I save the plastic containers that food comes in, to grow my grass in.  The pre mixed salads, cottage cheese containers, or any rather flat container works well.  I make sure to punch a lot of holes in the bottom though, as good drainage is the key. An ice pick makes nice size holes for this purpose.  The growing containers must have drainage holes or slits, because nothing can grow well in a medium that cannot drain.  The flats the bedding plants come in at nurseries are also great to grow wheat grass in.  They are usually free for the asking, but will need a layer of newspaper, as the bottoms are usually too open, and the growing material will fall through.

Soil is another issue, especially if we want to serve the wheat grass to our birds in the container it is grown in.  I notice, if presented with the container, all my Galahs will chew on the grass tops, but the Eclectus move to the bottom and investigate the soil and the container with their beaks.  This means we need to plant the wheat in a soil medium that won’t hurt the birds if ingested.  Perhaps plain river sand would be safest, but it but may lack the nutrients the wheat needs to grow well.  I routinely use a bagged organic potting soil, and opt to not make the growing container itself available to the birds, unless I can keep an eye on them and remove it when they chew into the actual soil.  If we are giving the wheat grass container to finch or other softbills, this wouldn’t be as big of an issue.  However, the plant does take its nutrients from what it is grown in, so we should pay attention to the soil and its purity.

The soil layer should be about two to three inches deep in the planting containers.  Drain the wheat after the final soak and spread the kernels over the soil, just  touching each other, but not greatly overlapping.  Sprinkle a layer of soil over the top of the seeds, just enough to cover them well.  Water the tray, being careful not to disturb the soil layer over the wheat.  I use a watering can to make sure the soil isn’t disturbed.

Next: Growing and Harvesting

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Susie Christian© 2010