May 21, 2015
Plant of the Month: Microgreens
What are microgreens?
Microgreens are tiny, edible plants most often used as garnishes for salads, sandwiches, soups, and general plate aesthetics. They are harvested later than sprouts, and are smaller than “baby greens” and full-grown plants. Of the salad greens, these are the smallest. Once their first leaves develop at about 1 to 3 inches tall, these little plants are ready for harvest.
Another reason for microgreens booming success is that they are packed with considerably higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids – sometimes at least five times greater – than their mature plant counterparts, according to a study by the USDA. When leafy plants such as lettuce, arugula, and spinach crops go to bolt, these little guys are here the perfect alternative.
What plants are considered microgreens?
If a plant will germinate easily and grow quickly, it is a potential candidate for growing microgreens. For instance, red cabbage is one of the most popular due to its high concentrations of vitamin C. Other common varieties include cilantro, garnet amaranth, cauliflower, green daikon radish, basil, beets, sorrel, kale, and the list goes on (and on and on).
Ready to harvest in no time
These young plantlets are often ready to harvest in as little as 10 days after planting. Normal crop time for microgreens ranges from 10-14 days from seed to harvest. Any season of the year, microgreens will grow with a little sunlight and just the right amount of water.
Grow big flavors in small places
Strapped for space but still want some tasty, home-grown greens? Microgreens grow perfectly in small spaces like apartment balconies and windows with good sun exposure. Essentially, these are edible houseplants that take a limited amount of work to get going. Plus, growing them is really simple because you're investing only a month into them before they're harvested for your kitchen. Hard to botch, and not a huge loss even if you do.
Besides their unique look and expedited growing process, the most interesting thing about microgreens is the variety of flavors that these tiny organisms produce. Some of the stronger flavors like garlic, licorice, and wasabi are even referred to as “living condiments”. For this reason, they are best eaten fresh and raw as to not cook out the punch of flavor.
Helpful Tip: If you go away for the weekend, just put a lid over them and they won't dry out.
Have you dabbled in microgreens? Have your own tips for growing microgreens? Share your wisdom below and help others gets growing!