With a myriad of microgreen varieties, how to choose the best microgreens for your kitchen can be overwhelming. In fact, one common mistake made by amateur gardeners and green eaters alike is selecting the wrong variety of microgreen for their culinary needs. The good news is that there are several simple criteria that will help ensure you make the right choice. Whether growing indoors or out, you will want to choose fresh, crisp, flavorful vegetables. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the best microgreens:
Microgreens come in a wide array of colors and textures, including; reds, oranges, greens, whites, browns and others. Choose the color and texture of your preferred vegetables based on what you prefer as a complement to your current dining menu. The most popular varieties growing in both indoor and outdoor gardens are: cabbage, kale, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus. Each microgreen species has different properties and growth habits that should be considered prior to planting.
Choose micro greens that are firm and strong but not heavy. Avoid growing microgreens that have stringy leaves or brittle shoots because they are more likely to wilt if transported outdoors during hot weather. When choosing which variety to grow, consider your garden’s size, the variety of vegetables you will be growing, and your budget. For example, lettuce requires approximately three times the water of other vegetables and can often require fertilization to keep growing.
It is recommended to check for insects at the beginning of the growing season. Some plants are naturally pest-resistant, but microgreens are not. Therefore, be sure to inspect the plants you plan on planting to determine any potential insect threats. Be sure not to over-water the plant. If the soil contains a lot of moisture, microgreens won’t thrive. Watering often will also help the micro green plants get the nutrients they need from the soil.
Choose one variety of microgreen for the entire garden or chose several types of microgreens for special uses. Cabbage and kale are best combined with collard greens and other vegetables to produce a stronger green color. Keep in mind that although kale is rarely used in cooking, it has a strong flavored flavor and is a great addition to soups, stews, and salads. Cabbage is excellent as a side vegetable with meats or as a garnish in sandwiches. Each vegetable should be given ample time to grow to full bloom before being harvested.
For vegetables growing in pots, make sure to place them into a sunny and well-drained container. Be sure to keep an eye on your plants during their growing season to be sure they receive enough light and water. You can purchase plastic bins for just such a purpose, or create one yourself using old soda bottles, buckets, or even old plastic milk jugs. Your microgreens will require approximately six hours of direct sunlight but do not block the windows too much during this time.
Microgreen vegetables like kale and cabbage do best when harvested in the spring. Harvesting them in the fall will stunt their growth. To harvest your microgreens, use a sharp knife to cut a slit in the leaf and pull the leaves away from the root system below. When you find the blade near the middle of the leaf, pull it out. The knife will be dull as it has made its way down the stem of the leaf, so it will need to be replaced if removed too far.
Your best choice for growing microgreens is a wire netting garden layout. These designs provide good support for the root system and can be easily installed with a simple hook or bolt. If you plant vegetables such as kale and cabbage in full sun, you will find that microgreens will produce their finest and most beautiful fruit in the springtime. However, if you choose to grow vegetables such as lettuce in partial shade, you can enjoy healthy vegetables all summer long, with more variety in the summer.