Date: 25 September 2013. Growing Lentil
Preparing for a life afloat is a big job, and one thing I
do might help you as you begin the road to living life on the water. Of
course reading books is helpful in getting a flavor of what's out here,
still there are mistakes made time and again by newbie boat buyers.
Because I was born (conceived too -- made the Log Book) and raised aboard
a 40' motor vessel you'd think I would be immune to all mistakes. Well,
that's a good theory and I'm here to tell you that it doesn't work quite
And if you're curious, this was our family home for nearly
One of the first/most common mistakes people make is in
buying items for the boat before the boat is bought. Mine was a 12-volt
water heater and I paid nearly $250 on sale for it. Oh, it was great:
theoretically my heat exchanger water would pass thru it thus saving
power, though how that was going to be accomplished when my engine lacked
a heat exchanger I'm not quite certain. Argh. Never installed but out
of the box, I managed to get $50 for the thing and was grateful too. It's
just that I was so sure that I could only be happy with a
plentitude of hot water....
So be smarter than I was and don't buy boat gear until
you have actually lived aboard your home for a time and determined
whatever you want is necessary. There are exceptions of course, but as a
general rule of thumb don't spend a dime, and definitely do not ever buy
That said, I would recommend a couple of books to give you
a flavor of what it's really like out here. One is Clare Allcard's
The Intricate Art of Living Afloat and although
written quite some time ago offers a true perspective of life aboard a
boat, raising children onboard while underway, chartering, provisioning, living without
refrigeration and such. What I like best though is the friendly tone she
uses throughout, and the fact that when presented with a problem her first
solution isn't to buy something. I'd love to have her aboard my home for a
spot of tea....
As for the second book I'd suggest
Tricks of the Trades
by Bruce Van Sant. This one offers guidance as to determining the type
of cruising you wish to do, and advocates the leisurely style I prefer.
[He's also the author of
The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South
that boaters use when heading down the Caribbean island
chain.] I like Tricks.
Let me state unequivocally that you should not read any
survival or shipwreck stories. Cruising coastal means we are in safe
waters and as long as we watch for weather windows we should never
experience the sort of things that appear in those nightmare books. After
gaining experience if you still chose to head off across oceans and such,
then read the stormy weather/sinking stories. [By then you'll have enough
practical knowledge to properly evaluate and use the information
Back to food: For me, because my refrigeration is sporadic
at best (battery issues) I've had to make a few alterations to insure
I eat properly. One thing that is important is to have fresh produce and
for that I've got a system.
Unfortunately I'm at an age where roughage must be a part
of my diet and I've found lentils to be just the right solution. On a boat
they are easy to store (dried beans don't take much space) and the price
is great, they poof up nicely and, well, I like the way they taste when grown as sprouts.
Cooked though? Well, let's just say I prefer food with texture and lentils don't have
much though they are nutritionally decent when cooked. As an aside, they
finish in the same amount of time as rice so can be cooked together if
you're a mind for the combination.
The Lentil Galley
As you can see I grow my lentil sprouts in spice jars. The larger flat container with the holes punched in the top is where I
dump the extras when I grow more than I eat. I've found adding a small
pouch of tuna fish, some mayo and a bit of fresh scallions makes a
wonderful, tasty lunch (or supper) with minimal effort.
Oh, and the yellow container in the back holds one pound of
lentils. I'd met a charming couple with a pair of young boys on a C-Dory
back when I anchored in Saul Creek and they were nice enough to pass along
their galley goods as their vacation was ending; later that day they were
driving back to Texas. The groceries saved me having to leave (the spot
was so tranquil I didn't want to go) and their generosity in passing along
the food stores allowed me to remain another week. I
made use of the food (some shared, most eaten) and saved the pancake mix
container. That one is ideal for pouring lentils into the spice jars and
using it allows me to remember their kindness.
This is my method for growing snack size portions that work
for me. Of course if you were feeding a spouse also or someone who ate more,
you'd want to use larger containers. And instead of using the spice shaker
tops you'd have to use screen for draining -- rubber bands will hold on
the screen at least temporarily. For me however, spice bottles work perfectly.
I have switched to bottles with all the same size lids (easier) and please note the
holes in the tops are large enough to dump out water yet small enough that
the seeds don't come out.
Dried lentils -
pour in approximately 1/4"
Add water up to
inch level. Drain in 3 hours.
12, 24 and 36 hours
As you can see lentils grow rapidly and in two days will top
out the spice jar! The sprouts will continue to grow however I like them
with just a hint of the greenery (the root starts first) so at day two,
I'm snacking away. I have grown them thru day four -- the flavor is more
"grassy" if that makes sense. Anyway, you can try these for yourself and
see what you prefer.
For me it's a great way to enjoy a healthy snack, get
roughage into the diet and I rather like them. Day two seems to have the
nutty flavor I savor most. I've tossed them in chicken
salads, added to tuna fish, used them as crunch in ham sandwiches, and
mixed them into my crab meat salads. You're only limited by your
Now, for the nitty-gritty: Water. Away from docks and such
we are limited by water availability. Everything used aboard Seaweed has to be hauled
out to the boat for the most part and rinsing the sprouts is necessary.
Morning and night (twice per day) this is how I do it:
Pour fresh water to cover the sprouts in the fullest container.
Shake, then drain the water into a dish.
Dump that water into the next fullest.
Repeat thru your stock of sprouts adding water as necessary.
After I've rinsed all my sprouts with the same water, I
pour the nutrient rich leftover water onto my planter.
I've an old terracotta flower pot that has both basil and scallions
growing in it. Having aboard fresh spice (basil though when the new seed
packets come out I'll try oregano and sage too) is fun -- and it's extra
delightful to be able to share with friends.
Basil looks like this when it
After the basil has formed two
leaves I transplant into a container and added dwarf flower
seeds (Candytuft and Dianthus)* just for fun!
* I know zilch about varieties of flowers and selected those
two because of growing height (12 inches and six respectively) plus they
were on sale. Best of all, they looked pretty on the package and I hope
they'll look nice for the recipients!
SHH! I've got five small egg containers growing to give to
friends I've made while here in Carrabelle. Basil in the center with tiny
flower seedlings surrounding same. Here's what they look like:
My lentil growing system has one flaw, as illustrated
below. I like having the containers on edge as it allows lots of air flow
but, well, take a look at the red arrow. They aren't stowed properly and
if I were to want to get underway immediately I'd have to do something
with them. There is a piece of red oak that they back up to but still my
system is not right. I've not yet come up with a solution I like so am
open to your ideas. I'm a nut of having things put away and tidy -- and if
someone comes by a wakes me (the boat rocks) I don't want to be catching
stuff. That's the criteria. What would you do or make?
That's it from the water tonight. Until next time...
Ladies, and gents who live aboard: are there any books you
you recommend for folks who are thinking about/planning to live on a boat?
Pre-purchase, is there anything you bought that could best be described as
© 2013, 2018, 2020
Prepping - Plastics ~
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