I am writing this article with well-meaning intentions in the midst of our Coronavirus pandemic. As the virus continues to evolve, so do our levels of stress and uncertainty. Whether it be job layoffs, having to stay home with the kids, reduced work hours, or self-quarantine, we are all in some way affected by what is going on at this time. As this virus is expected to continue for many months, the majority of us are realizing there is a need to tighten up our budgets. For the health enthusiasts, this may impose restrictions into our weekly food rations. Grass fed meat, organic produce, or any health-conscious foodstuffs tend not to come cheap and this presents a challenge for us to maintain a healthy status quo.
Could this pandemic ultimately pose threat to our vitality and livelihood? Absolutely.
Can we look for budget conscious alternatives to maintain an abundant supply of nutrient dense foods? Absolutely.
Microgreens are simply the younger versions of the vegetables we have come to love. They are harvested well before going on to develop into full maturity. This makes them easy to grow while being cost effective, with minimal need for space. Not to mention microgreens help to provide us with potent plant compounds, vitamins and minerals.
Fun Fact: Isothiocyanates such as sulforaphane derived from broccoli sprouts are now being manufactured into pill form. A study by Clarke J.D. et al. tested the bioavailability of isothiocyanates derived from pills vs fresh sprouts and concluded they are far better assimilated when eaten in whole form. Sprouts for the win again here!
To get started on growing your own microgreens you will need a little planning.
Here are the things you want to take into consideration:
Let’s dive a little deeper into the breakdown of planning your home-based operation.
Thanks to the readiness questionnaire above, you should have some sort indication of the size of operation you are starting with.
Any avid green thumb will agree that you should always overestimate the initial layout. This is because gardening is both a fruitful yet addicting hobby, and most will eventually want a bigger operation. I’m just going to put that out there as a gardening enthusiast myself!
Your microgreens will require on average 2-3 days to germinate with a total of approximately 8-12 days from seed to harvest.
This means you need to stagger your plantings so your greens grow at the rate you and your family will consume them! This is something you will want to take into consideration when setting up space for your 10×20 grow trays.
Although sprouts keep well in the fridge for up to a week, it’s best to aim to consume them when they are fresh, crisp, and bursting with flavor. Eating them at their peak will build upon the magic of the sprout growing experience.
Once your set up is completed it’s time to move into the fun part!!!
If you are using soilless potting mix follow these instructions:
If you are using soilless grow media follow these instructions:
Don’t forget to experiment with some great recipes using your beautiful microgreens.
I hope you found this article both helpful and inspiring during this difficult time.
Clarke, John D. et al. “Bioavailability and inter-conversion of sulforaphane and erucin in human subjects consuming broccoli sprouts or broccoli supplement in a cross-over study design.” Pharmacological Research, Volume 64. Issue 5, November 2011, Pages 456-463.
Contributed by Naomi Sachs, B.Sc., A.C.H.N., PFT
Fully-certified since 2015, Naomi has been successfully coaching clients throughout North America and facilitating their self-growth in the nutrition and fitness realm. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the myriad of health strategies available, her services aim to introduce clarity and self-motivation.