Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sprouting Microgreens

Stuck in a rut or the mud of the early spring and wishing you could be out in your yard preparing your gardens, don't worry, as I assure you spring will be here before you know it.  With the days growing longer, and a hint of brightness starting to appear once again since the time change, it sure is a sign of what's to come! There is still hope if you are at a point where you have the urge to get growing again. Having a garden indoors temporarily until it is warm enough to move your plants outdoors is so easy especially when it comes to growing these two delicious types of fresh greens. If you have never tried eating or growing sprouts or mini greens called micro-greens, now may be your opportunity to introduce yourself to the joy of gardening.  Anyone can do this in their own home and it really doesn't take much to get started. 

Sprouts and micro greens are flavorful baby type greens in the lettuce family and can even be considered a delicacy when added to any cuisine in high end restaurants. They are small but they pack a big punch of flavor when added to salads, soups, stews and even topped on your favorite sandwich.

For those of you who may not know what micro greens or sprouts are, then check out the two pictures below. As the saying goes... pictures speak 1000 words. 



                                                                       Micro greens
As you can see from the pictures above that the seeds as well as the plants are very small but good things come in small packages, right?  Well they sure do in this case and we have lots of seed ready for you to choose from and plant at this time.  Pictured above left is the sprouting mix called Sandwich Booster and pictured above right is our Micro green Mix exclusive to Vesey's.  Both of these types of mixes are just as flavorful as the next one, however they are grown quite differently.

When trying to decide on what type of seed mix to grow, it's easy because they are all so very delicious and you really can't go wrong. As you can see, there are so many mixes available and any one variety that you choose will not disappoint you.  Of course there will always be the favored one, but if we ate the same thing all the time it can get a bit boring.
As mentioned earlier, growing your own sprouts is a great way to get your gardening fix no matter you have limited space as well as wanting a taste of the outdoors during the cold days of winter and early spring. Some of the benefits with sprouting include and not limited to:

  • Sprouts are easy to grow – very little can go wrong.
  • Sprouts are one of the most concentrated and truly natural sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids known.
  • You can grow sprouts indoors in any climate and they are ready to eat in days.
  • Sprouting is inexpensive. Pound for pound sprouts are perhaps the most nutritious food there is per dollar value. 
You don't even need soil to grow sprouts.  It's very simple and all you need is seed and water, and not even a lot of patience, maybe just a little TLC!  Surprisingly you can almost watch them grow right before your own eyes. Sprouting is especially easy if you use a tool that is specifically made for sprouting. It is composed of four clear plastic dishes that stack one on top of the other.  Each dish has tiny holes that surround the outer circumference to allow for appropriate drainage with a tray below to catch excess water. You can choose all the same seed to seed these trays, grow just one dish at a time, or choose a few different types.  The beauty of this Sprouter is that either way you will always have fresh sprouts.                                                                    

As seen to the left is our Victorio 4 Tray Sprouter.  The unique growing tray design uses water surface tension to keep the correct amount of water in the tray for all stages of the growing process.  Along with allowing the water to drain through I also will do a quick rinse of the sprouts to maintain their freshness.
From time to time you may need to check them just to be sure the seeds don't dry out.

 Sprouts Tip
Soak seeds for 2 hours before placing them in your sprouter. Rinse seeds twice each day for best results. I generally do this in the morning as well as the evening. Sprouting in the dark will force the sprouts to elongate, but sprouting them with some exposure to light will allow the sprouts to produce chlorophyll and be more nutritious.
Within a week you will have a taste of these delicious and extremely nutritious greens. You can find many delicious ways to serve sprouts as well as recipes here.

Micro greens are also very easy to grow as well as equally and nutritious as sprouts are.  You really can't say which one is better then the other.  Micro greens are grown a little different then sprouts but are also inexpensive and easy to maintain.

When starting out with growing micro greens all you need is a flat tray that has some holes to provide for proper drainage as well as a tray to line underneath the flat to catch any excess moisture as seen in the picture below.
 Add proper amount of moisture to the seed starting mix and line the tray with about an inch to enable proper rooting takes place.  Pat the soiless mix gently and then all you have to do is spread your seeds on top of the surface of the soiless mix. You can lightly cover the seed to help get it started taking care not to cover it too much. Water will be required each day by using a light misting water can or spray bottle. Within a few days you will see it begin to sprout. Best stage to harvest these greens for flavor is between 1st to second set of true leaves.  You can click on this link to view this stage. The micro greens will take about 10-12 days before harvest which is still very quick to have that fresh taste of the garden. Complete growing information as well as alternatives for growing micro green choices can be found here.


So if the dog days of cool early spring weather have you feeling a little down and low energy, why not consider giving each of these easy to grow greens a try.  Since they are so easy to grow you will be happy to know that you can still enjoy time relaxing in your easy chair before the true business of the season begins.                                  

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