Winter may be on its way, closing down many a garden, but microgreens are an easy, fun way to grow remarkably healthy greens. These tiny leaves are the shoots of various garden plants, including arugula, chard, mustard, kale and beet. Once the seeds are sown, they take about 10 days to harvest and make their way to your dinner plate.
What's really exciting about these teeny tiny greens is the nutrition they pack. A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that microgreens offer four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant. Among the nutrients evaluated were beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C.
Microgreens differentiate themselves from sprouts by being grown in soil, whereas sprouts are seeds germinated in water for about two days until they, well, sprout. Microgreens are harvested with scissors once the leaves are ready.
To grow microgreens, all you need is a shallow tray, soil and the seeds. Most microgreens seed packs come with detailed instructions on how to grow them. Microgreen kits are also available. We like this one, which has a tray made from recycled material and looks attractive even as a centerpiece.
Selecting your microgreen seeds is half the fun of growing them. Each has its own leaf shape, color and taste. High Mowing Organic Seeds offers a wonderful selection of microgreen seeds that are all certified organic, such as
Mizuna Asian: Deeply serrated, bright green leaves. Mildly cabbage flavored.
Hong Vit Radish: A pink- or red-stemmed fast-growing leaf with mild radish flavor.
Purple Dark Opal Basil: Strong flavor and deep purple leaves add striking mix to a salad.
Early Wonder Tall Top Beet: Vibrant leaves and mild flavor.
Fordhook Giant Heirloom Chard: A favorite with deep green leaves.