Growing Wheatgrass With Soil Versus Soil-less

June 24, 2012 | By More


As you know I have been growing wheatgrass for the past month and have been experimenting with different methods. One thing I didn’t give much  thought to when I started was crop maximization. I kept seeing forum comments and blog posts about it but figured that as I had purchased a 3-tier Wheatgrass Grower  I would have far more than I would need. How wrong was I! When I enthusiastically started juicing my first batch I was so excited, it grew beautifully, had no mold problems and was green and healthy.


Shock Horror – Two Ounces Per Tray

growing-wheatgrass-with-soil-different growth stages v3.2

Imagine how horrified I was to find that I was only getting two 1 ounce shots per tray. I can tell you that it is far too much work for that. I started researching the differences between growing it with soil and without but the opinions varied considerably depending on the individual’s point of view so I decided to do my own research and document it.





Lucky My Grower Could be Used Either Way

Fortunately my wheatgrass growing kit can be used either way so I planted one without soil and the other one with a good quality potting mix. Everything else was exactly the same.

The results were quite dramatic as these pictures show. The ones grown in soil sprouted earlier, grew quicker, had much thicker stems and were considerably taller. Most important of all is that I got 5 ounces of juice from the tray grown with soil versus 2 ounces from the one grown hydroponically.  Check out these pics and make your own conclusions but I’m going to be using soil in future. It isn’t really messy and the clean-up is not too bad either.




 I brought theTribest Sproutman’s Soil-Free Wheatgrass Grower from Amazon as it was cheaper than anywhere else I could find it.  They have a huge range from inexpensive starter kits right through to expensive, high end items suitable for commercial use plus a numerous brands of wheatgrass juicers including manual and electric. .

Also, as usual, if you enjoyed this post I would really appreciate it if you would like, tweet or pin it and if you have any comments or questions add them below and I will get back to you.



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Category: Health

Comments (14)

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  1. Joe Eh-nonymous says:

    This is a very interesting topic but I think the differences between your two trials of wheat grass is not the soil but rather the way you soaked the seeds and the amount of water the decided to absorb. Was there a variation of how you soaked your seeds? I soak the seeds until they sprout usually like 2-3 days changing the water in the morning and night. Once sprouted I place in tray with the same size tray inverted over the top. After a few days it will push this tray off and all the grass will be like a yellowish color, this is a very good sign. (This seems to be the key to tall and lush wheat grass) This means you allowed the grass to grow at just the perfect speed… It got like 2-3 inches before it started turning green, not too fast or too slow. It grows into a tray that looks like the pictures of you wheat grass growing in soil but taller and more lush. I have found that if you don’t cover it and allow it indirect light as it grows the first 2-3 inches it will look starved and skinny and its growth appears rushed or hurried like your soil-less pictures.
    This article was very informational. Thanks and happy growing 🙂

    • Lyn says:

      Thanks for that information Joe, it sounds like you have a lot of experience with growing wheat grass and I’m glad that I seem to be doing mostly the right things. I used the same soaked seeds in both trays. I only soaked them for 12 hours though. My trays came with black plastic covers that I used on both and they went through the process of yellow shoots till I removed the cover and gave them some sunlight. Mine were only at about one inch before I took the cover off though because it sits quite low on top. They first went a lovely silvery gray green before turning the vibrant green of the end product. Maybe more time in the dark might help my soil less ones. I’m going to give them another try using your suggestions as I would prefer to grow it that way if I can get a similar yield.
      Thanks again

  2. Monica W. says:

    I am new to this and would like to know what tray set you got (and where)…I’d like to try without soil…have you tried again using his tips? Thanks for the posts!

    • Lyn says:

      Thanks for jogging my memory Monica, I have added links at the end of the post where you can find everything from beginner to elaborate kits. I’m sure you’ll find what you need at one or the other.

  3. Jean Gumpel says:

    Hi I just got the tribest soilfree grower but want to use soil. Is the only difference that I spread soil on the tray with holes instead of the seeds directly on the tray? Thanks for your help!

