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What are microgreens?
Trendy – Microgreens are Trendy! In reality they are also nutrient packed and dead easy to grow. You do not need years of acquired skill. You do not need acres of space. Nor do you need to spend lots of money! Think cress when you were younger. It is the same principle. We are not called The Mini Smallholder for nothing! Alongside microgreens I also grow sprouting seeds and I believe that anyone else can grow these too.
When to harvest microgreens?
You let the seed grow to its first few leaves and then cut it off and eat it before it can become a mature plant. When put like that it sounds a little cruel. But you get more bang for your buck in the form of nutrients. So it is a year round crop. I struggle to extend my growing seasons and will try things like late potaotes grown in towers to try to extend my outdoor season. The reality is with both sprouting seeds and microgreens you can harvest all year round. So fresh healthy microleafs all year round sounds like a plus to me!
There are affiliate links here, which means I may get a reward for you buying via the link, but it doesn’t cost you anything.
Why grow Microgreens?
You can store the dried seed for years without needing to rush. This makes it the perfect way to get nutrients if you are prepping and want to eat fresh. You can grow with minimum cost. Don’t believe me just watch this video!
You need close to zero skill! Seriously think about the cress heads we all used to grow!
How do you grow Micro Greens then?
Pop some soil into a dark plastic tray. I have asked everyone at work to bring in their single use plastic. Make sure you flatten the soil with the back of your hand. Then you need some seeds. So go a little exciting and try something a bit different like
Dark basil . The flavour is much more intense when in a Micro Green form. You sprinkle them on top of the soil and then water. Water do not saturate. Cover with a higher lid. One that will not allow daylight in.
A little bit of laziness here
This is the pure bliss part. Store your plastic container wherever you like. In your warm house at a relatively constant temperature is ideal. I have one in my bathroom and one in my kitchen on the unit. Ensure it is moist at all times, but not saturated. Maybe 15 days will go by and you will see pasty pale shoots. Let them leaf before showing them any daylight. That way you will get lovely long stems. In all other situations we would be sad at such leggy seedlings. Here, however you are going to eat them and you wan tot be able to snip a good length.
What to do with Microgreens?
Raw on anything and everything. Especially good are the basil ‘greens’ on pasta, pizza or any veal type dishes. They do not need to be cooked, just rinse thoroughly. Disclaimer – I hate those pea shoots which seem to be on trend right now. You can’t eat those gracefully on a rare date with the hubby. Secretly though they are tasty. As well as healthy. You might want to try juicing with microgreens and some friends do recommend it! I prefer a
Blender to a juicer for microgreens though as there is very little pulp to the tender leaves.
Is it dangerous to eat Microgreens?
When you put them into plastic bags for storage it can be the perfect conditions for germs to grow. So use a successional planting scheme. This allows you to eat as you grow. They take up so little space, so you can have a few on the go at the same time. Not to brag, but I am pretty good at gardening, but I still have these on the go at all times. It is so convenient.
How to Harvest Microgreens
First of all you can just cut and eat. That is the easiest option as it makes storing microgreens the same as growing microgreens. If you did want to store them here are a few tips.
Tips for storing microgreens
- Store them as dried seed in sealed packets in the cupboard, do not put into colder or moist environments.
- Once cut, ensure that they are dry. Your will need to rinse all dirt from them and then use a tea towel to gently pat them dry. Moisture is the perfect breeding ground for germs.
- You will need airtight containers, normally I advise all sorts of reusable containers, but now I am telling you to have a look at something like
Airtight Clip Top Preserve Jarsas you will not be using plastics but a glass jar instead.
- Put into the fridge for up to three days.
I recommend having a look at this site as I get all of my seeds from here and have had good harvests.
Is there a difference between sprouts and microgreens?
Basically a lot of difference in terms of how we grow them and how we eat them!
Microgreens are the baby version of any plant, those amazing first two leaves that they put out to get as much sunlight as possible.
To grow microgreens you need finely sieved soil and a nice warm dark place for them to shoot up from the surface of the soil to then be transferred to a sunny window. Believe me when I say these are not hard to master either, but they do need a lot more attention. BY keeping them in the dark you are forcing them to grow taller to find the sunshine. When they are yellow and have two leaves take them straight to the sunniest spot you have. You need to keep the soil damp but not sodden and allow them to not have too many changes in temperature.
Really anything that you can enjoy the flavour of works well as a microgreen. Seriously I love basil, pea shoots, fenugreek and cress alike. All of which have a lovely strong flavour. You will get a good result from trying different seeds but you can buy basic kits from any of the links in the article.
Different to Sprouting seeds, but the plant at its youngest. There are leaves there, but the baby leaves, the first set that they put out. Designed to catch as much sunlight as possible to encourage the rest of the plant to grow as quickly as possible. Happily they are packed with taste and nutrition.
In general no. This is because you have cut down their baby leaves, meaning that all of the stored energy on the seed has been used up to produce those shoots and leaves. Therefore great nutrition for you, but not great for regrowth. We just tap the entire soil out and pop into the compost and reuse it that way.
Anything like red clover, mustard, basils, mints and any other flavours that you love. As long as you would usually eat the leaves then as a rule of thumb they are good for eating as well. Microgreens work well as an all yea round garnish on salads, but you don’t need a lot of them to get a lot of taste. Mustard seeds are packed with a strong gorgeous depth of flavour, well so are the microgreens. So give them a try. They are so affordable to try out, that you would be hard pressed to make a mistake.
You will be eating the top inch or so of the plant and not the seed itself. We have two gorgeous nephews of 8 and 3. They love to get muddy and join in with growing food that they would not eat from the supermarket. The microgreens would be ideal for the 8 year old, but the sprouting seeds are ideal for the 3 year old. Unless it is for eating, then they will both eat most of everything we grow!
How much do microgreens cost?
Well it can be an easy crop to grow and then you might want to think about buying microgreen seeds wholesale and selling your microgreens at a farmers market or similar. So it all depends how far you want to take this!
There is kit you will need and whilst I use old plastic from things like mushrooms (dark plastic which doesn’t let the sunlight in!) you can buy appropriate kits to help get you started. We are starting to think more seriously about our spending as a household and the microgreens that we grow are now a bigger part of our no spend challenge but if you want you can purchase microgreen kits.
So if you fancy trying something a little bit more time consuming have a go at sprouting seeds . Good luck and really just give it a go! Thanks