By Pat Cook, Master Gardener, SCMG
Something I am really excited about this winter is growing microgreens.
Microgreens are tiny vegetable plants, larger than sprouts, grown to just a few inches in height, then harvested. The flavour of microgreens is much more intense than that of full-grown plants. Studies have shown that microgreens are more concentrated in nutritional value than their mature counterparts. The tiny leaves actually taste like the mature vegetable!
Pricey to buy, but so easy to grow, microgreens add texture, colour and flavor to your favourite salad or sandwich and … the good news is, they are easy to grow. From mild, sweet and tangy to peppery and spicy, microgreens are nutrient-rich young herbs and veggies that can be grown on a windowsill or under grow lights in your home.
Many varieties of crops can be grown as microgreens including lettuce, mustard, kale, arugula, spinach, radish, beets, chives, peas, spinach and many others. They are ready to harvest 7-14 days after planting.
Here’s how to grow your own at home:
Fill a shallow container or tray with pre-moistened seed starting mix, sprinkle with an even distribution of your choice of seeds. Use lots of seeds. As a rule of thumb, sow at a density of approximately 10-12 seeds per square inch. Press the seeds down to ensure good contact with the soil. Spray with a light mist of water. Don’t cover the seeds with soil, but keep them in the dark by putting the same size tray directly over top the seeds. This creates darkness to simulate the seeds being covered in soil. In just a few days they will be sprouted and on their way. Once the seeds start to germinate remove the blackout cover and expose the seedlings to the light. Continue to mist daily. Once the seedlings have their first true leaves and are approximately 2-4 inches in height (depending on the crop), they are ready to be harvested. Grab your scissors and snip the greens just above the soil line.
Try growing microgreens to provide your family with a fresh supply of tasty greens all winter long. From seed to feed – microgreens are the way to grow!
* * *
* A Master Gardener’s goal is to provide accurate gardening information to the general public. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Master Gardener please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .