Why parsley (or wheat!), and how to sprout it

UFO is exhibiting its waste processing equipment at Nuit Blanche in Toronto (October 1st), along side a cricket chef. Yes crickets! They’re a sustainable way to produce proteins, locally (my apologies if you have a beloved cricket pet, and I agree there might yet be less emotionally taxing ways to eat).
This will be the Hart House exhibit, themed “sustainable food”. The exhibit will show a food to waste to food cycle. The restaurant will use UFO’s equipment to turn its food waste into an odorless fertilizer, used to grow plants (herbs) in-house. Hence the parsley! It is used to demonstrate the last part of the cycle.

Parsley seeds can take a month to germinate, unless pretreated. A published peer reviewed study showed that pre-treating seeds with a polyethylene glycol solution (302 g PEG “6000” per 1 kg distilled water) at 15°C for 3 weeks, the surface drying the seeds led to seeds germinating in 1 or 2 days.

Update, I ended up planting wheat because I ran out of time! Crickets eat wheat too, so that’s ok. The wheat seeds sprouted in 2 days. I pre-treated them by:
– submerging them in water in the fridge for a day
– draining them
– putting every 1/2 cup of these seeds in a sealed plastic bag on top of the fridge, to use the appliance’s wasted heat. This was for a day as well.

At the end of the second day most seeds had sprouted, and I placed them in pots. These were filled with a 1:1 soil to vermicast mix. In fact, I placed them in self-watering mini pots I created.

Nuit Blanche is in 2 days, and the wheat grass is already 10 cm tall, 3 days after planting them and 5 days after starting the pre-germination treatment. In my Nuit Blanche exhibit, the grass display will illustrate how vermicast cycles nutrients from waste back into plants.

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