My Own Homegrown Sabzeh


My Own Homegrown Sabzeh
by Multiple Personality Disorder

I tossed and turned for awhile but couldn't go back to sleep. I went for my addiction, an early dosage of iraniandotcom, and while I was surfing the site, among other things, I stumbled upon a blog called How to Make Sabzeh by Party Girl. It said it was her rough translation of an instructional article on how to grow sabzeh. Her blog inspired me to grow my own homegrown sabzeh for the first time in my life. So, I began to follow the instruction, and posted the progress. I didn't mean it to be a chronicle, but at the end it turned out that way.

Wed Mar 11, 2009 04:00 AM PDT
I was going to bed but then I saw your blog, which is exactly what I needed. I'll get on with it right away, as soon as the sun rises. Do you know where I can buy lentils or wheat?

I was kidding about where to buy lentils or wheat, and at the end it turned out that I got them from a jar of lentils that was used for decoration. I'd say the lentils were at least five years old. Some plant seeds germinate even after centuries. The oldest known viable seed is of a date palm tree that's two thousand years old. So, I wasn't worried about how old the seeds were. What I was worried about was how much time was left to grow the seeds in time for Norooz. By the time I started soaking the seeds it was passed 7 PM on Wednesday, and there was only nine more days left to Norooz and I was afraid I might run out of time.

Thu Mar 12, 2009 08:00 PM PDT
The lentils soaked for 24 hours and then I transferred them to a flat plate, about 10 inches in diameter, an hour ago. When I transferred them, there was some water in the plate, which helped make the lentils spread evenly. I cut a not-so-clean piece of cloth from one of my old shirts in the shape of a circle and made it wet first and then tried to cover the lentils, but two things happened, first the cloth soaked up the excess water, and then the lentils clanged to the cloth, bunching up and making themselves uneven. I attempted to spread the lentils evenly but this time without water they would not cooperate. I gently got those lentils that were attached to the cloth loose and put them back on the plate.

I tried to spread the lentils by hand but they were too tender and not cooperative. I added a little bit of water to the plate and tapped on the side of the plate till they became relatively even and flat again. I put the cloth back on the plate again and made sure it was moist. The cloth is slightly larger than the plate, by about a quarter of inch all around so it sticks out. I put the plate on top of the pot that I was using to soak the lintels. It is now elevated and the cloth is moist and there is a slight dripping from the cloth, not too much. Also there was a stubborn brown ring around the pot that I used to soak the lentils, which it took some scrubbing to clean.

I am so excited I can't stand it! I'll keep you posted.

Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:00 AM PDT

I checked on them first thing in the morning. Some of the skins (seed coat) have turned slightly brown, and there was some brown water on the counter from the cloth dripping. I don't like brown. I want green. I made the cloth wet again but I think maybe I had too much water in the plate already. I tilted the plate sideways and drained some of that extra water out. Now I think maybe it's too dry.

Skins on most of the lentils have already broken open, and a small number of them are sending out a shoot called a Radicle, which will hopefully become the roots. The ones with open skin are also showing their inner grain, but I can't see any Hypocotyls, the part of the plat embryo that would later sprout leaves. Where are the Hypocotyls? I want Hypocotyls!

Fascinating, fascinating!

Sat Mar 14, 2009 09:00 AM PDT
They're alive! They're alive! Barely! The cloth was dry when I checked it this morning. Last night was one of the rarest nights that I did not get up in the middle of the night to empty my bladder. If I had woken up I would have moisten it for sure. I mean moisten the cloth, not my... Never mind. I feel so bad for not remembering the lentils last night, when I was dreaming about becoming a rich and famous author. I'm so sorry my little sabzeh.

This morning when I lifted the cloth and looked underneath I was amazed how much life had advanced. Some of the roots are 1/2 inch long, and most of them are showing tiny little Hypocotyls. It sounds sexy, doesn't it? As Marge would say. Hypocotyls, Hypocotyls! Hypocotyl is that part of the plant embryo that lifts the growing tips up above the ground into the air and the first pair of embryonic leaves called Cotyledon will grow out of them.

Some of the seed coats have completely separated from the grains. Some of the roots have dark brown spots on them, most likely due to drying up over night.

Grow my beautiful Hypocotyls! Grow!

Sun Mar 15, 2009 03:30 AM PDT

Good Morning my little sabzeh! In the middle of the night, I got up on a timely manner to empty my bladder, and I didn't forget to moisten the lentil cloth cover. The little lentils are doing fine. Some of the roots are as long as an inch and they are trying to grow downward.

The Hypocotyls are growing too, but not by much. Tiny little embryonic leaves are visible now. They are not green (sabz) yet; they are more like yellowish-white-green. A lot of the grains are still holding on to their skins, but it will not be long before they have to let go of their them.

I think the little lentils are going to make it, but now that I think about it, not knowing from experience when it is a good time to remove the cloth completely, I might run into a problem. Removing the cloth too soon might harm the roots. Removing it too late might retard their growth. No man should carry so much responsibility on his shoulder as to when it is the right time to allow living creatures to grow on their own without an arbitrary cloth to hinder their progress.

