Friday, March 24, 2017

Growing Microgreens



     Microgreens ...tiny, delicate salad greens that are full of flavour, easy to grow and economical way to enjoy your own vitamin packed freshness year round!
You would find these greens served with gourmet meals at high end restaurants as fancy toppings or garnishes. Just think...if you become a pro at growing these you could possibly supply these restaurants as a part time job!
    As mentioned, growing these greens is easy and doesn't require much equipment to get started either. The first successful tip in growing these seeds is to purchase them from Veseys!


For planting and growing Microgreens sow seeds in a shallow tray as shown below:
You will notice a cover on the tray above.  You can put a clear cover over the top of the tray until seeds germinate, however its not necessary. By using these covers, they will naturally enable a build up of condensation which is beneficial in creating an ideal effect and temperature similar to what it would be like growing in a greenhouse.  The positive side of this condensation is that watering may not even be necessary at least until the seeds start to germinate. That will eliminate the worry on whether they are watered too much or too little starting off. Be sure to remove this cover once the seeds have germinated to allow for air circulation. Before applying potting mix, be sure that there are small holes at the bottom of the tray to provide proper drainage if the tray doesn't already have them. You can simply make small holes if needed.

Add potting mix to the tray at least an inch to inch and half. It is recommended to wet the soil before adding to the tray.  This will ensure that there is an even amount of moisture throughout the trayThese seeds are so tiny and if they were planted in dry potting mix with any amount of water added at this stage, seeds could possibly get buried deep under the soil resulting in little to no germination.  




Sow seeds on top of moistened potting mix and lightly cover. Apply about 8 to 9 grams of seed per 11"x 21" tray. You can reduce this amount as well as the size of the tray in half if you can't consume that much all at once. Keep the soil moist but not too wet.  Seedlings should be grown in full light to keep them from becoming too leggy or stretched. Since these seedlings are harvested at a young age, applying fertilizer is not necessary.

Once seedlings have 1-2 true leaves they are ready for harvest.  This can range from 10-20 days depending on the growing conditions and the type of microgreen seed you choose. To harvest cut the seedlings off just above ground level with a sharp knife or scissors.  The plants will not regrow, so discard the left over soil and start a new batch. This will also prevent any risk of "dampening off" issues. Microgreens very rarely have any pest or disease issues. The only concern would be "dampening off" as I have mentioned above. Dampening off simply means that the stems of the tiny microgreens develop a fungus that can cause them to collapse very quickly. This is prevented by providing proper air circulation as well as overheard and over watering.

There are many types of micro green varieties that you can choose from: Bulls Blood Beet, Red Cabbage, Tatsoi, Mizuna, Blue Curled Kale, Purple Vienna Kohlrabi, Red Russian Kale, Radish, Nasturtium, Scarlet Frills Mustard, Deep Purple Mustard and our famous Veseys Micro Mix

You can check out our website for individual descriptions of each one of these varieties. We also have a growing microgreens You Tube video for those of you who are more "visual growers."

As mentioned, these types of greens can be harvested or continue to grow as needed.  The recommended harvest stage is when seedlings have produced at least one to two sets of true leaves as pictured below. This is the point at which they will be richest in nutrients as well as have the best flavour. Once harvested, left over micro greens store best if lightly sprinkled with cool water, and being sure they don't get too wet. Avoid wrapping them in plastic, instead wrap them lightly in paper towel and store in the fridge. 


 
So as you can see growing these fresh and tasty micro greens is so easy and inexpensive. Be creative, try them all or make your own mixes with your favourites!
 


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