Discovering microgreens will radically change the way you look at the idea of ‘growing your own’, once you start there is no going back, it will really grab you. Microgreens are used as a gourmet addition to fill with punchy flavour sophisticated dishes created by top chefs and are full of high concentrated nutrition that will help you stay healthy. You can use them too and growing them at home is easy.
There are so many positive arguments to growing microgreens that I might not be able to explore them all here in one go. No matter how much space you have, microgreens will have an important space in your garden. When I say: ‘your garden’, this could mean a small space on your windowsill, propped up in a corner of your patio or in a larger space in a greenhouse or on the ground. Indoors or outdoors, wherever you have plants, that is what I would call a garden and microgreens can be grown in all these places.
Microgreens might look like the regular sprouts you may be familiar with, but they are very different things. Although still easy, the way you grow them, the media used, what they look like and how you harvest microgreens is completely different from sprouts.
Sprouts are a germinated seed without true leaves. What you eat is the seed, root, stem and the cotyledons which are the first leaves that come out attached to the seed, most of them have sort of a kidney shape. Microgreens come as the next stage of growth, and what we eat are the first true leaves attached to the stem of the young plant or seedling. Their flavour is so much stronger than what you get from sprouts or the mature vegetable. Its nutritional and biological value is also a lot higher. You have probably heard of the all trendy wheatgrass drinking shots. Well, now you will understand why they are so beneficial to your health, they are made with wheatgrass microgreens. This is just an example of the vast range of microgreens you could grow. Just to give you an idea, some of the easiest to grow are basil, parsley, radish, or fenugreek.
Benefits of growing microgreens
- Less commitment than keeping a vegetable garden
- Easy to grow in small spaces
- Super fresh from picking to plate
- Higher amounts of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzimes
- Punchy flavours to give an accent to your dishes
- Highly ornamental in your kitchen
- You can be creative with crop and containers
So, growing microgreens at home can be a lot of fun and the more you get into it the more you will enjoy it. Let’s start with a very simple guide as an introduction, this is something you will easily be able to do at home. By growing your microgreens at home you will be able to have access to high quality super fresh plant based nutrients from pot to table – if you buy them in the supermarket they loose so many active components on the way that it makes sense to grow them at home.
Top tips to grow microgreens
- Use shallow containers. Plastic food containers that you would throw away after using are perfect for this. The shallower the better.
- Remember to check if they have holes at the bottom for drainage.
- Fill up with one and a half inches of growing medium. This could be regular compost or if you want to really get into it the best is either a good quality seed raising mix or pumice.
- Press the surface gently without compacting and spread a layer of seed on the top thoroughly covering all the surface with seed.
- Larger seeds will need pre-soaking for 24 hours.
- Cover smaller seeds with a sprinkle of compost, larger seeds will not need this.
- Use a spray bottle for watering and make sure you keep them moist all the time, you will need to do this twice a day to start with.
- Cover with a moist unbleached kitchen towel and gently press down.
- Keep them covered in the dark until they germinate – from 1 to seven days depending on the crop.
- Use specific untreated microgreen seed, not the regular vegetable growing seed which has been treated with fungicides or heat.
Depending on the type of seed you could see them germinate after a day. It is very important that you buy seed for microgreens. Most of the seed we use for growing vegetables have been treated with heat or fungicides, this makes it difficult for them to sprout.
You can also get creative with the containers you use. Look around and think of ways to recycle and reusing old cans, small baskets that you could line with plastic or anything your creativity brings up. There is no set rule to what you could use but you make sure you provide drainage.
So, I hope you get started with growing your microgreens and start seeing the benefits of this highly nutritious and fun to grow crop. Your body and your kitchen will love it!
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