I often talk about gardening in my weekly blog, but I realize that some people don’t really have the space, not even a balcony. Microgreens only need a sunny windowsill to grow! In this small space, they’ll produce enough greens to augment your salads and make a great garnish for many dishes. They are very nutritious- and it’s great fun to grow them too!
Microgreens are edible, immature greens that come from a great variety of plants. You can harvest them within a month. It’s easiest to start with cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Salad greens are easy too. Seed companies are creating great mixes that compliment each other with similar growing times and flavors that go well together; not to mention great colors.
You can recycle takeout and produce containers to grow your greens. If the container has no holes for drainage, poke some. Use a commercial seed starting mixture, not regular potting soil. This mix comes either in a dry cake or mix and needs to be reconstituted. Wet thoroughly and squeeze out like a sponge. Place two inches of the mix into the container and smooth it with your hand; do not compress the soil. Scatter the seeds evenly over the mix and cover with a thin layer of the mix. Cover with a clear plastic cover and mist the soil once or twice daily to keep it moist but not wet. Seeds should sprout in 3-5 days; remove cover when sprouts appear. Keep soil moist as before. The sprouts need 4 hours of direct sunlight. If your greens have long stems but few leaves, they need more light.
Rotate the greens as they grow- they will tend to lean towards the light. Forget to water and sprouts are lying flat? No problem! Give them some water and they’ll perk right up. You can harvest when the sprouts get their first set of “true” leaves. These are usually the second set, the first being very tiny. Cut the greens off at the soil, wash, and enjoy. You will need to plant again for more greens as these are a one-shot deal- but try all sorts of varieties and have fun!
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO