Greetings fellow gardeners,
Well, it has gone from raining with snow in the forecast to the temperature zooming down and the wind zipping up. This time of year seems to be very unpredictable. I have lots of birds and assorted animals foraging in my garden which continues to bring me joy. The seed heads that I left in the fall are still feeding various creatures. I am seeing tracks that I cannot identify and spots and splashes of blood here and there that indicates that there is a fair bit of drama happening here but so far nothing when I am around. This week has been a good one to hunker down and put on a fire in the woodstove.
I have been haunting my plant compound waiting for the peppers to appear. Peppers are notoriously pokey when it comes to germination. Leo, one of my too-many cats, has found an access point and was exploring the plants. This seems to happen early in the morning before breakfast. Apparently, I am not quick enough at feeding time. Because I am itching to get growing and it is too early to start most of my seeds, I thought it would be a good time to revisit growing microgreens. Many of our local nurseries are opening and have varied selections of microgreen seeds available.
I have found that several of my gardening friends are planting and harvesting microgreens at this time of year. Microgreens have a lot of nutrients, and the taste is intense. Last year I purchased Swiss chard microgreen seeds and had great success.
How to Grow Microgreens from Seed
You do not need a fancy setup to grow microgreens.
What are microgreens?
Microgreens are basically the seedlings of edible vegetables like beets and kale, or herbs like basil or parsley. You can purchase seeds that are specifically for microgreens. If you don’t want to so, that is also fine. For example, you can use some of your leftover radish seeds. To maintain seeds for a few hours while you get organized, you can soak them in water for a few hours.
Grow microgreens with soil
- Find a disposable plastic food tray; it can be a take out dish or disposable pie plate. Poke drainage holes in the bottom and make sure it has a see-through lid. You need a lid to ensure the seeds do not dry out. As an alternative, you can cover them with a damp towel. It’s a good idea to place the tray on a cooking sheet or other tray to contain spillage.
- Place about an inch of soil on your seed tray; use of seed starting soil is ideal. Sprinkle the seeds on the soil, water them lightly and let them grow.
- Soon they will develop their first set of leaves. While I put my tray in my plant compound with its overhead lights, you can place yours on a table with a lamp that has a full spectrum light bulb or on a sunny kitchen counter. A full sun location, such as a windowsill, is also good.
- Wait until you see the next set of leaves, or true leaves, and harvest them with scissors. They will continue to produce a couple more harvests, usually over two or three weeks.
I am watching the woodpile closely, hoping to make it through until spring. The feeders are kept full and fresh water is in the winter water feature. Keep supporting your birds as you keep warm. Enjoy your week. Judith.
(Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) Veggie Bites are available at https://sghorticultural.wixsite.com/website or https://gardeningcalendar.ca/articles/veggie-bites/