth's General Store for supplies. Like I said you can start with just a jar and a screen, but if you want something built for sprouting, they can hook you up.
Another great resource is Mumm's sprouting seeds website which explains the nutritional benefits of sprouts, provides easy how-to-guides, and shows you the diversity of seeds that can grow. The one concern with Mumms is that your little sprouting world will become overwhelmed with choice. So here is my recommendation if you are a beginner.
Materials: Sprouter (biosta or a jar with a screened lid), seeds - see our source list post for more info
Start small. This means small seeds, small quanities, and small scale. A table spoon of alfalfa, clover, lentils or broccoli (my personal favorite) seeds will provide you with enough sprouts for 4-8 sandwiches and will fill one tray of the biosta sprouter or a one pint jar. Start with a jar or store bought hydroponic (no soil) system and if you like it expand.
Just jump into it. Sprouts are one of the easiest things to grow so don't hesitate. Mistakes will be made along the way, but you will catch on. Just remember to check them daily, rinse them and make sure they are not sitting in any water.
Experiment with types of seeds, but grow one at a time so you can get to know the different flavours of each.
Don't worry about the seeds too much. Once finished, rinse the seeds off as best you can, but don't fret about them too much as they are edible.
Allow sprouts to dry on a towel for a bit and then store them in a glass or plastic resealable container with a piece of paper towel to absorb the excess moisture.
Eat on everything! I eat sprouts as a staple. In wraps, on sandwiches, in salads, as a side dish and within many recipies. They can be cooked, mixed with other foods or just devoured.
So for anyone who wants to try and improve their diet, eat ultra-local or try out your green thumb, get sprouting. As for us, we are scaling up a notch and building sprouting units to start supplying microgreens to restaurants. You might also see some at markets this spring!