Growing Tiny Greens at Unity Community Center

Posted by

With the promise of tasty nutrition and a guaranteed quick return on my gardening efforts, I decided to grow microgreens (tiny greens) inside at the Unity Community program using seeds and soil left over from summer programming.

Two 4-foot-long watertight growing pockets (pots) were placed in front of the west window and a fluorescent light was added. The pockets were filled with moist soil, and the Unity parents broadcast thickly the seeds of mustard greens, beets, radish, arugula and kale. The pockets were sprinkled with water using a watering can with a wide nozzle, causing the water to break evenly and be gentler on seeds. Unity youth checked the pocket and only watered when the top of the soil was dry.

Two weeks later, parents were able to harvest their tiny greens with scissors from a lush shelf of green, reddish and bronze leaves. They sprinkled the greens on crackers with cream cheese for a refreshing "garden" snack. In my opinion, the beet sprouts were the prettiest, the arugula was the leafiest, the radish sprouts were the spiciest and the mustards were the most popular.

Illinois gardeners can grow sprouts in few small, shallow pots or trays and high-quality soil. Mix water in with soil until it becomes moist but still fluffy. Broadcast seeds left over from last summer's garden in a thick mass. Pretend you are spreading seed over the chicken yard and you will the technique down. Cover with thin layer of soil and water in gently. Soaking some seeds prior to sowing, such as beets, helps speed germination. The next step is to diligently check to see when dry and sprinkle pots with water when dry.

These tiny greens can be harvested for the next two to three weeks and eventually the tiny greens will turn into pots of baby greens without much room to grow. So eat up by adding the freshly harvested garnish to salads, soups and meat.