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Wedel's Nursery, Florist and Garden Center

Microgreens for Winter Meals

Unlike sprouts, microgreens are vegetables or herbs that are grown in a shallow container of media (also known as seed-starting mix) by a sunny windowsill or under fluorescent lights. Microgreens are harvested when plants are still small and immature with a pair of cotyledons and sometimes the first set of true leaves just opening. In this tender young stage, nutrients are concentrated, textures are delicate, and you can enjoy the essence of each flavor as an accent to your favorite dish.   Use a shallow container to grow microgreens with drainage holes. Make sure to wash the container in warm soapy water to remove debris and then sanitize in a 1:9 ratio of bleach to water for 30 minutes. When the containers have finished soaking, rinse them in clean water prior to use. Fill your container up to a half-inch from the rim with media. Ideally, use an all-organic seed starting medium to give your plants a healthy start; our favorite is Dairy Doo All-Organic Seed Starting Mix. Make sure the soil stays moist, but not soggy. Watering by soaking the tray from below will prevent soil from splashing onto the plants. Frequently misting with a spray bottle will also help to achieve the right germinating conditions, but requires more attention. Most varieties are ready in 7-14 days when seedlings are 1-2 inches tall. Once you realize that microgreens are indispensable in the kitchen, you can get really adventurous and try growing individual varieties. Amaranth, arugula, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, and sorrel are all delicious vegetables that can be harvested as microgreens. Some versatile herbs to try include basil, cress, dill, marjoram, oregano, and watercress. There is an excellent selection of microgreen varieties from Botanical Interests seed company including Upland Cress, Red Winter Kale, Green Peas, Micro Mild Mix, Sunflowers and Micro Spicy Mix. Growing microgreens isn’t just practical; it’s also fun! This winter, they will not only enhance the flavor of all your meals, but they will also give you that gardening “fix” when there’s two feet of snow outside. Liven up the dinner table by adding an interactive element. Think how fun it will be for kids or guests to snip their own microgreen freshness from the tray right onto their plates. Everyone will be saying, “Pass the microgreens, please!” Want something that you can hang up? Two of the best hanging “air cleaner” plants are Boston ferns and Spider plants. Of course, the more vigorously your plants grow the better job they will do for you. You should discuss with your houseplant professional about each plant’s needs for lighting, food and water. It’s also a good idea to dust the plant’s leaves off with a damp cloth to allow particles in the air to absorb well. Look at the space you have available and then choose one 10-12 inch potted plant per 100 square feet to effectively purify your air. Another benefit of houseplants is that they look much nicer than putting in an electrical air purifier! Anytime is a great time to start cleaning your indoor air with beautiful houseplants.
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