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I am trying to make mung bean sprouts at home, as they are rare to find in a store where I live. After I soak them for 12 hours I place them in a spin dryer basket whose mesh is fine enough to hold them, so they have drainage, and place it in a quite larger bowl, in the kitchen, away from direct sunlight. The beans do sprout, but the process is so slow that by the time (10 days) I can see some leaves peeking out the seeds have developed brownish stains here and there. I rinse them two to four times a day. Where am I wrong?

  • Have you just tried soaking them indefinitely? I once soaked soy beans for 2 weeks in the fridge accidentally (i had a week off and forgot to tell anyone) by which point they'd sprouted about 5 sprouts each and around 1 inch long each. – Doug Feb 14 '15 at 16:04
  • Also I'm sure (not an expert though) sprouts keep going till they find light, and only then do they leaf. – Doug Feb 14 '15 at 16:05
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Most seeds need warmth to sprout. When I'm starting beans at home (to grow, not to eat directly), I either use a 'seed mat' (electrical heating pad), or a lamp set realy close to the soil. In both cases, I keep the seeds in a clear-topped container, so that they don't dry out -- the moisture gets trapped in and makes a mini-greenhouse.

You can likely rig up a similar system using household items:

  • Place a couple of damp paper towels in the bottom of a baking dish (9"x13" if you have it)
  • Spread the seeds on top of the towels
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap (aka cling film)
  • Set it in a sunny window
  • Wait

After a day in the sun, you should see moisture forming on the inside of the plastic wrap. Tap it a few times to get the water to drop back onto the sheet (and let the sun through better).

If you have a heating pad, you can try that, too, but you don't want to leave it on all day, as you need a 'day' and 'night' time for most plants to sprout. (and I don't know how hot they get ... they might get too warm.)

  • Isn't that going to quickly lead to the development of molds? – Michele De Pascalis Feb 14 '15 at 13:39
  • No, because we're keeping it in sunlight. I've had some sruff form in darker corners after a week or so (between peat pellets, it was white and kinda cobweb-y), but beans should sprout in only a few days ... and we don't have dark corners for the beans to sprout in. Other instructions also call for setting it in the light, but they also require rinsing the beans multiple times. – Joe Feb 14 '15 at 13:49
  • Also I don't have a window where the apparatus could receive vertical sunlight, is it fine if I just place it on my balcony/terrace? – Michele De Pascalis Feb 14 '15 at 13:59
  • Glaedr : not if it's as cold as where I am. The temperature is more important than the sunlight (the sun just helps to warm it above your air temperature) See tomclothier.hort.net/page11.html (although they don't have mung beans specifically in that table, nor time to sprout, just % germination). You can do things like soak the beans in warm water ... the important thing is that you need to trick them into thinking that it's spring, and the right time of year for them to grow ... and for that they need warmth. – Joe Feb 14 '15 at 14:44
  • I live in southern Italy, the temperatures are about 5 °C (night) to 12 °C (day) in this time of the year. – Michele De Pascalis Feb 14 '15 at 14:47

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