Microgreens are the baby sprouts of common vegetables such as cabbage, radishes, amaranth, and kale. These miniature greens are typically harvested within 14 days of sprouting, which results in tasty greens that are not only small, but nice and tender, too.
Not to be confused with sprouts you find bagged on the grocery store shelves, microgreens are grown in soil and most have actual green leaves when they are harvested. When it comes to nutrients, microgreens offer a powerhouse of protein, vitamins, and valuable minerals. In fact, microgreens pack up to 40-percent more nutrition than their adult counterparts!
These mini greens come in a variety of textures and flavors which makes them easy to incorporate into a variety of different dishes. In fact they’re even fun to eat on their own. The problem with being able to enjoy them regularly is that they can get pretty expensive to purchase. Luckily it’s easy to grow microgreens in the comfort of your own home. Here’s how!
Choosing Your Microgreens
When first starting out, it’s a good idea to choose just one or two types of greens to work with until you get a hang of the process. Some of the easiest types of greens to grow include:
While these are some of the easiest plants to grow as microgreens, it really isn’t difficult to grow just about any kind of edible flower or plant as a microgreen.
The Initial Planting
You’ll need a separate container for each type of microgreens you want to grow. Your containers should be small and shallow. You can even use aluminum pie tins or take-out dishes if you have any available. Make sure to poke small holes in the bottom of these containers for drainage.
Fill your containers with your favorite garden soil, and use an all-purpose vegetable fertilizer, packing the soil very lightly. Place your containers in window sills that get direct sunlight throughout the day if possible. Then:
- Sprinkle your chosen seeds right on top of the soil.
- Using your hand, gently press the seeds into the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Lightly spray the soil with a mister and let the containers warm up in the window so they can germinate.
The Growth Period
You can expect to harvest your microgreens anywhere between ten and fourteen days, depending on how much greenery you want your sprouts to grow. It’s important to spray the soil with a mister once or twice per day. Once your greens sprout, you’ll need to make sure that they get direct sunlight at least four hours each day and mist them once in awhile to control moisture.
This may require that you move them around the house to follow the sun! If the weather is warm, it’s alright to put them outdoors for some sunlight if necessary, but make sure to check them often to ensure they don’t burn.
Once your microgreens have as much greenery as appeals to you, use a pair of scissors to cut the greens just above the soil line. Rinse them before serving and keep them in the fridge if you don’t use them all up right away. Your microgreens can be added to salads, wraps, soups, and even green smoothies!
Image source: Benoit Rochon/ Wikimedia Commons