Growing your own micro-greens in containers at home is a fun indoor activity that can be grown indoors at home any time of the year, including fall and winter. Microgreen sprouts are an excellent source of protein and vitamins
Over the last few years, I have really taken an interest in gardening/sprouting and growing micro greens!I’ve been inspired by several people: Carolyn Herriot! She’s the author of the Zero Mile diet! It’s an amazing book to have on hand for beginners and advanced gardeners.
An additional two amazing books on sprouting are: “Sprout Garden” with Mark M. Braunstein, and “Sprouts, the Miracle Food” by Steve Meyerowitz And my latest favorite is “Microgreens: How to Grow Nature’s own Superfood” with Fionna Hills. My friend Linda, loaned me this book few months ago and I’ve been hooked on microgreens since then.
One of the reasons is that when Yvan and I bought our Cottage in Bancroft 11 years ago, good organic produce was challenging to find.
So, I started my own organic garden, sprouting, growing wheat grass and Sunflower sprouts like crazy! Then I went with sprouting in jars, and then, I discovered the microgreens….
Many of you have asked me how to grow microgreens at home. Microgreens are today’s popular gourmet garnish ad flavor accent. They grow really well in our condo in the city due to all the natural light all day long.
I use microgreens in my salad all the time, and you can also include them in sandwiches, use as a garnish, or mixed into soups, dressing, meat dishes, dips, stir fries, pizzas, or as decoration.
It doesn’t take much space to grow. You can see that I have a beautiful rack, which I purchased at Solutions store in Mississauga: http://www.solutions-stores.ca: It comes in different sizes and you assemble it yourself.
To clarify, microgreens are not the same as sprouts. Sprouts are basically germinated seeds. You eat the seed, root, stem and underdeveloped leaves. They are generally grown in dark, moist conditions. Microgreens cannot be grown using the same methods; they are planted and grown in soil or a soil substitute, and the seed concentration is a fraction of what is used in sprout growing.
After the initial germination period, usually a day or two, microgreen seedlings are grown in high light conditions with normal humidity and good air circulation. ( This is very important for microgreens.)
Also, microgreens have much stronger flavours than sprouts, with a wide range of leaf shapes, texture and colours. That’s why your salad will taste amazing.
My favorites are radish, mustard, arugula, broccoli, and Brassica Blend (Broccoli Raab, kale, radish and mustard…
How to grow microgreens:Buy seeds. Try a mix for a variety of colors and flavors: I get mine from Sprout Master:
http://sproutmaster.com/ here in Canada! Another good company is http://sprouting.com/ for Canada and US…
I choose containers that look attractive because they are in my living space close to the kitchen, and I really want to enjoy the look as well, but you can use recycled plastic food trays or food cans, or even old baking pans!
For your soil - try to go organic: preferably potting soil or seedling mix or both.
Seeds - UNTREATED, and preferably organically grown
Water - preferably not chlorinated
Sunlight, warmth and air….
Drainage is very important: Lack of drainage will mean that you may have mould, or undersized growth.
Now, sprinkle seeds evenly over the surface. Be careful not to sow so many that they grow poorly and rot.
For tiny seeds such as kale, mustard and basil, sprinkle in a fine layer of sifted soil to the depth of the sowed seed. Large seeds such as pea don’t need sifted soil. After covering the container, give the seeds a gentle press down.
Now, in the Microgreen book by Fionna Hills, rather than covering the seeds with soil, she uses cloth. You can use light, old, linen, or cotton tea towels or unbleached, natural paper kitchen towels and a shower hat covering to keep in the moisture. This will help speed up germination and growth by holding in heat and moisture.
Keep the towel moist until the seeds have germinated. This also allows you to lift the fabric or paper corner to check on progress.
Keep the seeds moist all the time. Keep seeds covered until they have germinated. They will begin to lift the towel or if planted densely in soil may lift the soil. Water twice a day.To harvest, snip the microgreens right above the soil line when their first true leaves unfurl (about 7 to 14 days after germination, depending on the green.
As I mentioned above, the microgreen germination process does not require light, but, once germinated, like most plants, they need light to grow. All you need is a sunny windowsill.
Just experiment with different herbs and vegetables:
Amaranth, basil, beet, broccoli, cabbage, chives, clover, cress, fennel, fenugreek, kale, mizuna, mustard, parsley, peas, radish, arugula, wheatgrass. ( My favorite Microgreens are Broccoli, Brassica Blend ( mix of Broccoli,Broccoli Raab, Kale, Radish and mustard seeds).