Itsy-bitsy garden

Spring is starting to spring (with the usual fickle weather) and gardeners are itching to get to work. Don’t have a garden? It’s still possible to grow yourself some yummy fresh greens. All you need is a few shallow containers with drainage holes and a light spot for them.

I’m talking microgreens. I’ve not given them a go before except outdoors in my vege plot,  so I decided to put a couple of empty ceramic bonsai pots I had kicking around to good use. (Hmmm, yeah, bonsai. Let’s not talk about that garden episode…)

I’ve been inspired to give microgreens a go by a new Kiwi book, How to Grow Microgreens by Fionna Hill, which we’ve just acquired here at the library. A microgreen is defined as a young edible plant that has developed two true leaves beyond its cotyledons (or seed-leaves) so it’s bigger than a sprout but still tender enough that you can gobble everything above the ground whole. My bonsai pots work well – and look good too – but you can use any shallow container. Plastic takeaway containers with holes punched in the bottom work just fine. Your microgreens won’t mind – all they need is about 4cm of  growing medium (I use an organic seed raising mix) to nestle their roots into.

Using untreated seed is important – ask at your garden centre if you’re not sure what to get. Several seed companies now do ranges specifically for microgreens. I’ve just planted red cabbage, “Fiji Feathers” peas (a variety specifically for microgreens), green broccoli, kale, ruruhau (mustard cabbage), fennel and “Bulls’ Blood” beetroot. The fennel seeds have the added bonus of smelling delicious as you plant them – but remember not to sniff the potting mix!

Growing microgreens is just one way to container-garden when your space is limited. Check out your library for a great collection of books on this method of growing.

What garden books have inspired you to grow new things? What have you learned from your successes/failures?

7 thoughts on “Itsy-bitsy garden

  1. Donna 2 September 2010 / 4:02 pm

    Cool post, am keen to try this out at home. Keep us updated on your growing progress – I’d be interested to hear how long it takes from start to mouth.

  2. mj 3 September 2010 / 12:53 pm

    This is my first year for growing kale (turns out I am not much of a fan of how it tastes … but it grows well in my garden!) and garlic (so far, so good, am already starting to see little bits of green poking through the soil).

    I’d love to have the space & time to put in an asparagus bed. Alas, that won’t happen anytime soon!

    As for inspirational reading – The NZ Gardener magazine, and any books by Brenda Little or Dennis Greville.

    • Mojo-Jojo 3 September 2010 / 2:33 pm

      I too love the NZ Gardener, bless its little green socks. I really love their weekly e-newsletter too. Currently, though, I’m besotted with an Englishman – and for once it’s not Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Bob Flowerdew writes fantastic books for the grower of fruit and vege. I’m particularly enjoying his “Complete Book of Companion Gardening,” and “The Gourmet Gardener.”

  3. timelesslady 4 October 2011 / 5:44 am

    Just starting to grow microgreens. I have my seeds ordered, I am reading all the info I can on it. Did you write an update on this? Thanks!

    • Mojo Jojo 5 October 2011 / 11:22 am

      I guess the only update is that I’m still growing ’em! I’m finding they’re great over winter for a boost of fresh green stuff. Still working on timing my successions though… 🙂 Fionna Hill’s book is still my main go-to on this subject – especially since she’s a New Zealander so I know the information’s local.

      • timelesslady 5 October 2011 / 11:55 am

        Thanks…would love to see New Zealand one day…I’m in the US…New Jersey, between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Take care.

  4. Donna 5 October 2011 / 12:16 pm

    Was having a big discussion on how to do this last night – great tips and will get that Fionna Hill book to head in the right direction. Microgreens are so ridiculously tasty.

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