Small but mighty, microgreens are juvenile vegetables greens that can be used as a garnish, flavouring, or a meal all their own. They also happen to be one of the easiest crops to grow indoors! Here are a few enticing reasons to grow your own microgreens.
What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are not a distinct variety of plants; rather, they are vegetables that haven’t finished growing yet. Any vegetable that grows leaves can be grown as a microgreen, the most popular being cilantro, arugula, basil, broccoli, and kale.
One of the first questions people usually ask about microgreens is this: what is the difference between sprouts and microgreens? The distinction is small, but important. Sprouts are the first green shoots that emerge in the first weeks after germination. You can think of a sprout as the first ‘stage’ in the plant’s life. Once the sprout reaches a height of 1 to 1.5 inches (typically 2-4 weeks after it germinates), it is considered a microgreen.
Another important difference is that microgreens are plucked at the stem, while sprouts are harvested seed, stem, root and all.
Reasons to Grow Your Own Microgreens
Don’t be fooled by their size: microgreens are surprisingly flavourful and nutritious.
1. Incredibly Nutritious
A study by the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland looked at the nutrient content of juvenile red cabbage, cilantro, radishes, and other veggies. The research demonstrated that microgreens have a particularly high nutritional value compared to mature vegetables – up five times higher, to be precise.
Adding a handful of microgreens to a dish can instantly boost its nutritional value. Microgreens are also a fantastic addition to health foods like smoothies, juices, protein shakes.
2. Easy to Grow
Since you don’t have to nurture them to maturity, microgreens are less demanding to grow than full-size vegetables. The ideal growing conditions for microgreens are straightforward: they like a nutrient-rich soil (or a soil-like material like peat moss) lots of light, low humidity, and good air circulation.
To make it even easier, try growing microgreens in an indoor herb garden like the Danby Fresh Herb Grower. The Danby Fresh provides the full spectrum of light and proper air circulation vegetables need to thrive.
3. Definitely Delicious
For their size, microgreens pack an astonishing amount of flavour. They have a distinctive taste from their fully-grown counterparts, which ranges from mild to tangy to spicy depending on the plant. It only takes a few microgreens to liven up classic dishes like pizza, burgers, sandwiches, or even tacos.
4. Sprout Up Quickly
Growing your own food usually demands time and patience. Not so with microgreens! Most microgreens take just one to two weeks to grow, with the slowest-growing veggies reaching micro-status at four to six weeks. If you get into the groove of planning a few each week, you can start cultivating a steady supply of microgreens in no time.
5. Popular, but Pricey
Microgreens are popping up in recipes and restaurant menus everywhere, particularly in the heath food niche. The only downside? Microgreens come with a heavy price tag in grocery stores. Growing your own microgreens will let you enjoy their benefits without the added expense.
6. Perfect for Small Spaces
No garden? No problem. It is possible to grow microgreens in even the smallest of spaces. If you have a balcony or a window sill, you have room for a microgreen garden! Those who lack natural sunlight can still grow microgreens in a Danby Fresh Herb Grower.