Using Microgreens Turns An Everyday Mom Into A Chef!
Have you noticed when you have a meal in an upscale restaurant how signature dishes are topped with miniature, multi-colored leaves?
Now microgreens are becoming a familiar ingredient in home kitchens, too. And for good reasons. Microgreens add great color and great flavor to salads. They are a concentrated nutrient source and packed with beneficial enzymes because of their rapid growth. They are an excellent garnish for meats and other dishes. Congratulations, Mom, you’re now a chef!
Some restaurant patrons (and your family) may mistake them for ordinary garnish. Just don’t tell them it’s healthy!
What are Microgreens?
They are more mature than sprouts but not quite as large as baby greens. These petite greens seem to be in the middle. As their name suggests, microgreens are miniature plants of greens, herbs, and other vegetables. You cut the tops as needed, and the plant grows back to cut again and again.
More benefits of microgreens
Microgreens also solve the problem of the potential for bacterial growth when growing sprouts (though it is very rare). Unlike sprouts, only the steams and leaves of the microgreens are eaten. The seed and the roots are left to reproduce future crops! Great concept, right?
Microgreens used to be labor intensive to grow. In the past you had to have a south facing window in which you could place a shallow tray of organic potting soil on a warming mat. You sprinkled your seeds onto the soil, covered them with a thin layer of soil and misted them several times a day with clean, filtered water. You must keep up this watering schedule for the entire time you want the plants to produce.
Do this daily and in 2 to 4 weeks and depending on the type of seed used you begin to harvest your microgreens.
Growing microgreens just became easy!
Do you want to know the secret of how to grow microgreens without having to have that tray of soil in a south facing window? Not having to spray them with filtered water several times a day?
This is a great video by the developer of the Tower Garden,and the Micro Greens Extension Kit, Tim Blank. He gives you a super visual of the growing process.
All the watering is taken care of automatically with our unique, exclusive Tower Garden and Micro Green Extension Kit. The kit simply adds 32 more ports to a basic 20 port Tower Garden!
Be sure to ask for our help! We want to make sure you get exactly what you need when placing your order. Phone 360-722-1170 or use the contact form.
What Plants Can Be Used as Microgreens?
Technically, any edible plant that is entirely edible (root to leaves) can be used. The plants listed above are the most common and taste the best.
To make it easier and less expensive than buying individual packets of all the above seeds, I suggest getting a packet of mixed seeds which have been selected to mature at the same time. Then supplement with a few other seeds not included in the mix, seeds that have longer days to maturity.
As an example, I bought a mix, then purchased separate packets of peas, spinach, and cilantro because they were not in the mix. I’ll keep the additional seeds in their own growing ports as they take double the time to mature.
A few simple steps to successfully grow your microgreens.
When ordered correctly, your initial order of the Tower Garden includes everything you need to get started. You will receive a Seedling Starter Kit, rockwool, vermiculite, nutrients and all parts to assemble with detailed instructions.
After you assemble your Tower Garden and Micro Greens Extension Kit, soak the rockwool pieces in a half strength solution of Tower Tonic and place them in your tray. Then fill each rockwool cavity with several microgreen seeds, at least a dozen. Cover lightly with vermiculite. Put just enough water (1/4 to 1/2 inch) in the bottom of the tray to keep the rockwool moist at all times. Close the starter tray lid and keep in a warm sunny spot or on a heat mat.
Watch closely. As soon as your microgreens sprout, you can transplant them into your Tower Garden for outdoor growing. This is the key difference between growing plants to maturity and microgreens in your Tower Garden. When growing plant starts, you must wait until you can see roots coming through the rockwool before you transplant them to your Tower Garden.
Here are a few fast facts:
- Provides 32 additional planting ports designed specifically for microgreens and small herbs.
- Attaches to the top of a standard Tower Garden
- Eliminates the need for net pots or growing clips (thanks to built-in rockwool cube supports)
Some frequently asked questions are:
- Can I use the Micro Greens Extension Kit with my standard Extension Kit (total of 28 ports?) Yes, but you’ll need to upgrade your pump so that it’s powerful enough to propel your nutrient solution nine growing sections tall. Look for a pump that’s rated at least 793 GPH.
- Can I use the Micro Greens Extension Kit with Grow Lights? Technically, there’s no reason you can’t. That being said, the grow light LED lamps aren’t long enough to stretch the full length of an extended Tower Garden. So, plants near the very top and bottom may grow more slowly due to light deprivation. To combat this you can place large leafy crops such as kale and Swiss chard, in the bottom of your Tower Garden and placing compact or hanging plants, such as thyme and oregano, in the top, offsetting this effect. I arrange my MicroGreens extension Kit at the top of my grow lights and top of the Tower Garden. I put the large leafy plants on the lower levels. They will grow upwards toward the light source.
- Do I have to put the Micro Greens Extension Kit on the top of my Tower Garden? Not necessarily. It’s possible to attach the Micro Greens Extension kit in the middle of your Tower Garden. But if you have larger plants growing below and above it, they could block out light, preventing the optimal growth of your microgreens. Placing the extension kit at the top of your Tower Garden will likely provide the best results.
If you have any other questions about the new Mico Greens Extension Kit, drop a comment below, and I’ll give you the help you need!
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Smart Harvesting Tips for Microgreens
Your Tower Garden will do most of the work once you transplant your microgreens. In about two or three weeks, your corp will be ready to pick.
Be patient and resist harvesting as soon as the first true leaves appear. If you cut too soon, you get only one harvest from each seed.
If you let your microgreens grow a little bit longer – to the point of qualifying as petite or baby greens – you can actually harvest repeatedly from the same plants for weeks by taking only the older leaves and allowing the new growing tips to remain.
Ideas for Using Your Microgreens
Microgreens are impressively versatile in the kitchen. They make an upscale addition to soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. They not only make a great looking presentation of your food, but they add taste and additional nutrition.
So, let your inner chef out to play, and get creative with different dishes!
Be sure to enjoy your microgreens soon after harvesting, as they’re tender and highly perishable. We like to pick ours just before preparing our food dish. If you don’t use them right away, they will store in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
What lead to the lightening fast rise of these tiny plants, you ask?
It occurred, at least in part, because they are:
- Speedy growers – Microgreens are harvested early, and so most plants go from seed to plate in less than a month.
- A party in your mouth – Microgreens often have interesting textures and vibrant flavors, from peppery and spicy to tangy and sweet.
- Wildly nutritious – Research has shown that micro greens, despite their small size, are packed with four to six times more nutrition than their mature counterparts.
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