Have you ever heard of microgreens? Most people have heard of sprouts and greens of course but the number of folks that know what microgreens are is a small but growing number.
We are Chuck and Heather Vessey of Vessey Ranch. Today we are going to discuss this relatively new way of getting the veggies you need. I say relatively only because so many people are not yet familiar with them even though they have been around quite some time now.
According to Wikipedia, “Microgreens are vegetable greens harvested just after the cotyledon leaves have developed”. Cotyledon is a fancy way of saying the first leaves or baby leaves if you will.
These tiny plants are packed full of nutrition. In fact, WebMD had an article about them in August of 2012 saying they “have up to 40 times more vital nutrients than mature plants”. There are many sources out there that you can look at to see what the experts are saying about microgreens.
Microgreens can come from a variety of plants. We use beets, sunflower, collards, kale, cabbage, turnips, mustard, radish and peas. What’s really cool to me since I’m not a big fan of vegetables is that they taste a little like the full-grown plant but not much. So, if you don’t like beets you can eat a more nutritious version without more than a hint of the taste.
There are at least as many ways to use these amazing little plants as there are options of plants. We mix them together and use it as our salad. The taste from the mixture is great. We add some cheese and dressing and done. I also use them in my morning smoothies. Others have told us that they will use them any place you would use other vegetables such as lettuce. Sandwiches, topping for tacos, garnish. These are some of the ways that professional chefs use them as well. They add texture, color and flavor. The beets for example are a beautiful reddish-purple color.
Besides the nutritional value that you get there is another cool aspect of microgreens. If you can get the conditions right, temperature, humidity, soil mixture and water to name a few, you can grow them in a week or less from seed to ready to harvest. Getting everything perfectly balanced is tricky and a change of temperature can change it from a week to two or more. Growing them in the winter takes longer than in the summer.
If you want to grow them it is best to have them inside where you have a better chance of controlling all the factors. A greenhouse is an option or simply an area in your house.
When we started growing them it was a lot of trial and error. More error than anything at first. There are still times when we look at them and scratch our head and have that “Huh?” look on our faces. What worked fine for the last several months did nothing this week. Could just be a batch of seeds that wasn’t very good. It is hard to know sometimes.
We have a decent set up with grow lights and a shelf that we can spread the trays out on. I will be working on making the area where we have them a little more climate controlled before winter returns.
If you’re interested in learning more about them, we will be offering that chance at one of our upcoming classes. By joining us, hopefully you can bypass some of the errors that we dealt with while getting started.
In the near future we will be looking to add this and more classes on other subjects that we have learned over the years. We have taught soap making and essential oils classes in the past. Some of the other topics we want to teach include moringa, backyard construction of things like chicken coops, goat butchering and rainwater collection. Topics that a surprising number of people want to learn more about.
We held our chicken processing class earlier in October and it went very well. Those that attended went home with some knowledge and a fresh chicken.
For more information and to stay in the loop when we have dates for our classes, like and follow Vessey Ranch on Facebook