Sprouts are a little mysterious and a little ornery. I've had cantaloupe seeds sprouting unexpectedly in a broken sink disposal, but also pampered alfalfa seeds refusing to sprout on a turtle-form
. But when I cleaned out my closet and found a flowered sweater that I never wear, I was inspired by an epic sweater and seed sprouting
performance to give this task a try.
Well, my first attempt using broccoli seeds directly on the sweater failed. I set up a piece of florist foam in a dish of water, with the sweater draped over the foam. I couldn't tell if I kept the substrate too damp or too dry.
So I change to a "spouting mix" and decided to try pre-sprouting in a jar.
Then I found out that cress seeds are different than normal seeds because they are mucilaginous. That is, each seed is surrounded by a clear membrane that swells up and turns into a sort of gel-goo around the seed. (This is a lot like the way tomato seeds in a fresh tomato are encased in a slimy bubble.) So, cress seeds or cress mixes don't do well in a jar, because they hold too much moisture in the membrane, and get moldy. But, if you swirl them around, you can pour the cress seeds away from the rest of the seed mixture. (So, my recommendation...if you really were aiming for a carpet, soak the cress seeds for a couple hours first, drain off the water, and then mush the sticky seed goo into the fiber. Then, cover the carpet with some sort of plastic object that sits a centimeter or two off the surface, for a day or two.)
I spread the gooey and slightly moldy seed mix onto the sweater, with a plate of water underneath and another plate above, to keep in the moisture. I think keeping the area covered helped the seeds sprout better, though the mold also got going. After a few days, the sprouts were tall but pale.
Clearly, they needed more sunshine. So I took them out for a walk.
The drawbacks were that (1) a damp sweater is not really comfortable (2) slightly mold sprouts don't smell that good (3) after a couple hours out of the water, the sprouts got a bit limp. But they did green up a bit.