growing microgreens

Growing Microgreens for Nutritional Punch

All About Growing Microgreens

 

In the gray cold days of winter you can still enjoy fresh organic greens by growing microgreens. These little powerhouses can be grown just about anywhere and any time of year.

Microgreens are not sprouts – they are grown in soil and harvested fresh while still small. All you need to grow microgreens is a source of light and a tray with sterilized seed starting mix. And, of course, seeds…

growing microgreens

 

Why would you grow microgreens rather than sprouting? Well, these tiny plants are packed with vitamins and minerals, amino acids and enzymes. They are truly some of the most nutritious super foods.

How to Grow Microgreens:

Directions for growing microgreens will vary, depending on the variety of seeds. At the end of this article, you’ll find a list of plants that make great mini greens. For each, you’ll want to follow the planting instructions on the seed package.

growing microgreens

1.     Select a shallow container. It could be a germination tray, recycled plastic containers from salad mixes, or even a home made seeding flat. Just make sure it has drainage in the bottom.

2.     You’ll need a depth of 2 to 3 inches of sterilized soil – these are harvested small, so you don’t need room for much root growth. To speed germination, you could place this onto a seedling warmer.

3.     Sow the seeds quite densely, and mist the surface area. The soil should be about as moist as a sponge that’s been wrung out. Keep a sprayer handy so the soil doesn’t dry out.

4.     Once the sprouts have sprouted, lift your tray from the warmer (providing you’ve used one). Also, remove any cover you may have used.

5.     If you’re planting indoors, you’ll likely need supplemental light. You can find several grow light systems on Amazon. My favorite is the Sunblaster Mini Greenhouse. I like this one because it has a cover that helps prevent evaporation, and is small enough to fit on my kitchen counter.

6.     Harvest your growing microgreens as soon as they have two leaves that have turned green. These first leaves are the seed leaves, and the richest in nutrients. Either cut them off at soil level with scissors, or pull them up, roots and all. Even the roots can be consumed.

Follow the same steps in growing microgreens outdoors. It’s best, I’ve found, to grow them in small spaces, like flats or trays rather than right in the garden. They’re easier to harvest and you can have a continual supply by staggering several growing trays in a protected but sunny spot. Just make sure you keep them moist!

 

What to Grow as Microgreens:

The options are almost endless – everything from sunflowers to cress and carrots can be grown and harvested as microgreens.

Here’s a list of possibilities:

  •  Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Mustards
  • Pac Choi and other Asian greens
  • Pea shoots
  • Sunflower greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Amaranth
  • Kale
  • Mizuna
  • Radish
  • Cress
  • Chervil
  • Beets
  • Buckwheat
  •  Cilantro

Several seed companies offer mixes of seeds specifically for microgreen growing. Here are some you may want to explore.

Because microgreens grow so quickly, and can be grown almost anywhere, you can experiment with different types and combinations.

Have fun with growing microgreens and enjoy this healthy and nutritious versatile food!

 

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