5 WAYS TO GROW MICROGREENS AT HOME
To feel like a gardener, you don’t have to be the owner of a plot of land. Growing microgreens at home is becoming increasingly popular. Some people love the look of pots with dense crops, others talk about the incredible health benefits of young plants. One way or another, you can try to grow tender sprouts at any time of the year at virtually no cost. How? We have selected the simplest and most successful methods for you.
1. In containers with earth
This is the easiest way. Prepare a wide, flat container. There is no need to make drainage holes.
Soak the seeds:
- watercress - for 15-20 minutes;
- chard, sunflower, beets - for 8-12 hours;
- peas, masha - for 12-18 hours.
- Pour 3-4 cm of soil and moisten it. Scatter the seeds thickly, moisten them generously with a spray bottle, sprinkle a little soil and cover the container with the seeds with a bag or cling film. Place on a bright windowsill. After sprouts appear, remove the cover. Spray the seedlings two to three times a day. In the phase of one or two true leaves, the crop can be harvested. Ready microgreens can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
2. Microgreens on paper
Place several layers of soft toilet paper in the bottom of a shallow plastic tray. Spray it generously with warm water. Spread the prepared seeds, cover with glass or a bag and place in a warm place in the light. After germination, remove the cover. Further care is the same as when sowing in the ground. By the way, you can grow microgreens in toilet paper in rolls. This allows you to significantly save space. Place toilet paper of a suitable width folded in 2-3 layers on a damp strip of film. Moisten with water from a syringe, spread the seeds. Roll tightly. Secure with a thin rubber band and place in a plastic glass. By the way, it’s easier to maintain moisture in such rolls: just add a little water to the glass.
3. On cotton wool or gauze
The basis for growing microgreens can be cotton wool or gauze. Both materials absorb and retain water well. Place the cotton wool in a suitable plate or tray, moisten thoroughly with water from a spray bottle and place the soaked seeds on top. Cover with cling film until shoots emerge.
4. In a glass jar
You can also grow microgreens in a jar. Pour the seeds into a clean container and cover them with water for a day to swell. Tighten the neck with gauze and secure with an elastic band. After the seeds swell, drain the water. Spray germinating seeds and sprouts with clean water two to three times a day. Make sure the jar is always in a horizontal position.
5. In ready-made blocks
There are special blocks, jars and containers for growing microgreens on sale. They have convenient, durable mesh lids, and sometimes they come with a whole set with cells of different sizes for different crops. Most often, these containers are equipped with coconut fiber, on which the seeds need to be laid for germination. This is perhaps the most convenient way of growing, but also the most expensive.
What seeds are suitable for growing?
Many people wonder: what seeds can be used? After all, you need a lot of them for microgreens, and you can spend a lot of money stocking up at a garden store. In fact, everything is much simpler. You can use whole peas, oats, and wheat for germination, which are sold in the cereal section of the grocery store. At the market where spices are sold, you can buy fenugreek, coriander, and dill seeds. I do not recommend buying green manure seeds from garden stores for growing microgreens: they can be treated against pests.
What can go wrong with growing microgreens?
Most often, microgreens do not have time to get sick during their short life. However, sometimes mold may appear. To prevent this, disinfect the seeds by first soaking them in a pink solution of potassium permanganate or soda water (1 g per 200 ml) for 15 minutes. Keep growing containers clean. Use soil and other substrate only once. If mold does appear, you cannot eat such sprouts.
MICROGREENS: SMALL, YET GOOD – REVIEWS OF AN AGRONOMER
You no longer have to convince anyone that microgreens - tiny leaves that emerged from a seed a few days ago - are simply a storehouse of useful substances. You can grow it at any time of the year, but it is most important in winter, when we are so lacking in living vitamins.
WHAT IS SUITABLE FOR MINI FORMAT
The key difference between microgreens and adult greens and grown vegetables is higher concentrations of vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols and other antioxidants, amino acids, and minerals. In addition, they are absorbed much better than when eating seeds or adult plants.
The choice of crops for producing microgreens at home is not limited by anything other than your goals and tastes. You can literally germinate any edible plant. Most often, all types of salads are grown - from lettuce to arugula and watercress; spicy herbs, especially basil, coriander, mustard, fennel, chia (Spanish sage); sunflower; corn; peas, lentils, chickpeas, alfalfa, clover; radish, radish, turnip, daikon; beets and chard; all types of cereals - from oats to wheat; buckwheat; cabbage, including broccoli, red cabbage, Chinese cabbage and collard cabbage; all onion.
Nightshades such as peppers, eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes are not planted as microgreens. The fact is that their young shoots contain alkaloids - natural poisons. It is also worth abandoning the idea of \u200b\u200bgrowing beans as microgreens: their stems and leaves contain a toxic substance - phasin.
Microgreens are consumed freshly cut.. The more time passes after cutting the sprouts, the worse their taste. Seedlings should not be subjected to heat treatment, because then they will lose their benefits. If you didn’t have time to eat the sprouts on time, freeze them in ice cube trays.
SEEDS: IS IT WORTH OVERPAYING
Almost all seed manufacturers immediately responded to the growing demand for green superfoods and began to produce special series for growing microgreens in both small and large packages. At the same time, some have inflated their prices several times higher than even the cost of varietal seeds of the same crops intended for sowing on ridges. This is explained by the fact that they collect seeds from some specially grown, environmentally friendly plants.
At their core, microgreens are the same vegetable plants which we usually grow in our garden plots. They are simply eaten much earlier, without being allowed to grow. Therefore, you can use any seeds for sowing to produce microgreens, including those obtained from your own plot, and of which there are so many that there is nowhere to put them.
