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How To Grow Broccoli Sprouts In Soil

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Growing broccoli sprouts in trays of organic potting soil works a treat. The soil holds the water well and supports the sprouts as they grow so you don't need to rinse them 3 times a day.

Learn how to grow broccoli sprouts with these step by step instructions.

Step by step guide to growing broccoli sprouts

You will need:

  • Organic broccoil seed. Use seed that is sold for sprouting to minimise risk of food-borne illness.
Broccoli seeds for sprouting
Buy Broccoli Seed
  • 2 seed trays: One to grow the sprouts in and one to block the light and keep in the moisture.                      

If you choose to grow your sprouts in a tray that has drainage holes then you may want to use a third tray with no drainage holes to catch the drips.

How to grow broccoli sprouts:

  • Soak the organic broccoli seed: This step is optional but I recommend it as it kick-starts the whole process. Soaking helps the seeds to germinate quickly and evenly. It also minimizes the need to spray the seed as the roots are soon able to get water from the soil.
Soaking broccoli seedsSoaking Broccoli Seeds

How much seed do you need?

The amount of seed obviously depends on how big your tray is. For an approximately A5 sized tray add 2 heaped teaspoons of sprouting broccoli seed to a glass jar. For a large standard size tray which is a little bigger than A4 I use a quarter cup of seed. Cover with water and leave 6-8 hours or overnight. If you prefer you can sprinkle dry seed over damp soil and wet well with a spray bottle.

Broccoli seed starting to sproutBroccoli seed after soaking
  • Prepare your tray by lining it with an inch (2.5cm) of potting soil (compost). The soil should be nice and damp without being waterlogged, and press it down gently so that the seeds will sit evenly on the top. A watering can with a fine nozzle or a spray bottle can be used to dampen the soil.
Prepared seed trayPrepared Seed Tray
  • Spread the soaked seed evenly on the top of the damp soil and cover with a spare tray to help keep the moisture in and encourage the broccoli sprouts to grow nice and tall. You may find this a bit fiddly, I know I do, as the seeds are so small and want to stick to my fingers. I sometimes use a spray bottle to make them behave themselves :)


  • Alternatively sprinkle dry seed evenly over the surface of the damp soil and wet thoroughly using a spray bottle or a bottle with a fine hose. The seeds should all be in contact with the soil and not on top of one another. Then cover with a spare tray and leave in a warm place out of direct sun so it doesn't dry out  too fast.
Broccoli seeds starting to growBroccoli Sprouts Starting to Grow
  • Check daily to ensure that the seeds have not dried out. The seeds and soil should be damp but not wet. The weight of the seed tray is a good measure of how wet the soil is. When the tray feels light it's time to water. In hot weather you will need to water more often.  Take care not to overwater especially if your tray does not have any drainage holes as sprouts tend to go bad if they are left sitting in water. If you didn't presoak the seed then spray lightly 3 times a day for the first few days to keep them damp and help them germinate evenly.
  • After 3 to 4 days remove the top tray and place the sprouts in bright indirect light to green up. Make sure they don't dry out.
Broccoli sprouts greening upBroccoli Sprouts Greening Up Nicely
  • After 5 to 6 days the sprouts should be ready to harvest. Cut them cleanly above the soil. Broccoli spouts look very like cress and taste not surprisingly rather like broccoli.
Broccoli sprouts ready to harvestReady to Harvest
  • Wash gently in cold water and spin dry in a salad spinner to remove any dirt.
Broccoli sprouts ready to eatReady for Eating

Enjoy fresh broccoli sprouts just as they are, or toss them in salads, sandwiches, soups and stir-fries.

Why grow broccoli sprouts in soil?

I like to grow broccoli sprouts in soil as I find they grow better this way. The soil provides the sprouts with a steady supply of water and also supplies nutrients. You can grow them in a similar way on kitchen roll but I've found that they do not grow as well and need watering more regularly because the kitchen roll is quick to dry out. While the kitchen roll method is a lot less messy for me they just don't grow that well.

Once the sprouts have been harvested I like to compost the remaining soil and roots. Worm bins are a fun way to do this at home. The sprouts do not regrow.

The roots are left after harvesting the spoutsLots of roots!

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