Mighty Mighty Microgreens!
Did you know that Microgreens contain many times the nutrient density of their mature-harvested counterparts? These things pack a nutritional punch! (see USDA article here)
Microgreens are vegetables and herbs harvested when their first set of true leaves sprout. These things pack a lot of flavor, nutrients and vitamins into a small package! Often they are confused with sprouts, so let’s break down the difference:
– Harvested after first true leaves (not cotyledon) sprout – when plants are about 2 inches tall
– Harvest time: 1 – 3 weeks
– Grown in soil and in the sunshine (where plants get most of their nutrients from)
– Harvested during the sprouting phase
– Harvest time: 2 – 3 days
– Grown in water and in the dark
While sprouts are also considered a healthy food source, microgreens are far superior when it comes to nutrient and fiber content. Leafy microgreens for instance are a significant source of beta-carotene, iron and calcium, and dark leafy microgreens (kale, chard, etc) are high in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic eye disease and cataracts. Microgreens are very easy to grow, so get yourself some seeds and get started!
Growing microgreens requires little space and time – unlike a traditional garden. Some good options for seeds to use are: Basil, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chard, Cilantro, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and Spinach!
1. Poke a few holes in the bottom of a plastic tub for drainage (see: spinach or mushroom container for instance).
2. Fill the container with 1 – 2 inches of light seedling soil and smooth it out to be even – but not compacted. (Being that we are growing microgreens for a nutrient rich food source, be sure of the quality and safety of your soil! Choose high-quality, organic soil whenever possible)
3. Sprinkle seeds so they almost cover the soil for a dense planting, and then sprinkle a light covering of soil over the seeds and pat gently
4. Water with a spray bottle to avoid dislodging seeds (a plastic cover can help keep moisture in)
5. Keep in a dark, warm area of the house until seeds start to sprout and then transfer to a sunny windowsill until ready to harvest
It really is that easy! Try it out and see for yourself!