Saturday, January 15, 2011

Frugal Gardening: Microgreens

The weather is lousy, and you are dreaming of fresh salads and tomato sandwiches. One option is to begin to grow micro greens on a sunny window sill. Micro greens are those tiny, baby plants that chefs like to use as a garnish or in salads.

To start find some of the clear plastic containers used to package take out food. You will need both the top and the bottom. Basically, you will be creating a mini greenhouse. Fill the bottom of the container with sterile potting soil or mix.

Now for seeds; the easiest to start with is broccoli or a broccoli mix. Sprinkle the seeds heavily over the top of the soil. Lightly sprinkle soil over the seeds until just covered. Mist with water in a spray bottle until the soil is damp. Note that I said damp, not wet.

Cover with the clear plastic lid and place in a sunny place. Keep the soil damp with your mister. When the seeds germinate remove the lid. Your greens should be ready to harvest after 5 to 12 days. You are looking for the development of the secondary leaves.

When you harvest use scissors to cut the greens off above the soil. Do not reuse this soil, put it in the garden and restart with new sterile soil.

Another way to add fresh flavor to your winter meals is to grow garlic greens. This time I would use a small pot that fits on the window sill. Use sterile soil. Look for the small garlic cloves in the middle of the bulb. Plant them with just the tip of the cloves showing above the soil, several to a pot. Keep the soil damp, not wet. When they sprout you can snip off the greens with scissors just as you would harvest chives. These greens have a strong garlic flavor.

Enjoy your first gardens of the year.

God bless,

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