For example, I leave for these purposes several plants from early sowings of lettuce, radishes or arugula that have gone into decline. You can also collect seeds from onion or beet stalks. Nothing bad will happen if you sow seeds with an expiring expiration date or expired, you just need to distribute them in the container a little thicker.
You just need to keep in mind that seeds treated with chemicals are not suitable for growing microgreens. As a rule, about that. Whether the seeds have undergone this procedure is indicated on the bag, and the treated ones are usually painted in bright colors or enclosed in dragees. If the seeds have their usual appearance, but there are doubts, before sowing them, you can rinse them several times in warm water or a baking soda solution.
You can also buy seeds for growing greens in the cereals and spices department, such as, for example, mustard, coriander, soybeans, mung beans, buckwheat, if it is green and unroasted.
You can germinate either a single plant species or a mix of different species. When mixing, it is better to combine seeds with similar germination periods. By the way, conscientious seed manufacturers supply a variety of mixes for sale and, gratifyingly, at a very affordable price.
You can also grow microgreens from weed seeds, many of which have medicinal properties. These include shepherd's purse, quinoa amaranth, purslane and others, which are not whimsical and at the same time more valuable than their cultivated relatives.
TASTE FEATURES OF MICROGREENS
The taste of microgreens depends on the type of seed they are grown from. Sprouts have a weaker taste than an adult plant, but it is still recognizable. Thus, a mixture of salads and flax seeds produces delicate greens without a particularly pronounced taste; it has universal use. Peas, alfalfa, sunflowers, beets, and chard produce relatively large sprouts, juicy, with a delicate taste (sunflowers have a slight bitterness), perfect for salads, vitamin cocktails, vegetable and cereal dishes. Red and green basil have a spicy, slightly sweet taste. Most often, greens are used in salads, but you can add them to sweet dishes.
Mustard, watercress, chives, radishes, cabbage, and arugula have a spicy, expressive taste and are perfect not only for salads, but also for fish and meat dishes. These microgreens are popular for smoothies and vitamin cocktails. This group of plants is also the easiest to grow.
Last season, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of microgreens obtained from vegetable perilla seeds and regular marigolds (calendula). Perilla leaves are similar to nettle leaves, only they are purple in color. They have a rare and elusive taste called umami (the Japanese called it steak grass). Essentially, umami is the amino acid monosodium glutamate, which enhances flavor. Yes, that same “terrible” glutamate.
It turns out that it is naturally found in tomatoes, some algae, and shiitake mushrooms. walnuts, meat, fish and many other products, mainly protein. Umami itself does not have a distinct flavor, but brings out the flavor of other foods when combined with aroma and the right salt concentration.
Trays with calendula crops should be kept not on the windowsill, but in a dark closet. When its sprouts reach 10 cm, they will remain tender, while acquiring a sweet taste and will be good in desserts and salads.
The only way to determine which microgreens you and your family like is to try different combinations.
IT'S EASY TO GROW MICROGREENS
Get microgreens at home is not at all difficult. Almost anything that can retain moisture is suitable as a growing substrate: cotton pads, paper towels, toilet paper. You can use peat seedling soil, half mixed with vermiculite. Compared to growing in clean water, the harvest is more significant, and when grown in nutrient solutions, it is environmentally friendly. I most often use peat soil mixed with vermiculite. I pour it into a tray, place damp paper towels on top, distribute the seeds evenly on them and cover the crops with film.
After 7-14 days I cut the harvest with scissors; it is clean, without soil. It is better to do this in the morning, then the leaves will be juicy.
At the beginning and middle of winter, it is best to sow quick vegetables: watercress, radishes, daikon, lettuce, rukola. coriander, mustard greens. And at the end of February - March - everything your heart desires: buckwheat, mitsuna, soybeans, lentils, peas, sunflowers, corn... With such sowing dates, you can easily do without additional lighting.
© Author: Natalia Solonovich, scientist agronomist Photo by the author
MICROGREENS: WHAT AND HOW TO GROW?
Suitable for obtaining microgreens:
- – legumes: peas, chickpeas, mung beans, soybeans, lentils;
- – cereals: oats, barley, wheat, millet, rice, buckwheat, corn;
- – all types of salads, watercress, arugula, basil, mustard, dill, cilantro, celery, sunflower;
- – cabbage (red cabbage, broccoli, collard greens), radish, radish;
- – amaranth, beets, spinach, carrots, any types of onions (onions, leeks, chives).
BY THE WAY, you can germinate the seeds of almost any edible plant. Including wild plants, for example, alfalfa, clover, quinoa, nettle, purslane, etc.
WHAT WILL NOT BE USEFUL
You cannot use seeds intended for growing in the garden (unless you collected them yourself). They are usually processed, and this is unsafe for health - In the store, choose special packaging labeled “microgreens”.
You should not take pumpkin plants (cucumber, pumpkin, zucchini), as microgreens from them turn out bitter.
Representatives of the Solanaceae family are also not suitable: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers. Their sprouts contain solanine, a toxic substance.
HOW TO SOW MICROGREENS?
Moisten the substrate thoroughly in the container.
Spread the seeds in an even layer on the surface and moisten them additionally with a spray bottle.
Cover the crops with a transparent lid for the first time and place them in a warm, bright place.
Microgreens do not need lighting; they grow well on the windowsill.
Don't forget to water the seedlings.
Do not use regular soil for sowing. It is better to buy special mats for germinating seeds (ready-made kits may contain mineral wool, coconut substrate, etc.) or look for something suitable at home: napkins, cloth, gauze, cotton wool.
© Author: Elena MATYUNINA, herbal health specialist, Lipetsk. Photo by the author
Reference by topic: Growing microgreens in a simplified way - instructions
© Author: Alexander ABUSHKEVICH, agronomist, Gorki
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