    • Lyn says:

      Hi Jean

      I just spread the soil directly on the tray with holes then the seeds on top, being careful to only have them one layer deep. I didn’t use the mat as I thought it could hinder water drainage and cause mold. Let me know how you go.

  4. wendy says:

    Hi Lyn:

    I have been sprouting a few seeds (although not wheatgrass yet) and have been considering the soil method but, have a question; I thought the value of sprouting was to make the actual seed more nutrient rich as well as getting the sprouts. I don’t imagine people eat the seed portion from soil-grown sprouts. Any thoughts on this? Thanks,


    • Lyn says:

      Hi Wendy

      I am just learning about all this too and couldn’t get much information comparing the two. From what I have found they are two different things. With sprouted seeds you are benefiting from all the nutrients in the seeds which are released during the sprouting process which is usually only a few days. With growing wheat-grass it is a 14 day process where the nutrients from the seed, the sun and the soil combine in the actual grass. I also couldn’t imagine eating the seeds. Maybe there is someone else here that is more experienced in this regard that would like to share their knowledge.

  5. wendy says:

    Lyn, thanks for your reply re eating the sprouted seeds versus only the tops in soil-grown wheatgrass. After writing you, I went to a farmers’ market and a lady there was juicing wheatgrass. Being a nuby at this, she offered me a taste of the juice, which I have never tasted before. I was very surprised at how sweet it was. It actually had a stevia flavour and I asked her if she added stevia. She said, ‘no’. Well, I’m surprised it’s not called sweetgrass! So, later I went to our healthfood store and looked up wheatgrass seed. I found that it comes in both hard and soft wheat. Is this the same as wheatgrass? If so, which one (hard or soft) do we grow for this purpose? Thanks,

    • Lyn says:

      My, you’re giving me some tricky questions Wendy.

      It’s great as it makes me go out and learn new things. I have never heard of the difference between hard and soft till now. I just did a bit of searching and it seems to relate more to the difference of the wheat for baking purposes. I would clarify with the owner of the healthfood store if it is suitable for for growing. Here is some information I found on it.

      If the lady that had it at the farmers market is still there she should be able to help you with where to get it locally. Otherwise you will be able to get it from Wheatgrasskits. Just click on their banner on this page then once you are on their site go to the products page and select sprouting seeds, they are right at the bottom of the page. The have both hard and soft but recommend the soft for sprouting. Hope this helps.

      • gahigi says:

        Hi Lyn,

        I know you wrote this a while back but I’m still hoping I’ll hear from you. I just started growing wheatgrass recently and I went to a site that advocated using soil and he said to do exactly what you did which is to grow it side by side with and without soil and decide which method is best. Although I haven’t done that the first time I grew it I used soil and I’ll be sticking with that method for now because I’ve had wheatgrass juice from many different places and what I grew was very strong. I mean the strongest I’d ever had (sorry I’m not trying to brag). To be honest though the smell was the strongest but the taste was more palatable. And that leads me to think that none of the places I’ve bought wheatgrass juice from use soil. Also I’ve noticed that most will only allow the grass to grow to about 4 or 5 inches. Maybe that is the difference. Mine was about 6 inches or so. Ann Wigmore in her book explained that the grass should be taller before juicing it I think. My only concern is getting a better yield. What size growing tray did you use? Mine is about 10″ X 15″. So I’d expect to get at least 10-14 oz of juice at least. Please let me know if you’ve gotten more juice and any improvements and if you’re still using soil? Thanks for your time.


  6. veronica murillo says:

    what kind of soil do you use? and where do you get it? i was wondering about the seeds too?

    • Lyn says:

      Hi Veronica. I used the three tier tribest. There is a link to it in the first paragraph where you can also find a lot of others. I just got a good quality potting mix from the local garden store and I got organic seeds online.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Hi Lyn
    Those photos are really helpful and clarifying! I’m a UK wheatgrass enthusiast and was thinking about importing that system – which incurs hefty shipping and customs fees. But for now, I think I will persist with growing in compost/soil. And create my own rack from some garage shelving.
    And put further thought into streamlining compost/root mat management.
    Thank you so much!! Blessings of health.