How to Grow Your Own Micro-Greens
Growing your own food is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re eating local, organic and fresh produce. However, if you don’t have an ideal plot of land for gardening, you’re probably feeling left out of this green trend – I know I was!
That is, until Zach (my wonderful boyfriend and the hand model in this post) and I were given an unusual Christmas gift by his aunt and uncle: a grow-your-own micro-greens kit from Potting Shed Creations! The kit comes with the soil and seeds, you put it together, stick it near a window, and voila! Micro-greens! It’s small enough to fit in just about any space, and it can be grown indoors, so you can even grow greens in the dead of winter!
In February, we decided to put our green thumbs to the test.
We opened up the kit and found a bag of soil and three packets of seeds: Red Russian Kale, Tom Thumb Peas and Mini Carrots.
The instructions were pretty fool-proof. Dampen the soil and spread 3/4 of it in the box. Lightly mark the soil to divide it into three even sections.
Sprinkle half of the seeds from each packet into the soil, placing each variety of seed in it’s own section. (The seed packets provided have enough seeds for two crops.) We started with the Red Russian Kale:
Then the Tom Thumb Peas (these ones were giant!):
And finally, the Mini Carrots:
Look at those seeds, all cozy in their little windowsill box!
Then we used the remaining fourth of the soil to cover the top of the seeds, and we used a spray bottle to gently but thoroughly water them.
The instructions said to cover the box with a piece of plastic wrap and set it in a warm area out of direct sunlight. Since we were planting in February and our house is colder than average, we used a low-heat heating pad to give the seeds a little extra help in germinating. During the warmer months this wouldn’t be necessary.
Then it was time to wait!
But the Mini Carrots were not to be outdone. They pushed their way up on day 5.
The Tom Thumb Peas were late bloomers, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. They were looking a little measly on day 6, but just wait until you see how they turned out!
After the peas sprouted, we moved the whole thing to a spot near our glass deck door.
By day 8, the carrots were having some trouble moving the soil around…
and the Red Russian Kale sprouts were showing off their yoga skills in an attempt to get their photosynthesis on.
We watched our little project continue to grow, and of course watered it diligently. The instructions said to begin harvesting when the second set of leaves appear. It was a little hard to distinguish, but the leaves did start to change as they shed their seed pod coverings and looked much more like micro-greens.
By day 14, we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to harvest! (But not before the greens had posed for a photoshoot.)
Just look at those pea shoots! It really is true what they say about late bloomers.
We harvested the kale first, cutting the sprouts just above the soil line, but we made sure to leave a few sprouts so we could try the cut-and-come again method. The sprouts made a delightfully fresh topping for a twice baked potato!
A few days later, we cut the carrot greens, and they added a delicious flavor to veggie cakes made with spinach, ricotta and saffron. Let me just say, if you want to feel like a totally legit chef, just add microgreens to your culinary creation!
Unfortunately, we waited a little too long to harvest the pea shoots, and they flamed out before we had a chance to enjoy them. No, I won’t show you the carnage here. This is a family-friendly blog, people!
About 10 days later, there was a completely new type of leaf growing on the greens. We snipped a few of this third set of leaves and left some so that the plants would have enough energy to continue to grow. The carrots looked like this:
The kale looked like this:
The pea shoots were still dead. Shocker, I know.
The kale and carrot sprouts were the perfect addition to chicken Caesar sandwiches (on fresh baguettes made by Zach – he’s not just a hand model!).
We had an absolute blast watching these little micro-greens grow. After the current crop dies off, we’re going to plant the second set of seeds. If you want to try this at home, the kit is a great way to start. However, after we’re finished with our seed packets from the kit, we plan to get new micro-green seeds and plant them in the same windowsill box!
You could easily recreate a kit like this by finding a similar box at a hardware store (or making one yourself!). Just be sure the bottom has holes to let water drip through. Grab some rich topsoil from your yard, buy some seeds and you’re good to go!
Share your experiences in the comments! Happy planting, locavores!