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Archive for Monday, May 14, 2012

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Fix-It Chick: Grow microgreens

May 14, 2012

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Planting a tray or two of microgreens is an easy foray into gardening and a fun way to get a fix of fresh veggies before seasonal crops come to fruition.

Planting a tray or two of microgreens is an easy foray into gardening and a fun way to get a fix of fresh veggies before seasonal crops come to fruition.

Planting a tray or two of microgreens is an easy foray into gardening and a fun way to get a fix of fresh veggies before seasonal crops come to fruition.

Step 1: Choose a selection of seeds including greens, lettuces and herbs. Traditional microgreens started out as mixes of arugula, basil, beets, kale and cilantro. Growing popularity in restaurants and at home has expanded the microgreens list to include most plants with edible leaves, including mustards, peas, beets and cabbages.

Step 2: Choose a container that is at least two inches deep, with drainage holes. Traditional plant-starting trays work fine, or get creative. Discarded produce trays or round planter saucers work well too.

Step 3: Fill the container with organic potting soil or another chemical-free growing medium. Fill deeper pots within two inches from the top to allow adequate exposure to light. Increase the microgreens’ nutritional value and flavor by adding worm castings, seaweed, kelp or beneficial micro-organisms to the soil before planting.

Step 4: Sow a mixture of seeds 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch apart over the entire soil surface.

Step 5: Cover seeds with 1/8 inch of soil and water well. Soil should have the consistency of a wrung out sponge — moist, but not soaking. Using a spray bottle to mist the soil multiple times daily often works well.

Step 6: Place the container in a window or in a sheltered area outside. Microgreens need about six hours of direct or filtered light. A south-facing window or sunny porch works best.

Step 7: If possible, cover the container with clear plastic until the seeds have germinated.

Step 8: Within two to four weeks, depending on seed selection, the microgreens should be ready to harvest. Harvest the greens shortly after the first real set of leaves has appeared and the greens are between 2 inches to 4 inches tall.

Step 9: Harvest the greens by snipping them off at the base of their stems with a good pair of scissors. Use the greens in salads, sandwiches or pasta dishes, or eat them alone with a sprinkle of olive oil and a dash of vinegar.

Step 10: Once the greens have been harvested, till the remaining roots into the soil with a fork, sow another layer of seeds, cover with dirt, water and watch as a second crop rears their tiny green heads.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at go@ljworld.com.

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