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Microgreens Grow Your Own!

Have fresh, healthy, nutritious greens anytime of the year

If you've never grown microgreens such as culinary herbs, edible flowers, baby lettuce or specialty greens, you really should, because they are a great way to garden year-round, and they don't need a lot of light to thrive.

By growing your own microgreens, you can have fresh, tender, healthy greens to add to your salads, sandwiches, and appetizers at any time of the year.

What Are Microgreens?

In the old days (like back in the 50s-60s-70s) what we called growing alfalfa sprouts has now developed into "microgreens" because the entire concept has really progressed to the next level.

The great thing is that even though they are small, microgreens are big on flavor and can be grown just about anywhere - even on a windowsill - because they are basically houseplants you can eat.

What makes microgreens so easy to grow is the fact that they don't need a lot of light, since they’re only going to be grown until the emergence of the first leaf (the cotyledon) stage, therefore a windowsill or sunny kitchen counter is a ideal location.

So if you want some fresh and tasty greens throughout the year, follow the steps below, and in as short as a few weeks, you'll be grazing contentedly!


Popular Microgreens To Grow

Growing greens is longer restricted to alfalfa sprouts. You can grow culinary herbs, edible flowers, baby lettuce or specialty greens. Here are the most popular:

Peas
Kale
Cabbage
Arugula
Radishes
Beets
Dill
Cilantro
Basil
Lettuce
Chard
Spinach
Clover
Cress
Mustard

What's really great is that each microgreen has an individual flavor, so you can grow your own microgreen "blend" if you want.

Note: If you want to grow a blend of microgreens, just keep in mind that it's important to plant those that have similar germination rates together so you can harvest your greens all at once.


Mixed Microgreens




Mixed Microgreens



Here's How To Grow Your Own Microgreens

Supplies

1. Shallow trays with clear domed lids (available at garden supply stores)

2. Potting soil

3. Seeds - just regular packaged flower, herb, or vegetable seeds. You don't need anything special.

4. Paper towels

Growing and Harvesting

1. Create a seed bed by filling trays with soil. Be sure the soil is spread uniformly and that the surface is flat

2. Sow seeds by taking handfuls of seed and sprinkling them liberally across the soil surface

3. Press gently on sown seeds to be sure they have contact with the growing medium

4. Place a paper towel over the seed bed - 1 layer thick

5. Water using a kitchen sprayer, or a spray bottle, and thoroughly soak the towels until you are sure the soil beneath is wet

6. Cover trays with lids and place in a location that is not exposed to direct sunlight, but rather an area that gets very little light at all





Note: The lid on the tray will help keep moisture in and stimulate germination, but make sure that the paper towel stays moist during the process. If it dries out, wet it again.

Note: On the other hand, the lid can sometimes create a 'green house effect' so monitor your trays carefully. If the seeds seem to be getting too hot inside, move the lid slightly to allow for ventilation and some air circulation.

7. Once the seeds fully germinate, which can vary based on seed type used, you'll notice the towel starting to lift off the soil. When this happens, remove the lid and paper towels from the tray and place the tray in a location that gets bright, but indirect sunlight

8. Continue to water gently as needed. Remember that over-watering can be just as damaging as under-watering, so allow the plants to dry slightly between waterings

9. Harvest microgreens any time after the emergence of the first leaves (usually about two inches (5 cm) in height) by cutting the stems with sharp kitchen scissors

10. Wash the greens by placing them in a container such as a small, plastic dish pan, and then dry them on a towel

11. Use your microgreens immediately, or store them in a resealable bag in the refrigerator


Trays of Microgreens




Side View of Microgreens Ready For Harvest




Harvested Microgreens




Harvested Microgreens



Conclusion

That's it! Pretty simple, and better yet, inexpensive. Why go to fancy restaurants that charge a fortune for an organic salad or buy pricey packaged greens, when you can grow them yourself now.

And if you're a big salad eater, this is a wonderful way to add new zest and zip to your lunch or dinner salads all year long, so give it a try!


Microgreen Salad with
Fruit and Cheese

Hilary Rinaldi is a member of the National Garden Writers Association, a nationally published writer, and a certified organic grower. She regularly speaks and writes about all gardening related topics, with an emphasis on making gardening a successful and enjoyable process for anyone who wants to learn. Weekend Gardener Monthly Web Magazine concentrates of giving detailed gardening tips and gardening advice to all levels of gardeners.

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