Microgreens—the tiny seedlings of herbs and vegetables—are today’s hottest gourmet greens, flavour accent and garnish, offering a multitude of colours, textures, and distinct flavours, from spicy, mild and subtle to hot or nutty.
Are you ready to grow some? I’ll give you an overview of the growing process and ideas for how to enjoy microgreens in your meals.
If you want to grow salad greens indoors, see How to Grow Salads Indoors.
All About Microgreens
Microgreens: How to Grow Nature’s Own Superfood by Fionna Hill provides detailed information—from planting and harvesting—for 35 popular varieties, along with recipes and ideas on how to use them. There are also chapters on troubleshooting, the nutritional value of microgreens, and how to encourage children to grow and enjoy them.
Images courtesy of Firefly Books.
Safe, Frugal, Fresh, Delicious
Every time I hear a news story annoucing a product recall of sprouts, microgreens, and salad greens (the ones you buy at the supermarket), I wish an ad would pop up encouraging everyone to grow their own at home. The problem is not with the actual crops (healthy, fresh, delicious), it’s with the mass-commericalized growing methods. You can avoid any trouble by simply growing your own at home.
What’s the difference between sprouts and microgreens?
- Sprouts are basically germinated seeds. You eat the seed, root, stem, and underdeveloped leaves, usually grown in dark, moist conditions (water).
- Microgreens are planted and grown in soil (or growing medium). They are the edible seedlings of herbs and vegetables. They are larger than sprouts and smaller than baby salad greens.
Personally, I avoid sprouts because I’m not good at staying on top of their care. I prefer to grow microgreens and baby salad greens (you can read more about them here).
If you want a really simple gardening project to do with kids, microgreens are great because they are both very fast-growing and edible. Plus, the delicate taste and actual size of the greens seems to entice the littles.
What types of seeds can I grow as microgreens?
Here’s some options recommended in Microgreens:
|Purslane||Radish||Rocket / Arugula||Shungiku|
How long do microgreens take to grow?
Most varieties are ready in a week or so. Some take a few weeks.
Where can I grow microgreens?
Anywhere you have room for a container! Outdoors on a balcony, patio, or terrace, or indoors on a windowsill or under grow lights.
Tips for growing microgreens
- Read your seed packets and provide recommended sowing and growing conditions.
- Use shallow, lightweight containers with drainage.
- Sow one type of seed in each container.
- Some seeds benefit from presoaking (peas, corn, wheatgrass).
- Use organic growing medium intended for food crops. Keep soil (growing medium) moist (not dry or dripping wet).
- Microgreens can grow close together but do allow room for each seed to root.
- Keep warm and covered until sprouted/germinated.
- Once germinated, provide light, air circulation, and maintain moisture.
- Avoid harsh light or heat or they will dry out, wither and die.
How can I eat microgreens?
Although you could cook them, microgreens are best enjoyed raw.
Recipe ideas include:
- Rice paper rolls
- Dressings and dips
That’s about as easy as it gets!