Rambo radish microgreens
A guest blog by Parker Garlitz
Traditional outdoor gardening is a wonderful hobby that is fun, healthy and delicious. Nothing provides a connection to nature like growing your own food. Let’s face it … food from your own garden is likely to be the freshest, most alive food you eat.
However, if there is one drawback of traditional gardening, it’s that it is seasonally limited. Most of your fresh garden vegetables are available only during the harvest season. Short of a very expensive greenhouse type setup, what’s the best way to experience the joy of growing and eating truly living foods all year long? The answer might be microgreens!
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are vegetable seeds that are grown in a growing tray indoors and harvested before they mature (usually about 10 days) into full-grown plants. These micro-greens typically have the same flavor as the full-grown vegetable, but often the flavors are stronger and more intense.
Think about it this way: Take a seed like broccoli. You can grow and enjoy the broccoli plant at different stages of growth. The same seeds will yield three different options, depending on when you harvest.
Sprouts — Broccoli seeds grown without a grow medium. Typically grown in a sprouting tray or mason jar with a strainer lid and rinsed a few times daily for 3 or 4 days before they are ready to be enjoyed.
Microgreens — Broccoli seeds grown indoors in a nursery tray in soil (pictured) or on a hydroponic grow mat. Grown for 8 to 12 days and harvested to use in salads, sandwiches or a garnish.
Vegetable — Grown outdoors in the garden until ready to harvest at about 85 days as the broccoli vegetable we are all familiar with.
Microgreens are fun to grow! If your green thumb itches through the cold winter months, growing microgreens can scratch that itch. Unlike sprouts which are very easy to grow, microgreens are a little trickier. There is satisfaction in experimenting with growing techniques, growing media, fertilization, light and temperature makes it fun and challenging. The challenge becomes deeply satisfying when you grow a stunningly beautiful crop of micros.
Microgreens are delicious. They have a powerful flavor intensity that adds something different from your salads, soups, stir-fry and garnishes. For example, if you love basil, the flavor intensity of micro basil may make full-grown basil a flavor disappointment going forward (so beware!). With microgreens, you can add flavor to things that otherwise might be awkward. You don’t often see sliced radishes on a sandwich, but micro-radish works perfectly and provides the identical flavor.
Microgreens are healthy. We all know that most people don’t get enough vegetables in their diet, and most of us don’t get anywhere near enough vegetables picked and eaten promptly at their peak of freshness. Microgreens are rich in what I call “Vitamin L”. L is for Life. A tomato you pick and eat right out of your garden is teeming with Vitamin L. By the time a grocery store tomato is picked, processed, shipped, shelved, bought, stored in your home and finally eaten … well it’s just not the same, is it? Microgreens are alive when you harvest and eat them. Imagine enjoying garden fresh produce, teeming with Vitamin L, all year long.
Microgreens are beautiful. I think this one speaks for itself…
How do you get started growing microgreens? There are countless video tutorials you can find on YouTube, but you could find a good collection here: https://www.trueleafmarket.com/pages/how-to-tutorial-videos#microgreens1. But that might be more time than you are looking to spend on learning how, and truth be told, it’s not really that hard to get started. We have put together variety of microgreens starter kits that have everything you need to start growing your own microgreens on your own kitchen counter with easy, step-by-step instructions. The kits run the full spectrum from stick a toe in the water, to let’s get serious.