How to Build a Sprouter

What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Work gloves
Utility knife
Plastic 2 liter bottle
Duct tape (or glue gun)
Potting soil (or equivalent)
Tissue paper

It only takes a few minutes and some common household items to build an efficient sprouter. Whether you're starting delicious sprouts for meals, or just getting some plants started for ground planting, using a sprouter will help you get a head start on the growing season, and even allows some types of sprouts to be germinated year round.

Step 1: The Best Sprouting Soil

The best soil for a seed sprouter is unpacked potting soil. If you prefer, mix equal parts sifted compost with sand instead. The key is that you use a loose, highly nutritious soil. Seeds do not have the energy to waste trying to glean sustenance from barren soil, and the more readily key ingredients are, the better your success rate will be.

Step 2: Cut the Bottle

A straight-sided plastic soda bottle makes an excellent bean sprouter. Make a straight slit down the side of the bottle, beginning about 1/2 inch below the neck, and stopping approximately 1 1/2 inches from the bottom. On each end of the slit, make another slit that runs 1/3 to 1/2 the circumference of the bottle. Fold this flap open, and bend it completely back on itself. Place the fold against a flat surface and use the side of your utility knife to press it into a crease.

Step 3: Add Soil and Seed

Add your prepared soil to the bottle so it forms an even layer, filling the bottom 1/3 or so of the bottle. Use a sprayer and moisten the soil well, but do not pack it. Add a layer of tissue paper to cover the soil, and sow seeds across the top of the paper. Cover this with another layer of tissue paper, and cover that with a thin layer of prepared soil that barely covers the paper. Spray the new surface of the soil until it has a wet gleam, but do not completely soak it.

Step 4: Seal the Bottle

Fold the flap closed. Use duct tape to seal the seam. If you want, you can use a hot glue gun, but keep in mind that you will have to cut the seam open each time you water, harvest, or replant. Even though it is not the most visually appealing choice, duct tape tends to be far more functional. Place the sealed container on a window sill or another location where it can receive full sunlight for 4 or more hours a day.

Step 5: After Seeds Sprout

In as little as 48 hours, small seedlings will begin to appear. If the bottle has been sealed properly, condensation will form against the inner top of the bottle and run down the sides into the soil. When the seeds have sprouted, remove the duct tape and fold the crease open. Your sprouter is sufficient for growing seedlings up to 4 to 6 inches tall.