And on we go still.
Just did the Saturday market today after doing the Friday harvest by myself for the first time. It took two of us six hours to do the harvest and it took me seven on my own. Go figure. However, I find it was easier to keep the harevst area cleaner with two of us and there was less switching between tasks, which often means an extra hand washing.
The sprout project is going very well at the moment. Sales are good, production is good, and most glitches are being rectified. Here are a few things we have worked out:
– Switched from bleach to “Aseptox”, a no rinse sanitizer that is basically like hydrogen peroxide and breaks down into oxygen and water. Much better for the environment and still affordable.
– Controlling algae in trays. getting some algal growth in the covering trays which are full of soil, but with no plants. I now cover the covering trays with an upside down tray that has no holes to prevent water from getting in.
– Refined machete harvesting to get less waste and a cleaner cut though I still miss the odd few trays. Not sunflower sprout samurai yet!
– Switched from making ice blocks to reusable ice packs. This saves time and water and the ice packs seem to stay cold quite long.
– After many adjustments to seed planting density I think I have now found the optimum density. It is quite a bit less than what I calculated from my trials but my harevst volume is increasing as the density goes down. This allows for taller sprouts and bigger cotyledons (though it is hard to tell how much of this is weather). The lower density also seesm to be resulting in more hulls popping off the sprout, making them easier to harvest and process. Basically I have reduced planting density by almsot 30%!!
Some glitches still to be worked out:
– Need to build a little storage box for buckets to keep them cleaner and more organized.
– Could use better aeration on the benches as temperature get up past 40C. This is good for growth, but seesm to lessen sprout quality. I think this will wait until next year as I hope the hot spell is almost over. It also means more financial investment and I am loathe to spend any more money. I can see now where the flaw in my design was and it is easy to amend.
I will be working with my neighbour to start writing about the project and developing the production manual. She will help me with outline, planning, layout, and editing in return for cutting down a tree in her yard. A good deal I think. This production manual will be a big job so I hope I can find the time once the semester starts again.
I still need to meet with myrpofessor to over the production as there are a few issues where I would really like feedback on including sanitization. Especially of the seeds. Typically seeds, are sanitized beofre they are soaked to indue germiantion, but I think they should either be done afterwards, or both before and afterwards. Since microbial growth will occur during soaking, it makes snese to do a sanitization afterwards as well. I do not think this will affect germination as the seeds are still fully encased in the hull at this point. I also need to know if I can use the Aspetox for seed sanitization.
I ma also starting to look ahead to next year which means finding another place for the sprouting set up. I would also like to do more collaborating and this looks like it might be in the works. I’ll keep you posted on this.