Sprouts have been used medicinally and nutritionally for centuries. Up to about 500 years ago Chinese physicians recognized and prescribed sprouts to cure many ailments. Sprouts are the only form of agriculture that can be locally grown and available in all four seasons. These “baby” vegetables are grown from seed to salad in only week. That makes them great Y2K food. In fact, one pound of alfalfa seed will yield 10-14 pounds of fresh mini-salad greens. Whether you are on top of a mountain or in a bunker with artificial light, you can still grow this fast, organic food. Sprouts are also outstanding and cheep feed for animals who also benefit from the nutritional value and get a excellent boost to the immune system by eating them.
This is a basic system that should produce enough feed for around 80 rabbits or for probably around 4 people with a pretty steady vitamin and nutrition rich addition to their diet.
First thing needed a water supply that would last several days in case of lack of rain. A five gallon bucket would last up to 3 days at a slow drip so we attached a swamp cooler valve to the bottom as in Figure 1. This worked well as long as a lid is kept on top to keep the bugs out. A green bucket keeps the algae down to a minimum and things went well.
In the next step, a 1/4 line was attached to the faucet Figure 2 eliminating the bucket which was a great help since we had to lift water over 6 feet high to keep the bucket full.
Next, we recreated the wire rack holding the dump mechanism as shown
This rack works well but is somewhat difficult to bend so that all the points are making contact and the rack sits firmly on thebottom of the distribution pan. The pans we were using fit with about 1/2 inch of space around the lip when put in the bottom of a plastic 5 gallon bucket as seen in Figure
This will probably work just fine, but there is a little better way.
First, mark a bucket at 5 inches as shown in Figure 4A to allow for splash back
Then mark up the same bucket at 9 1/2 inches to allow for splash forward as in Figure 4B to accommodate the pan, counter weight and do away with the splash guard and eliminate the rack by using the cutout portion of the 5 gallon bucket to do all of these.
By drilling holes in the bottom of this piece (Figure 5A & 5B) we also eliminated the distribution pan.
Round cake pans come in various sizes choose one that fits inside the part made in Figures 4 thru 5B.
Find the center of the metal pan by using a compass. By laying a straight edge across the center line two opposite sides can be found.
Measure back 3/4 inch on both sides and drill a 1/4 inch hole (Figure 6B) on each side and in the back.
Install the nuts, bolts and washers as shown in Figure 7. This completes the dump mechanism.
S i n c e there is a large number t of sprouts each day, and that 5 gallon buckets were mostly free for the asking it was decided to cut 4 pie shaped pieces from the bottom of each bucket. Buckets are sometime hard to come by for ‘free’, but if you want to just cut to the chase, any paint supply store or home depot will have them for around $5
Start at the bottom with the green bucket for soaking the sprouts and go up with each bucket hanging on a hook or several nails as shown in Figure 10 going up and installing the dump mechanism and hose last. Having a beautiful model in Figure 11 to show off the completed assembly always helps.
Place 2 one pound coffee cans of wheat berries in the green bucket and cover with water. Soak for 24 hours and move up to the top bucket. Move each bucket down each day and on the fifth day it will be full of sprouts.
Adjust the drip where the dump will activate no less than every 3 hours. Some adjustment of the weights on the rear of the dump may be necessary. If you are going to be gone for several days and cannot find anyone to care for the sprouts it is better not to have any soaking in the green bucket as they will ferment.