Nutrition in Your Windowsill
I came across a cool gardening idea last year and I think it’s the perfect answer for my need to grow things while I’m not able to get out in the garden. I’m going to grow Microgreens and bring some summer goodness into my kitchen. Microgreens are very easy to grow and are a quick and flavorful way to add greens to my family’s diet.
Grow Microgreens from any edible greens, lettuces or herb seeds
Microgreens are just seedlings of edible greens, lettuces, and herbs that are harvested when they are quite young – generally when they are 1 to 1 ½ inches tall. They need soil and sunlight to grow and are smaller and younger than baby greens – only used for one cutting – when they are only a few weeks old.
I had fairly good success with my crops last year and we tried several different varieties of lettuces. Now I’ve found a fantastic book to take my Microgreen growing to the next level.
Microgreens: A Guide To Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens by Eric Franks and Jasmine Richardson
I would purchase this book just for its pictures! The rows of seedling trays, happily growing in the sun, are inspiring. There are instructions for the commercial grower and home grower alike. After reading this book I have gained a better understanding of what I need to do to be a master microgreen grower.
” Suddenly we are given the opportunity to create masterpieces in our own kitchens” Eric Franks
You will find an extensive section on the nutritional value of growing this way, along with an introduction to the materials needed and a ten step growing guide.
But, the part that really gives this book value, in my opinion, is the section on growing individual crops. There are detailed growing and harvesting tips for 16 different plants – Amaranth to Tokyo Bekana – that are suitable for use as Microgreens.
Each description gives:
- recommended varieties
- the kind of taste you can expect from the crop
- average days to germination
- average days to harvest
- difficulty rating – from easy to challenging
I now have a great reference manual that will teach me what I need to know to be successful growing Microgreens. Who knows, maybe it will become a new way to make money on the homestead!
Simple Supplies are all you need to grow Microgreens
- Potting soil mix – I chose to use an organic potting mix, purchased at the local hardware store. You can also get seedling mix. Whichever you purchase, it just needs to be suitable for growing in pots. Most outdoor garden soil is too heavy for seed sprouting.
- Seed – mix or single, organic or regular, it doesn’t matter. Start with something that you know your family will like and grow it. Botanical Interests has a great seed sampler to start with.
- A container – You can find seed starting containers everywhere. Use a plastic clam-shell from the grocery or purchase seed flats with dome lids. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but should be at least 3 inches deep.
Put two inches of moistened potting mix into your container and even it out, tamping a bit if necessary. Scatter the seeds so that they are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart, and cover with 1/8 inch of soil.
Put your grow container in a sunny southern windowsill (for the winter) and make sure the soil doesn’t dry out. You can cover it with plastic wrap, a wet paper towel or a plastic grow dome until the seeds sprout. Whichever you choose, just keep in the moisture.
Harvesting Your Crop
Microgreens will be ready about 10 days after seeds are sown. Clip clusters just above the soil line, once the first set of true leaves forms. True leaves follow the initial, simple-looking seed leaves and look more like the mature plant. You can harvest part of the seedlings and keep growing the rest for about 7 days more, but you cannot grow a second crop from the same stems. Replant every 3-5 days to have a continuous crop.
Have you had success growing Microgreens?