Use Microgreens throughout the year to add fresh flavor to your meals. These easy-to-plant greens require minimal space, and can be harvested delicious and nutritious in more than a week without special equipment.
Use miniature vegetables in salads, soups, pizzas, omelets, stir-fries or snacks. These tiny seedlings have more nutrients than their mature seedlings.
Add a little spice to the soup and sandwiches with radish and mustard greens. Try red cabbage, chard, beets and mar dishes to add some color. The nutty flavor of sunflower makes it ideal for snacks. Let some of your pea seedlings grow taller for cooking.
Fill a shallow container with 2 inches of moist potting or starting seed mixture. Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil and cover lightly with a potted plant or seed start mixture. Water gently to ensure good contact between the seeds and the soil.
Regular watering is enough to keep the soil slightly moist. By covering freshly grown containers with plastic, you reduce your workload and keep the planting mixture always moist. Once the green penetrates the soil, remove the lid and move the container to a sunny place or under artificial light.
Use micro-green planting kits such as Gardener's Supply’s Organic Herb and Microgreens Grow Kit to increase fun and success. This setting is the ideal size for your countertop or other small spaces. The full spectrum light is adjustable, so whether you are growing short greens or taller herbs, you can raise or lower it as needed.
Or skip the growing chaos with the Jute Microgreens starter kit. Place the jute mat in a shallow tray and add seeds and water. Then compost the jute mat after harvesting the vegetables.
Follow the planting instructions on the seed pack. An 11 x 21 inch tray usually requires 2 to 3 tablespoons of seeds. Purchase enough seeds for additional seeding every week or every two weeks to ensure a stable supply.
Like most vegetables, micro-vegetables taste the best and are the most nutritious when eaten fresh. And these delicious bundles will not last long in storage.
Once the plants have formed their first true leaves, the miniature fruit trees can be harvested. These are similar to the leaves of mature plants. This takes 7 to 14 days, depending on the room temperature and the type of micro-vegetables grown.
Use scissors to trim the greens on the ground. If you prefer to use the entire seedling, the roots and all, you will need to wash off any starting seed mixture attached to the roots.
After all the vegetables have been harvested, it is time to replant them. By composting the used planting mixture and reusing the container, you can save money and be environmentally friendly.
Convert light-colored fast food containers to planting trays. Please disinfect these or other planting trays before using them for subsequent planting. Just soak the container in a 10% bleach and water solution for 10 minutes. Then rinse with clean water before planting.
Gardening is not much easier than this. You will enjoy the fresh flavor throughout the winter while waiting for the outdoor growing season to begin.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books. She hosted the "How to Grow Anything" DVD series of wonderful courses, and jointly released the "Melinda's Garden Moments" TV and radio program nationwide. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for "Birds and Flowers" magazine.