As gardeners we savor the fresh, wholesome harvest we enjoy from our vegetable gardens during the summer and autumn of the year. How would you like to be able to relish freshly harvested, nutrient rich greens all year long? All you need is a bright spot and daily watering to be able to enjoy the health benefits of nutritious sprouts and microgreens through the long winter months!
Sprouts and microgreens are easy to grow and delicious. They can be added to salads and sandwiches, included in green smoothies or served as a garnish.
Sprouts are among the most nutritious greens available. They are tiny green powerhouses loaded with vitamins, minerals and beneficial enzymes. Experts estimate that there can be up to 100 times more enzymes and vitamins in sprouts than in uncooked fruits and vegetables!
- Start with organic, GMO-free seeds (we carry many types of sprouting seeds, including some really tasty seed mixes)
- Soak seeds overnight in bowl of water
- Place soaked seeds in sprouting container
- Rinse and allow to thoroughly drain at least twice daily. This is the most critical step to success in growing sprouts! Inadequate rinsing/draining can lead to germination failure or the growth of dangerous bacteria. Rinse. Rinse. Rinse. Placing your sprouting vessel on the counter next to your kitchen sink will remind you to rinse regularly.
- Sprouts will be ready to eat three to seven days after initial soaking, depending upon how much growth you like. With our multi-level sprouter it is even possible to grow several types of sprouts simultaneously. Sprouts can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator but are best enjoyed fresh.
- Thoroughly clean sprouting vessel before starting your next crop of sprouts.
The primary difference between microgreens and sprouts is that with sprouts we eat the seed and with microgreens we eat only the top leafy growth. As with sprouts, research has shown that microgreens contain up to 40 times the levels of nutrients when compared to their mature counterparts. Microgreens are essentially “baby” vegetable plants, harvested when they are very young (usually 2-3 weeks after planting). Since microgreens are harvested shortly after germination, they contain all the nutrients they need to grow and are super concentrated with nutrients and flavor.
- Spread a thin layer (about 1”) of quality potting soil in shallow growing tray
- Spread seeds generously on surface of soil (you can plant much more thickly than you ordinarily would, since greens will be harvested when only 2”-3” inches tall so don’t need much room to grow). Very lightly cover seeds with soil. Gently mist with water until soil surface is uniformly moist.
- Place tray in a sunny window or under grow lights. Using a horticultural heating mat under the tray will also aid in germination.
- Mist daily with water to keep soil moist, but not wet.
- The first leaves that occur in newly germinated plants are called cotyledons or “seed leaves”. Cotyledons are followed by “true leaves”, which will look like miniature versions of the adult foliage. Once these true leaves are present and reach a couple of inches in height, your microgreens are ready to harvest.
- Harvest by cutting at the base of the stems, right above the soil surface, with sharp, clean scissors. Harvest individual servings or an entire crop. Rinse and enjoy! Surplus can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
- New growth will often arise from the cut base to provide a second crop. When the crop is finished, dump soil and begin process again.