Microgreens are tiny, nutrient-rich greens grown from the seeds of vegetables, herbs, and other plants. They are typically harvested when just a few inches tall and used as a garnish or added to salads for flavour and nutrition. In this essay, we explore the plants that can be grown as microgreens and how to grow them!
Growing your own microgreens at home is a fun and rewarding hobby that can provide you with a constant supply of fresh, nutrient-rich greens. Plus, it's a great way to save money on produce and reduce your environmental impact by growing your own food. Many different types of plants can be grown as microgreens, including various vegetables, herbs, and other plants. Here are just a few examples of plants that can be grown as microgreens:
Lettuce: Lettuce is a popular choice for growing as microgreens, and there are many different types of lettuce that can be used, including butterhead lettuce, romaine lettuce, and red leaf lettuce. Lettuce microgreens have a delicate, slightly sweet flavor and can be used to add flavor and nutrition to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.
Kale: Kale is a nutrient-rich green that is often grown as microgreens. It has a slightly bitter flavor and is high in antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin K and vitamin C. Kale microgreens can be used in salads, smoothies, and other dishes.
Spinach: Spinach is another nutrient-rich green that is often grown as microgreens. It has a slightly sweet, slightly earthy flavor and is high in nutrients such as iron and calcium. Spinach microgreens can be used in salads, smoothies, and other dishes.
Arugula: Arugula is a spicy, slightly bitter green that is often grown as microgreens. It has a strong flavor and is high in nutrients such as vitamin K and vitamin C. Arugula microgreens can be used in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.
Radishes: Radishes are a root vegetable that can also be grown as microgreens. They have a spicy, pungent flavor and are high in nutrients such as vitamin C and folate. Radish microgreens can be used in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.
Herbs: Many herbs can be grown as microgreens, including basil, cilantro, dill, and parsley. Herb microgreens have a strong, flavorful taste and can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes.
In addition to these plants, many other types of plants can be grown as microgreens, including beets, broccoli, cabbage, and more. The possibilities are endless, so you can get creative and try growing various microgreens to see which ones you like best.
Steps to ensure while growing your own microgreens
First and foremost, choosing the right location for your microgreens garden is important. They need plenty of sunlight, so a windowsill or balcony with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily is ideal. If you're growing your microgreens outdoors, choose a spot that gets plenty of sun and has well-draining soil.
Next, make sure you're using the right soil for your microgreens. Using a soil mix specifically formulated for microgreens or a high-quality seed starting mix is best. Avoid using regular potting soil, as it may contain too many nutrients and cause your microgreens to grow too quickly, resulting in thin, weak plants.
Watering is also crucial for the health of your microgreens. Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy, which can cause the seeds to rot. You can use a spray bottle or watering can to gently mist the soil or a watering tray to ensure the soil stays evenly moist.
Lastly, be sure to thin out your microgreens as they grow. This means removing any extra seedlings so the remaining plants have enough space to grow. You can snip off the extra seedlings with scissors or gently pull them out of the soil.
The Growing Process
The microgreen growing process is relatively simple and can be done by anyone, even if you don't have a lot of space or experience. Here's a step-by-step guide to the microgreen growing process:
Choose your seeds: The first step in the microgreen growing process is to choose the seeds you want to use. Different seeds can be used to grow microgreens, including lettuce, kale, spinach, arugula, radishes, and more. Choose seeds you enjoy the flavour of, or try various seeds to see which ones you like best.
Prepare your growing medium: Once you have chosen your seeds, you must prepare a growing medium for them. You can use various materials as a growing medium, including soil, coconut coir, or even recycled paper. Whichever medium you choose, make sure it is moistened and well-draining.
Sow the seeds: Once you have prepared your growing medium, it's time to sow them. Spread the seeds evenly over the medium's surface, leaving enough space for the seedlings to grow. You can sow the seeds by hand or use a dispenser to make the process easier.
Cover the seeds: Once the seeds are sowed, cover them with a thin layer of the growing medium or a thin layer of plastic wrap to help keep the seeds moist.
Place the seeds in a warm, sunny location: Microgreens need plenty of sunlight to grow, so place them in a warm, sunny location where they will receive plenty of light. You can also use grow lights if you don't have access to natural sunlight.
Water the seeds regularly: Keep the growing medium moist by watering them regularly, ensuring not to overwater them. Water the seeds from the bottom by filling the tray or container with water, or use a spray bottle to mist the seeds with water.
Harvest the microgreens: Once they have grown to your desired size, typically around 7-14 days, they are ready to be harvested. Use scissors to cut the microgreens as close to the soil as possible, then rinse them well to remove dirt.
Enjoy your microgreens: Once harvested, they are ready to be eaten! Use them as a garnish or add them to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes for flavour and nutrition.
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Environmental Benefits of Growing Microgreens
Growing your own microgreens has numerous benefits, not the least of which is its positive environmental impact.
One of the main benefits of growing microgreens is that it reduces the distance your food has to travel to get to your plate. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average meal in the United States travels over 1,500 miles from farm to fork. By growing your own microgreens, you can reduce this distance to just a few feet, significantly reducing the carbon emissions associated with food transportation.
Growing microgreens at home also gives you more control over the materials used in the growing process. For example, you can choose to use organic seeds and soil, which can help reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. These substances can harm the environment, so reducing their use is a positive step.
In addition, growing your own microgreens can also help reduce food waste. When you grow your own microgreens, you can harvest only what you need, which means there is less chance of food going to waste. This is important because food waste is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, as decomposing food in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Understanding and growing microgreens is a fun hobby that can provide you with a constant supply of fresh, nutrient-rich greens. Try it and see how easy it is to add these healthy little plants to your meals!
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