Microgreens

By Deryn Thorpe – this story first appeared in Habitat in The West Australian

Now that the weather is cooler I have got my micro greens growing again.

Micro greens are tiny seedlings of herbs and vegetables grown quickly to create a gourmet garnish or tender baby salad.

They are simple to grow, can crop in as little as 14 days, and need so little space that they have quickly become one of the hottest trends in home gardening.

Bigger than sprouts and smaller than ‘baby’ salad greens they are perfect for people with limited garden space as they are grown in containers and you only need a tiny amount of space on a balcony or veranda, though they are so good that keen foodies may want to install a greenhouse!

I bought an inexpensive plastic greenhouse from a hardware store which helps keep them warm and its racks mean that I can grow many varieties in a small space.

Obviously I grow them because I love their fresh taste but they are very nutritious and have higher levels of active plant compounds than sprouted seeds or mature vegetables.

While you can grow micro greens in potting mix I prefer to use coir peat as it hold moisture and rewets easily. Pot the mix, sprinkle seeds thickly on top so they grow tall and straight and lightly press down.

20130707_154536I’ve tried basil, broccoli, celery, chives, coriander, fenugreek, kale, lettuce oak leaf and red salad bowl, mizuna, pak choi, parsley, rocket, spinach and tatsoi seed but  my favourites are the herbs.

Water daily and feed weekly with a liquid fertiliser formulated for vegetables.

Most micro greens are ready to harvest in 21 to 28 days. Simply cut them above the soil with a pair of scissors when their very first leaves appear. They have the most delicate flavour when the plants have just two leaves and the flavour changes as they grow.

Once ready to harvest they can be picked for two or three weeks. 

Deryn Thorpe is an award winning Perth writer. She occupies herself as a journalist, a garden consultant, PR person and marketer. She now lends her considerable talent to producing regular pieces for the Habitat section on the West Australian newspaper.