Microgreens at Home: Have you ever heard of microgreens? These are the miniature plants that we mostly find in a healthy salad which add nutrition and extra flavor to the salad. Many people confuse microgreens for sprouts. Sprouts are seeds that have germinated by being soaked whereas microgreens are result of the cotyledon growth stage that develops tiny roots and at least their first true leaves. And moreover microgreens are grown in soil or cocopeat. Next to sprouts, these are the quickest food crops grown by utilizing minimum space.
There are so many varieties of plants like spinach, carrot, lettuce, amaranth, broccoli, basil, sesame, flax, lettuce, barley, lentils, fennel, pea, wheat grass, mung bean, celery, sorrel, mustard, sunflower, cabbage, beets, turnip, radish etc. that can be grown as microgreens.
After attaining 2-3inch tall these microgreens can be harvested with scissors within 12 to 15 days.
Why Growing Microgreens at Home is Advantageous
1. It utilizes minimum space. It can be grown even on window sills.
2. It has short shelf life such that consuming fresh is best for both nutrition and flavor.
3. Easy to grow
4. Loaded with plenty of nutrients. They contain large amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
5. You can harvest them within 15 days.
6. You can grow it without use of chemicals thereby consuming organic food.
7. At the last, growing them is fun
How to Grow Microgreens at Home
We need basic materials like
Soil/potting mixture/coco peat
SEEDS: For growing microgreens, we can select seeds of different crops. But make sure that you select a seed variety that germinate early (as seeds of some plants takes long time to germinate).
SOIL: We have various alternatives to grow microgreens. You can use soil from your garden or you can use coco peat or both soil and cocopeat mixed in equal proportion. Make sure that soil should not contain any chemicals to microgreens organic.
TRAYS: We will require trays for microgreens to grow. we should select trays with drainage holes.
WATER: The soil should be moist enough for microgreens to grow healthy. We have to select a hand sprayer such that over pouring of water will not happen.
LIGHT: Microgreens need good light and ventilation. Place your plant near the balcony so it can get good sunlight and ventilation.
Procedure (Growing Microgreens at Home)
1. Take a tray with drainage holes and fill it with potting mixture (cocopeat is most commonly used). Level it or flatten it with your hand. Don’t over compress the soil.
2. If the seeds are hard seeds, you can soak them overnight.
3. Spread the seeds on the tray evenly. No particular spacing is needed. Don’t sow then deep into the potting mixture just gently press them. If small seeds you can spread thin layer of mixture on the top such that they are covered.
4. Sprinkle water over the mix lightly. Make sure that the potting mixture should always be moist enough because the seeds should never dry out. Cover the tray with damp towel for 2 to 3 days till seeds germinate. The tray should be kept at room temperature
5. After 3 days remove the towel and place the tray in place where it receives good amount of sunlight and proper ventilation. Meanwhile you will find shoots and small leaves.
6. Wait for 10 to 15 days, when the plants grow 2 to 3 inches tall they are ready to harvest.
7. Harvesting of microgreens is pretty simple. Just cut them at the bottom of the stems just above the soil line using scissors. Only stems, leaves, cotyledons are edible but not the roots.
After harvesting the microgreens, wash them before use. If you want to store them for the future, dry them and refrigerate in plastic bags.
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Swathi Tanuja Adari is passionate about writing science articles and loves reading books.