Since springtime officially started last week, we’ve been enjoying sunshine and warmth in Bristol. In our line of work it certainly is a welcome change to the cold winter months. There is a noticeable vibe of busyness around the city, whilst people spring clean their homes and get to work in their gardens.
Now that we’re all under way with sowing seeds, tidying up our gardens and dreaming of hot summer days spent relaxing by the bbq, I thought we could take a look at microgreens.
Windowsill Garden – image Reddit
At home both our front and back gardens are small, concreted spaces, and we don’t have much indoor window space, so we are limited with what we grow each year. Perhaps you don’t have much space either and are wondering what would be best to grow? Well, why not try growing microgreens?
Microgreens became all the rage some years back with fine dining chefs using these attractive tiny leaves in dishes for their delicate textures and distinctive flavours. In Bristol we have an urban farm that I find very inspiring; Grow Bristol. They grow a variety of leafy crops using hydroponics and no use of pesticides. They supply many local restaurants and businesses across the city.
At home we can grow a variety of salad crops as microgreens with compost in a seed tray on the windowsill throughout the year. They aren’t expensive to grow, don’t take up much room and don’t require much maintenance, other than watering and harvesting/cutting.
Image Gardeners’ World
Microgreens are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have more nutritional value than their full size counterparts, and can improve your body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals. The leaves of microgreens are small because they are harvested before they grow to maturity. This happens between 7 and 14 days.
Microgreens aren’t sprouts – sprouts are germinated or partially germinated seeds – with microgreens you just harvest the leaves. Many microgreens are cut and come again, so you get repeat crops, and when they’re done just add to your compost bin. It’s a no brainer really, you just have the hard decision of deciding which of the many leaves to choose to grow…
You can sprinkle them on salads and soups, put a handful in a smoothie, or put them in a sandwich with your favourite filling to increase your ‘5 a day’ veg intake, Mmmmm!
Watercress – image organic microgreens Ireland
Watercress has more vitamin C than orange, more calcium than milk, more folates than bananas, and more iron than spinach.
Chia – rich in calcium and phosphorous which are important for healthy bones and teeth, high in manganese which is beneficial for connective tissue.
Basil – is a good source of vitamin E for eye health and prevents inflammation and heart disease. It’s a very good source of dietary fibre, which helps control blood sugar levels.
Kale – is an antioxidant and stimulates collagen production. It’s a powerhouse of vitamin C, which keeps your bones strong and your skin supple.
Radish – is a good source of carbohydrates for energy, and is also high in B complex vitamins.
Dill – full of B complex vitamins – image copyright sproutpeople.org
Mustard – mildly spicy, adds a horseradish flavour to salads and smoothies.
Mizuna – image villagelinks
Mizuna red streaks adds a peppery flavour, is high in antioxidants and supports the clotting of blood in the body, strengthens bones, and reduces eye cancer risk.
Celery – has attractive young leaves and gives a sharpness when added to food or drinks. It is the slowest growing, compared to other seeds used as microgreens.
Chives – these bright green leaves are another of the slower growers, but are popular for their slightly crunchy texture, and salty/spicy flavour and unique shape. They are harvested between 14-25 days.
Rocket – high in vitamin C which prevents scurvy disease and boosts body immunity, which helps develop resistance against infections. Helps to lower cholesterol, and promotes digestive regularity.
Coriander – is high in carotenoids, which lowers the risk of eye disease and particular cancers.
- Please note. Nightshade family plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine and peppers should not be grown as microgreens as the plant sprouts are poisonous.