While many friends are starting to grow seedlings outside, planting seeds in their freshly dug garden beds, others are at least a few more weeks from putting anything outdoors- much less harvesting some fresh and delicious produce! However, there are ways to get an extra early start to the gardening season, regardless 0f your climate, growing season, and garden set up. Whether you have a yard filled with raised beds, a container garden on a balcony, or a few herbs growing on a windowsill, microgreens are a fun and simple addition to the kitchen, and a great way to add some fresh food almost overnight!
Microgreens are very young plants that are packed full of nutrition and super easy to grow. They are harvested when just 1 1/2 – 2 weeks old, so they don’t need a lot of extended care and are fairly forgiving. As long as they are kept moist, and have a little light, they will be happy and you will have fresh greens on your plate in no time.
What You Need to Grow Microgreens:
– A container: We used a pot, but plastic takeout boxes or salad containers work well with a few holes punched in the bottom for drainage. The lid can serve as the catch tray.
– Soil: Potting soil or seed starting soil works great.
– Seeds: There are special mixes made for microgreens. A mesculen salad mix works. We used organic sprout seeds purchased at our local natural market.
– Spray bottle: This is optional but works great for watering the tiny seeds so they do not get drenched.
How to Grow Microgreens:
1. Place an even layer of soil into your container, pressing slightly for compaction. (Remember to punch drainage holes beforehand if using a plastic container.)
2. Scatter a layer of seeds over the top of the soil. Don’t worry too much about overcrowding or spacing. They will be harvested before space issues become a problem.
3. Moisten the seeds with water from the spray bottle, then spread a thin layer of soil over the top of the seeds. A strainer works great for catching big chunks and making a nice even layer over top, but it does make a bit of a mess! Once covered water again to moisten thoroughly.
4. Set the pot where it will receive light, but not too much direct sunlight. Keep the soil about as moist as a damp sponge, and watch for those first little sprouts to pop. It will only take a few days!
Within a week or so you will have a pot filled with wonderful, nutritious greens to add to salads, spread over the top of an omelet, or to just pick and eat right from the pot (the favorite way for kiddos in these parts to gobble them up!) They will also brighten up your kitchen and let you get a jump start on harvesting fresh food this spring season!
We have tried many different seeds and mixes, some mild and others quite spicy. Keep experimenting with single seed types or mixes; maybe even try mixing your own. Just keep in mind the timing for each seed type you use, as you will want them all to sprout about the same time. The possibilities are just about endless.
A super simple and very fun way to get gardening now!