The Power of Seeds
Instructions for Sprouting
Kids Sprout + Art Gallery
Kid's Sprout Exploration Kit
Links to Other Seed Science Sites
Who We Are + What We Want
The dry seeds you hold in your hand are asleep. To wake them up all you need to do is give them water or plant them in the ground at the right time of year. A seed that is alive but asleep is said to be dormant. Some times seeds can't be woken up the normal ways and people have to "break the dormancy" by freezing them or laying them out in the light, but the seeds we have sent you will wake up with just a soak in cool water.
After you soak some beans or lentils you can peel the tough outer coat off of a few just to look at them. The coat feels like leather and looks like plastic. It protected the seed from humidity and dirt while it slept. You can pull the seed apart into two halves that look just alike.
All bean-like seeds have two halves. They are called cotyledons. These cotyledons contain all the food that the seed needs to begin growing into a plant. And although they don't look like it yet, those two halves will become two leaves--the first two leaves on the young plant. But you will eat the sprout before the leaves come out, unless you want to grow some for longer to see what will happen.
When water is given to the seed amazing things start to happen. Scientists still don't really understand it all. A factory starts up in those cotyledons that changes the food that has been stored there when the seed was dormant into energy units called enzymes, which run everything that lives. The enzymes make the seeds a super nutritious food for people, birds, dogs, horses, cows, hamsters, mice, squirrels and all kinds of other creatures. We call them sprouts. Sprouts are very stong food. They have as much protein as meat and eggs, as much vitamin C as orange juice, as much vitamin A as carrots, just to name a few.
As your sprouts grow the cotyledons feed a stem that growns between them and if you let the sprouts grow a really long time a tiny leafy bud would start to grow out of the top of the stem--but you'll eat them before that happens. A root comes out of the other end of the stem. It will grow long and will become the first root of the plant when the seed begins to grow. If you had planted your dry seed in dirt and then watered it, you would never see that root because it would be burrowing straight down underground.
Most seeds have two cotyledons. Those seeds are called dicots. Dicot seeds are beans, lentils, peanuts, garbanzos, broccoli, alfalfa, clover, and just about everything you grow in a garden.
But---some types of seeds have just one cotyledon and they are called monocots. Monocots are wheat, corn, buckwheat, rye and all the other grass plants. You can tell a monocot plant in the ground because it sends up just one grasslike spear of green--no leaves like the dicot seeds.
When you give a monocot seed water the factory is not found in the cotyledon. It is found in a special part of the seed known only to the grass family called the endosperm. The endosperm feeds the cotyledon while it is dormant, all winter long, getting it ready for the time when it will be planted and its dormancy will be broken. In monocots the cotyledon grows a stem and a root, just like in the dicot seeds, but without the endosperm it would die. The endosperm is what gives the yummy flavors we like in wheat, oats, corn, and all the other grains.
So seeds aren't really asleep. They are alive and moving in your hand, deep inside, mysterious. They only look silent to us--until we add water! Happy sprouting!
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San Francisco, CA 94124
We only use the phone for emergencies.
Back in 2001 we were still using the phone. One day I was talking to a long-time customer while pushing my (then 4 year old) daughter on the swing in our backyard (this is what a mom n' pop business is like on the internet). It dawned on me that my priorities were severely messed up, so I stopped using the phone. I love to talk and I love to help, but my family would never see me if I picked up the phone again, and that's just wrong don't you think?!
The very best way to contact us is through E-mail =:-)
We are quite fast and VERY thorough. We love to help.
We have been an internet only business since 2001. We are not a big corporation. We are but 2 people, Mom n' Pop Sprout. We decided after years of juggling our family's (kids, dogs, cats and even our own) needs, and the needs of Sproutpeople, that we had to make more time for our kids, so we stopped talking on the phone. All calls go to voice mail and have since 2001.
We are very fast to fill orders and answer e-mail, and though we wish we could make the time to talk, we just can't seem to get more minutes into a each hour. We are many years older than when we started and our days are too short and made up of too few hours to do everything. This limitation in our business has not kept us from pleasing our customers, nor from growing (as we have every year since 1993). We do what we do as well as we can, and we think we do it very well indeed.
We appreciate your patronage more than we can say. We ask that you use the phone for emergencies only and that you search our site for answers before e-mailing us. This site is bigger than any 4 sprout books put together, it is always available and it is free, and we know that almost all questions are answered here.
Thanks again for your support and your many kind words.