Microgreens first started showing up on chefs’ menus in San Francisco in the 1980’s as a visual and flavor enhancement, garnishing everything from entrees to soups to gourmet sandwiches at fine dining establishments.
These tiny vegetable greens are smaller than baby greens but harvested later than sprouts. Also unlike sprouts, which are germinated in water and eaten whole, microgreens are grown in soil and only the leaves are harvested.
What’s fascinating is the nutritional “punch” these tiny greens have. According to a USDA report issued in 2014: “In general, microgreens contained considerably higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids—about five times greater—than their mature plant counterparts.”
So how to grow these little wonders? Warner’s Nursery will have a free “Microgreen Workshop” this Saturday, March 12 at 10 am in the nursery. Attendees will get 20% off their purchase of seed starting materials.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Seeds! You can purchace Microgreen Mixes here at Warners or Individual Packets. Here are some Ideas – Arugula, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chard, Cilantro, Sorrel and Sunflower.
- Compost-based soil
- Jars for seed soaking
- A container for seeds to grow in. (anything works as long as it has drainage holes)
- Spray Bottle
Growing involves four easy steps:
STEP 1 – Soak your seeds in a jar with a sealable lid. Soaking the seeds for 8-12 hours will help your seeds to germinate much faster. After a day has passed drain your jar r and let them dry in place for another day before planting. Seeds that are super small such as basil will not need to be soaked.
STEP 2 – Before planting, moisten your soil. Next, spread your seeds across the surface of the soil, do not cover them. Use a spray bottle to gently wet the seeds. Cover your container with lid. Let them sit in darkness for 2-3 days, to allow the seeds to root strong.
STEP 3 – Your seeds should by now have roots and have begun to sprout. You can now remove the lid and move them into the sun (they will like bright indirect light). If you do not have a sunny window, a grow light will also work. You will need to water your greens every day or two (don’t let them dry out). The best method for watering is to place them in a shallow tray filled with water, this way the plants will wick up the water they need through their roots, and you won’t have to worry about damaging your greens by watering on top.
STEP 4 – Time to harvest! Most of your microgreens are super-fast growers, and will be ready to eat as soon as 8-11 days (when sprouts are 1-2” tall). To harvest, all you will need to do is snip the stems leaving soil and roots behind. Once you have harvested the entire container you can start over and plant new microgreens into the same soil!