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Microgreens Pack Macro Nutrition, Flavor

January 19, 2020

It wasn’t long ago that microgreens were found only on the menus of trendy, upscale restaurants. Now, microgreens, the seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are smaller than baby greens and bigger than sprouts, have found their way into most grocery store produce sections and casual restaurants as a staple in wraps, salads and soups. Several publications including Medical News Today reports that there is evidence to suggest that microgreens have a high antioxidant content, which can help prevent diseases. They’re also rich in vitamins.

And then there’s the taste: microgreens are a staple in chef’s kitchens due to their bold flavor profiles, ranging from sharp and peppery (arugula) to sweet and earthy (kale. Swiss chard). Common microgreens include amaranth, arugula, broccoli, kale, parsley, radish, sunflower and Swiss chard. Their dainty, deep green or purplish appearance adds an artistic flair to entrées.

Microgreens can be grown indoors, even in the tiniest homes and apartments and don’t take up much more space than houseplants. Microgreens are ready to be harvested in about one to two weeks within planting the seeds. This quick turnaround allows for a continuous supply of healthy, nutritious produce, even in the dead of winter.

It’s easy to grow your own microgreens. There are reasonably priced kits available online, but you can make your own D.I.Y. microgreen kit with household items. To begin growing your own bounty of microgreens, gather:

Seeds: chose the microgreens you’d like to grow and purchase the seeds

Containers: gather a couple of long, shallow containers, like gardening flats, repurposed plastic food trays, or aluminum pie or lasagna pans.

Soil: Use looser, lightweight soil, such as potting soil.

Spray bottle (for watering)

Scout a location in your home for your trays. A south window is ideal. I happen to get a lot of afternoon sun through the west windows in my dining room, so I cleared a spot on my dining room table for the microgreen trays. You can also use a grow light.

Place about an inch of potting soil in each tray and smooth it out, without packing it down too much.

Evenly scatter your seeds over the surface of the soil. Because microgreens are harvested so young, you can place seeds closer together than if you were planting outdoors in a garden.

Lightly cover seeds with a thin layer of soil. Spray the surface with a mist of water, using just enough water to moisten the surface. Don’t waterlog the seeds by directly pouring water in them.

Place the trays with the seeds in the sunny window space. You can also use a grow light.

Mist the trays with water a couple of times a day to keep the soil from drying out.

The microgreens will be ready to harvest in about two weeks. Harvest by snipping the microgreens at the base near the soil’s surface. To start another crop, remove the roots and replant seeds in the existing soil, or dump the whole tray of dirt into your outdoor yard garden or compost pile/bin. Fill the tray with more soil and repeat above steps to replant.

Playing with earthy scented dirt and watching your microgreens sprout is a fun way to satisfy the gardening bug on these snowy winter days. The boost of flavor and nutrition from microgreens isn’t bad, either!

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. 





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