Are you pining to grow something green, smell something green, see something green or taste something green- as if it were already spring?
The green scratch for all those cravings is within your reach! Microgreens are a super easy solution to help alleviate winter blues. Have you tried growing or eating them before?
Microgreens are like a toddler plant- somewhere between the infant sprout stage and the preschooler 'baby green' stage readily found in most salad sections of supermarkets. Sprouts need dark, wet conditions to grow, and daily rinsing to remain edible. They are the newly germinated seeds, and the entire plant, roots and all, are eaten. On the other hand, microgreens have been growing for 7 to 21 days since first germinating; and already have true leaves on their small stems. The stems and leaves are eaten, tender and packed with flavor!
A gardener will grow anything just to see something green, (which in my book is reason enough; is there a problem with that?) but others often suppose there should be common sense when gardening- a rationale- a purpose if you will……
So, despite being a handy excuse for gardeners to plant seeds in January, microgreens are actually practical too. They are delicious little burst of flavor, tender, versatile and packed with vitamins and nutrients.
It's almost too good to be true, but they happen to be easy to grow, also! Here are simple steps for success:
A growing container. A truly great one is the plastic clamshell containers with lids that the spinach or strawberries purchased at the store come in. Container should have drainage in bottom.
Good potting soil (do not use garden soil, it is too heavy)
Seeds- many, many kinds work. Radish, cabbage, beet, arugula, mustard green, chia, broccoli, cilantro, basil…. all great! Only three things to remember here
-germination rate should be about the same for seeds grown in same container
-larger seeds like sunflower or peas work better when pre-soaked
-specialty microgreen seeds are found in catalogs, on-line, health food stores or some super markets. Regular seed packets work also, but stick with organic versions of those to eliminate possible exposure to anti-fungal agents.
Here are the steps- easy as one-two–three-
- Place 1 ½ to 2 inches of soil in container
- Pre-moisten soil- should be damp but not soggy
- Sow seeds generously- larger seeds should be almost touching
- Sprinkle with soil to cover- press lightly for soil contact
- Mist lightly using water bottle
- Place in sunny location
- Keep cover on and mist two times daily to keep moist
- When seedlings are about ½ inch high, remove cover. Cover can now be re-purposed to place under container.
- Water from bottom, once a day or so- keep soil moist
- Re-position trays as needed. If location receives strong sunrays, may need to use burlap, screen or other material to create light shade
- 10-21 days later, when plant has developed first true set of leaves
- Use scissors to cut plant just above soil level
Now- enjoy! They can be used in salads, tuna sandwiches, fancy sandwiches, dressings, pastas, omelets, soups, cheese dishes…your imagination will guide you. Eaten just alone is a treat honestly- the flavor of the adult veggie or herb really comes through in surprising and delightful ways.
Green is good, oh so literally!