Wheatgrass are the small, young saplings that germinate from wheat grains. These young sprouts have rich nutritional content and are widely used in their fresh form like bean sprouts. Wheatgrass juice is also used by people as a home remedy for a number of ailments and is also an ingredient in baby foods. It is easy to cultivate wheatgrass at home. The grass requires a certain level of light to thrive well.
Wheatgrass requires varying amounts of light during the different stages of growth. At the time when the seeds are just planted, place in a warm spot in bright light but out of direct sunlight. As soon as there is initial germination, usually taking one to two days in grains that have been soaked overnight, move the grass in direct sun. Water regularly to keep the growing medium moist. If growing indoors, place germinated wheatgrass under full spectrum plant lights for optimal growth. Wheatgrass seeds germinate at temperatures of 70 to 80 F.
Start by sprouting wheat by placing the seeds in a jar filled with water. Soak overnight and then drain the water. Fill a shallow tray with soil and spread the seeds. Cover with another thin layer of soil. Make sure that seeds are touching each other. Keep the soil moistened throughout the growing phase. Place in indirect light until germination and then move to direct sun.
Under optimal growth conditions and temperature, wheatgrass grows 7 to 10 inches tall in a week to 12 days. Wheatgrass growing in cooler temperature takes a little longer to fully mature, while in hot weather it can grow to 10 inches in as little as five days. To harvest, cut the grass very close to the soil surface, as the greatest concentration of nutrients is near the root zone. Do not wash until ready to use because water hastens decomposition. Wheatgrass juice starts going bad in half an hour and is best used immediately.
Wheatgrass is considered a green super-food, cites Charlene Sherman in "The Best of All Worlds." The concentration of the hundreds of enzymes in wheatgrass that aid digestion are more than in any other food. Wheatgrass contains more than 90 vitamins and minerals and all the trace minerals. It has no cholesterol, is a rich source of complete proteins and is among the best known sources of fiber and antioxidants.