When I was little, I remember going to the mall with my parents. My dad would go to the stores that interested him – like the home improvement stores, mens’ clothing, and electronics. My mom and I would wander around together, except I remember being so absolutely bored every time she went into a kitchen supply, decor, or other “home” store.
I just wanted to look at either toys, or crafts. Nothing else!
Nowadays, home stores are my favourite (Homesense. Enough said.), and I can see that Sweet Pea gets bored herself while I drag her through the aisles of picture frames or random knickknacks with images of vintage owls or the Eiffel Tower.
My, how the tables have turned.
It’s funny how something I disliked so much is now something I get excited about.
Another thing I disliked so much when I was younger was gardening.
I would help my mom grow tomatoes and snow peas in our backyard but I was always afraid of the creepy-crawlies and all the icky that came with gardening. But, lately, the thought of growing my own food has been something that is on my mind constantly.
Unfortunately, it’s October which means I’m about 2 seasons too late, and we’re also about to move into a new construction home with most likely less than stellar soil conditions.
I thought my gardening dreams (something I thought I would never say) were out the window until I came across an article on microgreens.
Microgreens are baby baby baby versions of herbs and vegetables! Like we’re talking 2 pairs of leaves baby. Next stage after the sprout baby. Less than 14 days old baby. If you were born before like, the year 2000 – you probably remember Chia Pets. The chia “hair” are little microgreens, and you can actually eat them. Gourmet chefs have been adding microgreens to dishes since the 1980s, and it’s now lately become more mainstream.
Why did I decide to grow microgreens?
- They’re crazy healthy. Microgreens are grown from the seeds of vegetables and herbs like broccoli, kale, basil, arugula, amaranth, beets, etc. It was recently discovered that these microgreens contain the same if not up to 40 times more vitamins and nutrients than the mature, fully grown versions of themselves. (Super kale, anyone?) This makes total sense since the seed has everything that it needs to grow. Imagine a baby embryo – all the DNA and information that is needed for that embryo to become a living, breathing, walking, talking, babbling, hair-pulling person is in that tiny speck. It just needs some food and water to help it grow. The baby seedlings are packed with nutrients and flavour in such a tiny space that the ratio of the good stuff to “stem-and-leaf” is outstanding.
- They’re easy. It took little time, space, or equipment to grow my microgreens. I used some plastic takeout containers and filled them with some potting mix. I sprinkled the seeds on top, put the containers by a window and misted them with water twice a day. That’s it.
I actually couldn’t believe how fast they sprouted. I kept reading that it should take about 3 days for the seeds to sprout, and the microgreens should be ready to harvest in 10-14 days. I took a few pictures at each stage:
I’m pretty sure this was supposed to happen around day 3 or 4, but the next evening (so maybe 30 hours after I sowed them), these sprouts started to appear! I took the lid off at this point.
This is day 4, where the first set of leaves are appearing. This is when I realized I shouldn’t have used mutant Miracle Gro potting soil for my organic seeds. Kind of defeats the purpose. But I was so excited to start my microgreens and just grabbed the first bag of soil that I found. #I’llDoBetterNextTime
Just a little over a week after, we had these lovely pea shoots that I used to garnish some burgers. Yum!
I was really excited growing these! It was crazy to see such progress, and I would find myself getting up to see how much they had grown every few hours. Sweet Pea would also get in on the action, and I’d ask her if she wanted to “say hi to the seedlings” whenever it was time to mist them. She would wave to them until I put them back by the sill 😀
Here are some things I would do differently for my next round:
- NOT use Miracle-Gro potting soil. I was so anxious to start, that I didn’t take the time to source out organic potting mix. I don’t make it a point to buy organic produce, but the fact that these seeds went through so much trouble to be certified organic makes me feel like I’m not taking advantage of their #1 selling feature!
- I would sow way more seeds. I thought I had to sow these individually, with a seed’s-width of space in between each, but it turns out that’s not necessary! I came across a photo where someone had them all touching side by side, and was able to fit tons of microgreens into a tiny space. I would probably be able to sow 3 or 4 times as much in the same amount of space for a greater yield. (Make it rain! …or just sprinkle aggressively.)
- I won’t be afraid to water them. I used a spray mister and was really cautious about over-watering them, as I was over-excited and didn’t punch drainage holes in my containers. Whoops. What you don’t see pictured are my two other trays of microgreens – some mustard and a broccoli brassica mix. These ones were thin and super delicate, but started collapsing on day 5. I definitely under-watered them because I was too afraid to get the soil super wet, and it turns out it wasn’t enough. They shrivelled up at the base by the soil and couldn’t handle their own weight. RIP, seedlings.
- Use proper containers. As in ones with drainage holes. And all I had to do was take a nail and poke some holes in the takeout container. Again: too excited, jumping the gun. Sigh. If I do this, I can place them in another tray that I can pour water into, and they can absorb water from the bottom up. This way, I don’t have to directly spray and possibly break the more delicate microgreens, and hopefully they’ll stick around long enough for us to eat them!
The past week has been eyeopening and I’m totally embracing this easy and affordable way to bring such nutrient-packed health bombs into my family’s diet. I also like how Sweet Pea can see obvious progress each day, and hopefully she’s learning something about plant life and making things grow. It’s a good science project for kids and the fact that they can eat them at the end is a bonus!
Would you consider growing microgreens in your own home? Let me know in the comments!!