During the heat of the summer, months growing wheatgrass can be subject to a few potential complications due to the heat. Generally speaking, wheatgrass does best below 75 degrees F, but not cooler than 65 degrees. We hope these tips help!
- Heat Problems During the Initial Soak – if your soak water gets too hot the seeds can actually spoil in the water. The solution is to soak less time (8 hours) or put your soak container in the refrigerator and soak 8 to 12 hours.
- Root Problems Due to Heat - Wheat does poorly in hot temperatures and grows much better in cooler temps. If you live in a hotter area, or hot and humid area your flats of grass are more subject to root rot. You can check this by pull up the whole root system to look underneath it….it should be white. If you have brown spots or the whole thing has turned brown, you have problem with root rot. Once root rot sets in, you will likely lose the tray so best to scrap and compost it. The solution is to keep your trays indoors, away from hot spots and direct sunlight like windows. Keep in the shade and or by cooling vents.
- Seedling Problems Due to Heat – After you have spread your sprouted seed, the tiny root hairs should not be allowed to dry out. If they do, you will have a scraggly crop, or lose it altogether. The solution is to keep the paper towels sopping wet and check frequently. Shaded or cooler areas are ideal. Placing a layer of wet newspaper over your paper towels can help to preserve the moisture a bit longer.
Wheatgrass is subject to mold at the soil line in warmer or more humid areas. Here are some tips to keep the mold at bay.
- Put grapefruit seed-pulp extract (one squirt) into your soak water. You can find grapefruitseed extract at http://www.wheatgrasskits.com/moldcontrol.html
- After you uncover your seedlings and are ready to water them for the first time uncovered, add one tablespoon of Real Salt in half a gallon of water, and dissolve. Use for your first watering only. This will help to eliminate mold. Real Salt is available athttp://www.wheatgrasskits.com/product/RS-9
- Put a fan (lowest setting) on your flats of grass as they grow. This will both help to keep the flats cooler, and will also make it tougher for mold spores from the air to settle and establish themselves on your trays.
- Lift the matted root system and water from the bottom. Mold likes a really damp environment and watering from the top helps the mold. Watering from the bottom is great for your grass but makes for difficult conditions for the mold to thrive.
- If you still have issues, you can try adjusting the pH of your water for soaking and watering. Try adding just a teaspoon of lemon juice to a gallon of water and that should do it in most cases. You can learn more about adjusting the pH of your water here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGm1HM5VjGk
- If you still have mold on the bottom when the grass is 6 inches tall, go ahead and cut what you are going to juice, put the cut grass in a big strainer and power rinse. The mold rinses right off. Cut a little higher on the tray than you normally would.
Other Growing Tips
- Watering – always soak and water your wheatgrass with COLD water. Tepid or warm water exacerbates root and mold problems, where cold water can provide some remediation.
- Stalling Growth - If your wheat is spouted, ready to sow, and you don’t feel like planting at that very moment, you can refrigerate the sprouted seeds for a day or two before planting. They will hardly grow very slowly refrigerator.
- Stalling the Harvest - If you are going out of town for up to a week can refrigerate your whole flat of wheatgrass and it will still be pretty and barely have grown at all when you return. Be sure to give it a great soak before you leave.
- Preserving a Partially Harvested Flat – Once you have a mature flat, you might have the last bit of it overgrown before you get to harvest it. By placing the partially harvested flat in the fridge, you can slow the growth. Alternatively, you can harvest the whole flat and store the grass in a ziplock bag in the fridge. It is not as good an option as fresh harvested, but it works.