In recent years, the popularity of microgreens among vegetarians and fans of healthy eating has increased dramatically, especially in the cold season, when our quivering bodies need additional portions of vitamins. This product can be found on the shelves of many supermarkets and organic farming stores, or can be easily grown in a mini window garden, and in a city apartment.
Unlike the usual leafy vegetables, the same dill or lettuce, which are cultivated in the garden beds in summer and in greenhouses in winter, microgreens are young seedlings of any crops, as a rule, cereal, spicy and vegetable, in the cotyledon leaf phase. Only plants whose sprouts have a bitter taste are not suitable for microgreening, including nightshade tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, as well as common beans. That is, these are no longer seedlings, but not yet full-fledged seedlings that have entered the stage of active vegetation.
It takes from 10 to 20 days to obtain juicy microgreens, which, you see, is very convenient for organizing a “vitamin conveyor” at home. Another advantage of growing microgreens on a kitchen windowsill or a warm loggia is that there is no need for contact with the ground. Usually such sprouts are driven out on a substrate or rug made of natural materials, for example, from flax, felt, coconut, jute, cellulose, etc.
Today, it is not difficult to buy all the necessary elements and accessories for growing microgreens. Many suppliers of agricultural products have included in the assortment whole kits for germinating seeds, which include planting containers (containers), and mats (substrates, substrates), and the planting material itself (seeds of individual crops, as well as mixes and all kinds of mixtures).
But since such sets cost a lot, zealous gardeners, who have many years of experience in growing seedlings, have found an almost free way to get microgreens without any problems. You just need to have at your disposal the plant seeds that you would like to grow. You can use the cheapest toilet paper as a substrate for seed germination. Transparent plastic containers of small size and trays, which remain in abundance after eating many food products, can serve as a container for obtaining seedlings.
What’s the best to grow at home?
All plants with small to medium sized seeds are suitable for this method.
To obtain microgreens in the shortest possible time, it is best to use early maturing cultures that give seedlings on the second day.
This is flax, and numerous types of cabbage (broccoli, Savoy, Peking, red cabbage), and all types of salads, including arugula and watercress, and radishes, and mustard, and beets, and alfalfa. On wet toilet paper and in a micro greenhouse, such seeds swell and hatch in just a day.
Spicy herbs – basil, batun onions, spinach, chervil, chalcedony onions, which have a piquant taste, delicate spicy aroma and are rich in healthy phytonutrients, are excellently distilled on wet toilet paper and in small containers.
If you are ready to wait a little, then plant umbrella crops on microgreens – dill, fennel, parsley, parsnips, carrots, coriander. It is these seeds that, as a rule, are available in large quantities from experienced summer residents and gardeners. These grains take much longer to germinate due to the essential oil shell covering them. But delicious sprouts of dill, cilantro and parsley help make almost any cold appetizer a real delicacy.
But sunflowers, oats, peas, chickpeas, corn, lentils, wheat, rye, soybeans and other cereals from crops with large seeds germinate better in large and medium containers on special jute rugs or coconut mat.
How to sow and care for microgreens correctly? Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Take a transparent container, cover its bottom with toilet paper folded in 4-5 layers or a white napkin in 3-4 layers, fill the base with melt or drinking water to make it wet.
2. Tamp the paper with your fingertips and drain off excess water.
3. Spread dry seeds evenly on the substrate, trying to spread them thickly, but in one layer.
4. Cover the container with a lid (if not available, use food grade polyethylene).
5. Place the tray in a warm place, such as on a windowsill above a radiator.
6. On the second day, remove the cover for 2 hours and moisten the seeds with a spray bottle, then replace the cover. Condensation accumulates abundantly under the cover, therefore, if there is no ventilation, mold may appear on the paper and seeds, so it is imperative to remove the lid from the container every day.
7. On the third day, remove the cover for 5-6 hours and do not forget to spray the sprouted sprouts with structured water from their sprayer.
8. On the fourth day, remove the cover completely. Be sure to moisturize the growing plants in the morning and evening, not allowing the toilet paper to dry out.
9. On the fifth day, the stems begin to straighten, and cotyledonous leaves are formed on them.
10. Microgreens are ready for cutting when the height of the seedlings exceeds 4-5 cm. For example, flax, arugula and watercress are ripened in 10-12 days, and parsley, carrots, beets and basil – in 20 days.
11. Remove from the container the paper mat, thickly braided and laced with white roots, cut the microgreens with scissors and add the sprouts to the salad.
12. Immediately sow a new portion of seeds into the empty container on wet toilet paper, white napkins or paper towels.
Try growing microgreens on a paper mat once and you will see how simple, convenient and useful it is. Good harvests on the windowsill!