This is a guest post about Microgreens, written by Nate over at Growing Green Family Farm.
**Growing Green Family Farm is a local farm in Upstate South Carolina that focuses on growing fresh all natural produce that utilizes advanced hydroponic systems without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or any other sprays. Everything grown there is in a controlled bug-free environment, which ensures the growth of a high-quality product that they deliver to farmers markets, restaurants, and organic stores around the area.
**When I started researching Microgreens, I knew that Nate was the guru on the topic from firsthand experience: I have seen his hydroponic system as well as tasted his fresh and delightful produce. I have never seen such healthy and vibrant Microgreens before, and so it was a no-brainer to ask Nate to write a guest post for me on the topic.
Microgreens: What are they?
**As their name implies, microgreens are small greens that are often no more than 2 inches tall.
**Microgreens are not sprouts, but are rather a baby plant that is in between a sprout and a baby green.
**Everything from herbs to vegetables, wheatgrass to sunflower shoots can be grown to a micro size for consumption.
**Some of the more popular varieties of microgreens include: broccoli, basil, cilantro, radishes, clover, dijon mustard, fenugreek, alfalfa, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, wheatgrass, and delightful blends of 3-4 different kinds.
Microgreens: What You Need:
**Next, a good growing medium and a good container is needed to encourage proper growing conditions. Anything from organic miracle gro soil to homemade compost will work great as long as it has good drainage properties. For the container, you can utilize flower pots, trays, or other container shapes that you have available.
**Proper lighting is what gives microgreens their beautiful vivid colors. This can be as simple as having full sunlight for outdoor growing or a Fluorescent lighting for indoor growing. The ideal day length for growing microgreens is between 12 and 16 hours of daylight.
Microgreens: The Growing Process
**Growing microgreens is one of the easiest things a gardener can do.
1. Fill a container with the growing medium you choose.
2. Water lightly (just enough to evenly moisten the soil)
3a. Sprinkle the seed of choice on top of the soil (except for seeds with shells such as sunflower, pea, and wheat seed)
3b. For the seeds with shells, Pre-soaking and rinsing may be needed to ensure proper germination.
4. Mist the top of the seeds lightly with water to help the seeds break their seed coat
5. Cover the container with a plastic lid to trap in humidity and keep light out.
6. Place the covered contain on a heat mat to promote healthy seed germination.
7. Mist the seeds every 8-12 hours to prevent the seed from drying out.
8. When the seeds start to germinate and form their false leaves, place the trays under a light or under direct sunlight.
9. Water once a day with between ½ a cup to ⅓ of a cup of water.
10. After 7-10 days, harvest your microgreens and enjoy.
What is so Great about Microgreens?
** Beyond looking great on a salad, sandwiches, or as garnish, microgreens also offer a unique assortment of flavors, nutritional benefits, and medicinal benefits.
**Whether you like a spicy accent or a sweet flavor, microgreens offer endless possibilities. Dijon Mustard offers a delightful light horseradish flavor; Sweet Basil brings forth the incredible aroma and flavor in a micro size; and Sunflower Shoots adds a fantastic nutty crunch that is great for transforming your favorite salad.
**Here are some links to delightful recipes that you can try with microgreens:
- Microgreens with Curry Vinaigrette
- Grilled Apples with Herbes De Provence and Micro Greens
- Multiple recipes found here
**Regardless of their size, microgreens sure pack a punch concerning nutritional and medicinal benefits:
- Broccoli Microgreens, for instance, are full of vitamin C and Sulforaphane, which contains anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-microbial properties.
- Sunflower Shoots have Vitamin D, chlorophyll, complete Proteins, and Amino Acids.
- Wheatgrass Juice offers several nutritional and medicinal benefits listed here. For example, wheatgrass juice can help increase red blood cell count, lower blood pressure, stimulate the thyroid gland, detoxify the liver, and so much more.
- Pea Shoots offer fiber, Vitamin C, Iron, and folic acid.
**Here are some other nutritional benefits of Microgreens that Web MD has discovered through research:
- “The microgreens were four- to 40-fold more concentrated with nutrients than their mature counterparts,” says researcher Qin Wang, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland in College Park. “When we first got the results we had to rush to double and triple check them.” (Warner, 2012).
- “Vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E levels were highest among red cabbage, garnet amaranth, and green daikon radish microgreens. Cilantro microgreens were richest in terms of lutein and beta-carotene.” (Warner, 2012).
**I would like to thank Nate at Growing Green Family Farm for writing this highly informative post on Microgreens.
**If you live in South Carolina, I strongly encourage you to check out his produce, either at various farmer’s markets or by contacting him. You will be delighted and impressed by the freshness of his hydroponically-grown food.
**Otherwise, if you have questions about Microgreens or Hydroponics, and/or you would like to support Growing Green Family Farm, check out their Facebook page and be sure to ‘like’ their page!
Warner, 2012. Tiny Microgreens Packed with Nutrition. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20120831/tiny-microgreens-packed-nutrients