Have you heard of edible microgreens? They are tiny, edible plants that have been grown using the same agricultural methods as ordinary vegetables. Microgreens contain a high level of nutrients and can be eaten on their own, or used to add color and flavor to other foods. By learning how to plant them, you can grow your own supply of delicious, nutritious, and environmentally friendly food.
The edible microgreens that you can grow are called flying microgreens, because they grow well in low light environments. In fact, it has been proven that they grow best in conditions where the light is at least 7 feet out. The key to getting these little plants to grow is timing – getting the best growing season and planting to the right location. It takes know how to know what your growing period is, and how much sunlight and water your garden will receive. In order to get these two basics figured out, there are several things to consider.
The first thing to consider is where to plant your edible microgreens. Some can be successfully planted in the lawn, but most should be planted in the flower and shade garden beds. These are the perfect places to grow the small, flowering radishes. While you do want to ensure that you use microgreens that are disease resistant, it is better to avoid planting any arugula in your garden with the seeds.
You can sprout them from seeds, cut from old shoots, or pull the young leaves off a growing plant. Sprouting is best when the plant is young, since it uses up more water. If you are growing microgreens from seed, you can use some liquid starter soil to germinate the seeds. When the sprouts are ready to sprout, just remove them and place them in a small plastic bag. Put them in your vegetable basket.
You don’t have to eat your edible microgreens straight from the plant. Instead, you can create an interesting snack by drying them. Dried fruit slices, mini muffins, and even ice cream are great ways to enjoy dried fruit flavors. Even if you aren’t going to eat them immediately, drying them lets you experience their flavor and enjoy a delicious snack after they are used.
To sprout your microgreens, remove the small, white, green “wipe” on the underside of the leaf. This is called the rhizome. Cut this piece into two pieces and hold them in your hand. Rotate the leaves from time to allow for air circulation around the leaf, which helps to encourage its germination.
In order to harvest your microgreen seeds, use a spray bottle filled with water or a small garden fork. Water the surface of the soil to help the sprouts develop. When the sprouts begin to flourish, remove them from the soil and cut them into manageable pieces.
Place the sprouts on your garden soil. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt, keeping in mind that some seeds will germinate at a slower rate than others. Cover the soil completely with compost, taking care to spread it generously. Allow the seeds to get the sunlight they need. Within a few weeks, you’ll be ready to harvest your first crop of delicious, colorful, nutritious microgreens.
Edible microgreens that have sprouted true leaves are also great for creating salads, wraps, and other delicious dishes. To prepare these greens, rinse them thoroughly and then place them on top of a bed of lettuce leaves or cotyledon. If you’re not planning on eating them right away, be sure to cover the container in a cool, dry area until they are ready to be harvested.
When the sprouts are mature, remove them carefully from their containers and cut them into uniform pieces. Use a knife to harvest your microgreens by slicing them diagonally instead of horizontally. To assure even harvesting, dig the holes using an earth auger. Place the slices on top of your garden bed.
After the sprouts have flowered, remove them carefully from the soil. Use a paper towel to gently press the leaves to prevent mold formation and then place them in a plastic bag. Once they’re completely dry, you can then use your micro garden to grow more of these sprouts next time. You can easily make a small micro garden for each plant you want to grow and reap all the rewards of healthy, organic, delicious vegetables.