microgreens | Heather, A Mama in the Country

Article courtesy: Heather Cain, The General Farmer

In our minds, life is divided into two parts: life at the cottage and life at the farm. I spend the morning and the better part of the day here at the cottage and in the city taking care of chores, shuttling kids to and from school, cooking, cleaning, etc. Then in the afternoon the kids and I head out to the farm to take care of the animals, run around in the open space, and check up on the hubby, who spends most of his day at the farm working on the house. In my daydreams of how this would work, there was a garden involved. A huge beautiful garden which I would tend to every afternoon when we made our way out of the city, and from which I would already be harvesting all the vegetables we could ever want.

Once again, however, my daydreams have been shoved aside by reality. My garden site is currently also the “Junk Pile” site, which means I would have to relocate a 6-foot-high pile of old wood complete with nails and 90-year-old insulation to even access plantable dirt. I will also be needing a rototill. Or, preferably, a tractor. And, while we’re talking about things I need, I will also be needing a different perspective on slogging through mud in the rain and cold, because it seems like I will be doing a lot of that in the garden, as well. All that to say that my dreams of a huge garden have been put on hold for now, in the face of reality.

Microgreens in container
But it really didn’t feel right to not be growing ANYTHING here in the cottage. So I planted a little container of microgreens – perhaps you have seen them at Trader Joe’s in a tiny little box for about $6? Mirogreens are what happens when a seed germinates and is given just a little bit more time to grow. All the energy and nutrients of the entire plant which have been locked up inside that tiny seed explode out and are concentrated in one spindly shoot and two practice leaves. While you could never sit down and eat the nutritional equivalent of 100 full-grown broccolli plants (think of the bathroom issues, oh my), you can intake the equivalent of that energy with just a handful of microgreens. Plus, they taste good and make your salad look pretty. AND microgreens are super easy to grow, take up almost no space, and can be raised practially for free. Now you can spend that $6 at Trader Joe’s on a bouquet of flowers to congratulate yourself for being so healthy and frugal.

Here’s what I did. To make my microgreen seed mix I simply dug out all my old seed packets and mixed together a bunch of the left-overs. I never seem to use up an entire packet of seeds, so I have a bunch lying around. I think this particular mix is kale, lettuce, broccoli, parsley, and chervil. You could use anything really, but I would steer clear of tomatoes, eggplant, and pepper seeds since they won’t come up well and you really shouldn’t eat the leaves of those plants anyways. If you don’t have seeds lying around and don’t feel like buying any, I promise that your gardener friends will have extra seeds they would be happy to give you.

My growing container is the empty plastic box of spinach I bought. I poked a bunch of holes in the bottom, then filled it with regular ol’ dirt from outside the front door, using the plastic lid as a drip tray underneath. I sprinkled the seed mix generously over the top of the dirt (it’s ok to use a lot because your seedlings don’t need much room to spread out), dusted the seeds over with a very thin layer of dirt, put it in a sunny (well, sometimes sunny) window and watered. This is a very rewarding project, because you will see your seeds start to come up in just a few days. A week or two after that, you can harvest them. I use a pair of kitchen scissors and cut them just above dirt level, rinse them off, and they are ready to go! Once they are all harvested, you can do it all again. And again. And again. I think this is going to be the only fall garden I get, so I plan on raising a LOT of microgreens!
Microgreens 2
Do you have any smal space gardening projects going on? I’d love to hear about them…

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