Monday, March 18, 2013

Microgreens in March

I am always interested in finding new ways to grow plants and experimenting with ways to do so on a tight energy budget.  This is our latest success story:  Sarah and I started growing microgreens next to our south-facing bedroom window last week.  We didn't quite know how much light we needed to grow our pea and sunflower shoots but we seem to have enough.  We are very happy to report that we didn't need a grow light.  The pictures below show a few of the stages.  

Day 5.  Little baby pea shoots opening their first set of seed leaves or 'cotyledons'.  

Day 5.  A cute little sunflower shoot.  

Day 10.  Two trays of microgreens.  Pea shoots on the left and sunflower shoots on the right.  

Day 15.  Post harvest.  Our microgreens aren't so 'micro' anymore.    

There has been an increasing hype around microgreens recently as they have been said to contain tons of nutrients.  In a quick internet search, I discovered that there is some debate about just how healthy microgreens are.  This NPR article refers to an August 2012 study out of the University of Maryland that concludes that microgreens contain more nutrients than mature leaves of the same plant.  This source (scroll to the bottom of the page) contests the researcher's experimental design and remains skeptical about their findings.  Here is some info about the August 2012 study, which was the first of its kind.  Apparently, claims made before the University of Maryland study was conducted (and there are alot of them) were not based on evidence.

Well, I for one don't need too many nutrient-based reasons to grow microgreens in my bedroom in March.  Vegetables are good for you (no matter how 'micro' or 'macro' they are) and growing them at home reduces my carbon footprint.  Seems like a no brainer to me.      

If you are interested in growing microgreens at your own home you can check out A good how-to guide for growing micro greens.

At the Armstrong Education Center I am likely to continue growing microgreens because they are mobile (just pick up the tray!), taste great and (some say) nutritious.  I will have no trouble growing them in the long days of summer and now I know that I can always throw them in front of a south facing window in late fall and early spring.  Happy growing!    

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