Updated: Dec 7, 2021
It's a dark and cold winter day. The sun has long been set, and it's been hours since you've seen any natural light. You're feeling hungry for some fresh vegetables after an afternoon of snow shoveling, so you decide to stop by the grocery store before heading home. Walking in the door, you see shelves full of canned goods and other processed food items that will last until summer when all this snow melts away. Ugh! No way are those going into your shopping cart today!
You start walking around looking for something different while simultaneously throwing out suggestions to your little one who is whining about being hungry: "What about these baby carrots? They're crunchy and taste just like carrots!" Your child pauses only for a second and then responds, "I want REAL carrots!"
You continue walking around the produce section of your local grocery store until you come across the darker corners of this area. You look over to see what used to be labeled as exotic or unusual – now it's just called grown-up vegetables: kale, collard greens, rainbow chard...hmmm… These veggies still don't quite satisfy your child. But wait! There they are in all their bright green glory - those little microgreens that brighten up any dish with flavor and color! They're perfect for giving some variety into an otherwise dreary winter diet. Your child is more than happy with these new additions to his plate (and yours too). Who needs processed food when you can eat fresh, nourishing vegetables all winter long?
You've got this! You know how to garden in the wintertime. Now go out there and prove it! Winter won't last forever - but these greens will keep on growing through the snowiest of days inside your home!
Best Practices for Growing Microgreens All Year Long Even though they are called "micro" crops, microgreens are an excellent way to provide yourself with a variety of nutritious foods throughout the year under any conditions. However, some guidelines should be followed in order to ensure that your little sprouts get off to a healthy start:
Use quality seeds. Seeds should be fresh and not expired. Make sure to use organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds whenever possible as these are the healthiest for you and your family. These days, there is also a great selection available online without having to rely on local garden centers or stores that may carry limited produce options in their seed department. Look for reputable sources of high-quality seeds such as Johnny's Selected Seeds and High Mowing Organic Seeds, who both offer an excellent variety of microgreens including arugula, basil, cabbage, chard, and kale. You can purchase many different kinds of mixes as well as single-variety seeds depending on what you're growing and how much of them you need.
Coco coir is an excellent choice for growing your microgreens as it is a sustainable resource that can be reused for many years. It's an eco-friendly way to grow your sprouts using less water than traditional soil methods, and there are no chemical fertilizers used which means your food isn't being contaminated by these harmful chemicals. Coco coir also helps retain moisture so that watering frequency remains low.
Use appropriate containers depending on how much you will need to produce at one time as well as what kind of look you want to be presented when serving them up at mealtime! Seeds should be sown right on top of the medium without the need to pre-soak or cover them. You can sow the seeds in a thin layer either by hand or using any type of sowing method. Use a sprayer to mist the seeds and moisten the soil, but only enough so that you see some moisture on top of the medium at all times.
Once they have sprouted, place them into your light source and keep them watered as they grow until the first true leaves appear.
Once harvested, microgreens should be rinsed with cold water in order to remove any excess dirt then either used immediately or stored in an airtight container placed inside your refrigerator crisper drawer. Don't rinse them until you are ready to use them.
Growing and eating microgreens during the winter months is a great way to enjoy fresh greens all year round. Whether you're looking for more variety in your diet, want to save money on produce, or want to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals from leafy greens, growing and eating these nutritious treats can be a fun project that will keep you healthy throughout the cold season. You may already have an indoor planter set up with herbs like basil or mint - why not add some spinach too? Learn how easy it is to start growing microgreens at home this winter (and get tips on which vegetables work best).