Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Upper South
February, 2013
Regional Report

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Newly sprouted microgreens promise a fresh addition to meals soon.

Grow Your Own Fast Food This Winter

Green and growing houseplants are a wonderful antidote to winter's gray days, but why not up the ante and make them edible, too? Expensive to buy, home-grown microgreens provide fresh flavors at an economical price. Plus, it's easy to grown your own.

Choosing Seeds
Consider all type of lettuce, plus arugula, beets, radish, turnip, endive, spinach, amaranth, any of the Asian greens, broccoli, kale, mustard, cabbage, quickly sprouting herbs like basil, dill, fennel, and cilantro, or your favorite mesclun mix. The real standout, flavor-wise, are young pea shoots, which taste exactly like peas. In choosing seed, just be sure it hasn't been treated with any chemicals. Organic seed is your best option to ensure this.

Growing Microgreens
There are special containers sold for growing microgreens, but, really, all you need is a container at least 2 inches deep. Simply up-cycle one of the clear plastic containers that salad greens are sold in at the grocery. Just be sure to use a knife or scissors to cut several holes in the bottom for drainage. Add 1 to 2 inches of potting or seed-starting mix or fine vermiculite and moisten. Sprinkle seeds onto the surface, cover with additional moistened mix or vermiculite, loosely attach the lid, and set on a tray to catch the water.

Set the container in a spot with bright but not direct light. Water from the bottom as needed, then remove the lid when the seeds germinate. Once there are several sets of leaves, usually in about 10 to 14 days, you're ready to harvest. Use a scissors to clip the greens just above the soil level. Add the remaining contents to your compost pile and begin again. To have a continuous supply, start seeds for microgreens every week.

Using Microgreens
Microgreens are a delicious topping for salads, soups, sandwiches, and stir-fries. Experiment with using different vegetables for a variety of flavors.

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