If you don’t have a ton of space to grow your own salad gardens, you can still grow yummy, nutritional greens with the help of microgreens and sprouts!
Hello, wonderful readers! I’m back to talk to you about my favorite ways I’ve started growing greens. As you all may know, I don’t have a lot of space in my apartment, or on my patio, so saving space with my gardening is key. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, and have a patio covered in plants and greens, as well as a ton inside. I eat a lot of greens, more than is sustainable for me to grow myself in the space I have. It makes me a little sad. However, with the two techniques I’ll be sharing today, you too can grow super yummy greens, and save space while not losing any of the nutritional value of the plants. Plus, you’ll have tons of greens to eat. So, let’s talk about microgreens and sprouts!
First things first. Let’s talk about sprouts. I love growing sprouts. Alfalfa sprouts have been my favorite. They have a nice flavor to them. But, you can grow almost any kind of sprout. I will say the best thing you can do is buy good seeds. Not those ones you get in the tiny packages from home improvement stores. I get my alfalfa seeds here so I know the seeds are good, the germination is high, and I’m getting the best sprouts possible.
A lot of health food stores may have what you want to grow. Sunflower seed sprouts, lentils, beans, and others can be bought in bulk from stores. Who knew? My favorite part about edible sprouts is that they only take a few days to grow. Remember those science classes where you would sprout the lima bean? Same concept. The sprout is the tiny seedling created when the plant is just starting to grow. See how they kind of clump together? These are great little sprouts! They’re high in nutritional value, since all the good stuff in the plant you are growing is concentrated into a tiny little nugget.
The best way I have found to grow sprouts in my apartment is super simple, and you can do it too! Look at these cute little sprout jars. All you need are some nice seeds, some cheesecloth (or fine mesh works too), and a quart sized mason jar. I have a few varieties of seeds, but mostly I use alfalfa and beet. You can honestly sprout anything!
Now, here’s the tricky part. Take a tablespoon of the seeds and soak them overnight in the mason jar. Cover the top with cheesecloth or mesh to let air flow in and out of the jar. In the morning, pour the water out (the cheesecloth will keep the seeds in) and swish clean water around the seeds. Pour out excess water and leave your little indoor sprout garden jar on the counter. Every day, swish new water around. Try to also rotate the jar around so your growing plants are up on the sides of the glass and not in a big clump at the bottom. We want to encourage air flow and growth. After about 4-5 days, you should have teeny little leaves forming. When you rinse the plants this time, move to a sunny window. Your sprouts will be ready when the leaves are vibrant! You can eat them in salads, on sandwiches and wraps, or by themselves if you’re like me.
Microgreens are a bit different. I don’t have a lot of experience growing these because I find sprouts to be much easier. Microgreens take longer to grow, and you need to have them in some sort of medium. I’ve done soil, but I want to experiment with hydroponics eventually (growing them in water, that is). I am lucky enough to have some pretty well-lit areas in my apartment to grow these puppies, so I don’t need any kind of grow light. Since they’re going to be growing longer, you can use any seeds you like. They’ll grow completely out of the shell, so there’s no worries there. If you have particular greens you like to eat, this is a great way to get super concentrated nutrients from those plants into your diet. Microgreens are pretty awesome.
Like with sprouts, you can grow microgreens from pretty much anything. You’ll start them fairly similarly, although you won’t need quite so many seeds. Soak about a teaspoon or less of seeds overnight. Rinse, and plant your microgreen seeds in a shallow container that drains. You don’t need a lot of soil. Water these puppies well, and grow them until they are a few inches tall. Super concentrated nutritional power, itty bitty living space!
You will need more light for these, and if you can get a windowsill garden set up, that would be fantastic! Otherwise, if you don’t have good sunlight in your apartment, you might need some grow lights. Once they are starting to spout a few sets of leaves, they are ready! You can pick them from the microgreen trays, or cut them at soil level. They’ll need to be rinsed well before eating due to the soil. They’re great in salads, on sandwiches, burgers or wraps, or however else you like to eat your greens. I bet these would be great to add into green smoothies. Talk about making awesome nutrient rich smoothies!
The cool thing about both of these types of greens is that you can grow them all year round. That’s the beauty of being able to grow things indoors. You can control when you have yummy plants to eat! I noticed it was very easy to start a new jar for sprouts when one is ready to eat. If you think ahead, you can plan to have greens constantly! I’ll keep you guys in the loop on my micro garden experiments. I’m excited to try growing them again, and have more and more greens ready to enjoy in my life. And on the plus side, the more you grow yourself, the less you have to buy. And you can be proud of the fact you can grow some of your own food.
Well, there you have it, folks! Some of the new ways I am growing greens indoors. Have you ever done either of these? Are there any specific questions you have about growing them? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this post with all your family and friends. Until next time, stay creative, my friends!
**Featured image via lowimpact.org