Monday, January 27, 2014

Munching on Micro-Greens

Got the winter can’t plant outside blues? Grow micro-greens inside – they take ten minutes to plant, ten days to grow and way less than ten minutes to harvest and eat.  The antioxidants are off the charts if you’re into juicing for improved health or just want some tasty little greens for salads, soup toppings or sandwiches for improved yum. The flavors are wonderfully intense and so, so fresh. They are a miniature essence of spring but with more crispness, pronouncement and kick. No kidding, growing micro-greens just may become your new best, favorite habit. You won’t give up your daily Jeopardy viewing, but you’ll find time to make sure your seed trays are watered and to see if it’s harvest time (ten days or less).  I used to tell myself that the hardest part to exercising was putting your shoes on, well…open a packet of seeds and you’re off sprinting to micro-green health fitness!

Micro-greens are the first seedlings of plants that are normally seeded outside and harvested when fully grown like lettuce, broccoli, basil, sunflowers, peas or custom seeds of mustards, cress and chard (and more).  You can purchase specific micro-green seeds from garden centers or mail order or use left over seeds from your cache.  One caution, parsnip seeds used for micro-greens are poisonous so use those seeds for planting outside to grow parsnips. 

'Savory Mix' on the left of 'Peas for Shoots'

A rinsed out lettuce container placed near a sunny window 

Ready to Harvest
Anyone can grow micro-greens, you don’t need to be a self-described gardener, and no excuses if you claim you can’t grow a thing, these seeds grow AND quickly! No need to buy fancy lighting equipment or heat pads either, just some kind of a dish or rinsed out plastic lettuce carton from the store works.  Use sterile potting soil, plant several seeds in the container, cover with a bit more soil, water, and then place near a sunny window or under grow lights. Check them often to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out and do not over water. Use scissors and cut them down to the top of the soil at the 1” to 2” height stage in roughly 7-10 days, rinse and enjoy. There’s no need to worry about damping off or diseases since you’ll be harvesting so often. Repeat this process for a continuous supply all winter, you’ll need to use fresh seeds each time but it's okay to re-use the soil unless disease sets in.   

Micro-Greens add crunch and color to any soup or stew

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