I'm going to wait till tomorrow to remove the cloth.

Mon Mar 16, 2009 05:30 AM PDT
Once again I did not wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom! This is so out of character for me! I don't know what's happening to me, but at least I got up very early this morning and right away I checked on the lentils. They are doing great. The Hypocotyls are about 1/2 inch long on most of the lentils, and embryonic leaves are quite visible on most of them. Now that all the seeds have sprouted I can see that there are too many of them on the plate, which is overcrowded now. To thin them out I decided to eat some of them. I plucked and tasted a couple of them to see if I can tolerate eating them. I‘ve seen people put sprouts on their salad plates, so what's the difference?

They were delicious. I ate some more. They taste like dirt, kind of like clayish dirt that I used to love to eat when I was a kid growing up in Abadan. I eat a few more till my mouth started drying up. I hope they are not poisonous at this stage of their development. Some plants do that you know. They make you sick so next time you know not to eat them. Oh well, if I get sick I’ll just call my boss and tell him I got lentil poisoning. I’m sure he’ll believe me. Who could come up with this kind of excuses if it wasn’t true?

When I was eating the lentils I discovered that the roots of the ones at the periphery of the plates are perfectly formed but the ones in the center have roots that look like they are turning brown. The plate is concaved, deeper in the middle, so there is always more water in the middle than the edge. I don’t have a flat plate and at this point I think it is too late to change the plate. I just have to hope they're going to be alright.

The cloth is off and I'm going to put them by the patio window today. I hope the sun would show its face today out of the clouds.

Tue Mar 17, 2009 05:37 AM PDT
Canopy of green! Plumules, which are that part of plants' embryo that evolves into shoots and produce the first true leaves, are hard at work and they are growing rapidly; some of them are an inch and half long. Almost all of the roots are now down below a non-existing soil line, and above it a canopy of green is manifesting itself.

In open air some of the roots, that in the chaos of mass confusion were sticking their tails out in the wrong direction in the air instead of being down below in underground, are dead. They remind me of so many Iranian youth who lost their lives in the chaos of the revolution.

The lentils are in a way similar to a school of fish. It's as if they’re saying we are thousands but one, we will struggle for survival but some will not make it at the end, but some of us will, and we will see a New Day.

Wed Mar 18, 2009 09:44 AM PDT
Lentils sway! The lentil sprouts began to lean, as much as 30 degrees, towards the light source after leaving them near the patio window. I turned the plate 180 degrees to make them face away from the light, and force them to go back the opposite way. Last night when I checked on them again, they had straightened up and then they were leaning 15 degrees the other way. Yes, I measured the angles with a protractor.

The sprouts have swayed as much as 45 degrees. No man-made building structure on earth can withstand such a huge oscillation, this is while most of the lentils have grown over two inches long, and I’m sure at this rate of growth they will collapse under their own weight soon, maybe, But maybe not, somehow I trust that nature has other plans.

These plants are fascinating, just fascinating.

Thu Mar 19, 2009 07:52 AM PDT
My own homegrown sabzeh! Most of the sprouts are 3-4 inches long and their permanent leaves are spreading their beautiful green wings. They look great sitting on top of a speaker by the patio window. They give me the goose bumps, making me feel connected to an event much grander than my lonely confinement. For Norooz, I’ll have my own homegrown sabzeh for the first time in my life.


Thu Mar 20, 2009 04:52 AM PDT

It's the dawn of a New Day. Happy New Year. My sabzeh looks beautiful!




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It looks impressive

by ramintork on

Norouzetan Pirooz.

 Ramin Tork.


Congratulations and best wishes to you!

by Monda can'tlogin (not verified) on

Dear MPD,

Your investment in this project really amazed me.
I'm saving your blog because it's the first ever with such clear passionately written instructions. Nowruz mobarak! va Happiest New Year to you!


Like a time lapse photography

by JD (not verified) on

I never knew there is a joy in "watching the grass grow", you proved me wrong. If in a hurry always use millet (Arzan in Persian), that almost beats lentils by a day or two. Remember the Chia Pets of 70's?

Multiple Personality Disorder

We swam with the sharks

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

وولیک مو تو آبادان جی جی یه نمیشناختوم ولی جفتمون تو یه شط با کوسه ها شنو می کردیم

Anahid Hojjati


by Anahid Hojjati on



Happy New Year MPD!

by Your friend in hiatus (not verified) on

What a lot of work and how very sweet of you to share your sentiments and your science project with the rest of us! This is absolutely great! Do you realize that now and forever there will be a detailed step-by-step of how to grow sabzeh, thanks to you?! You're great. Thank you. Eidet mobarak!

Foaad Khosmood

wow... you really took this seriously!

by Foaad Khosmood on

you should do a daily photo blog until 13th!

Happy New Year.