Grow Microgreens at Home During Winter


It’s amazing to see how many different kinds of vegetables grow locally by visiting a winter farmers market. I’ve been sharing a few winter vegetable recipes to encourage eating seasonally and locally as much as possible, but it can be challenging to get enough fresh greens in the middle of winter in Rhode Island. So today, I would like to offer a way to grow some of your food on your own… indoors. Have you ever heard of microgreens? It is exciting to know that microgreens have 4 to 40% more nutrients than mature plants. But before talking about how nutrient-rich microgreens are, I have to explain what they are first.

 

Seeds, sprouts, and microgreens are names of the stages of a plant’s growing process. The plants start as a seed. When you germinate a seed, it starts sprouting a stem in a few days. That is called a sprout. Then, if you wait for a week or two, you’ll see the first sets of two leaves start growing. Those are called microgreens. When the plants go through the microgreens stage, that is when some nutrients, like vitamins C, E, K, and carotenoids, start to peak. You can cut them from just above the growing medium (like soil) and harvest right before eating to get the most nutrients out of them. You see more and more microgreens used at restaurants in small quantities as a garnish. But you can add them to your diet at home too, especially during the winter time, when less fresh seasonal vegetables are available, or for more bio-diversity. If you decide to grow your own microgreens, some of the easier vegetable varieties to grow are, radishes, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. But you can grow almost any seeds into microgreens. Most of them taste like their fully grown counterparts.

 

 

There are numerous websites and online videos showing how to grow microgreens, so you can do your own research and find the way that suits you the best. Most people grow seeds in soil, but some say that growing them on hemp fiber or coconut coir soaked in water work well too. Growing microgreens not only gives you good nutrients, but also dealing with nature even at such a small scale can give you a sense of peace and accomplishment.

 

While you can only harvest microgreens once, you can transplant some of the hardy ones into a little plant pot, to grow them into full plants when spring comes. If you start growing microgreens now, you may be an expert by the time spring comes :)

Happy growing!

 

- Toyoko Schieferdecker - volunteer blogger, member-owner