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?