Wondering how to make your balanced diet complete or how to make your recipes nutrient-rich? Let me introduce you to a potent contributor, the microgreens. Yes, you heard it right, it is the baby greens, that is enriched with the nutrients that can make your platter nourishing. Let a bunch of these radiant babies enter your diet and see the magic for yourself.
Microgreens are the intermediate stage between a sprout and the greens of a plant. Where sprouts are produced by overnight soaking of seeds, microgreens are harvested after two weeks of growth. They are more nutrient-dense than their other counterparts and easier to grow and harvest. The flavour ranges from neutral to spicy, based on the seed material used for propagation, so you can suit your taste. It also comes in a range of colours, so you also get to choose your plate of art. Approximately 1 to 3 inches tall, these microgreens possess a life cycle of 7-21 days of a growth cycle.
Unlike the usual cultivation of agricultural produce, microgreens can be produced from a wide range of plant families. Afterall all that we need are those two-leaved babies. The most popular among them are:
- Cole crops like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, mustard, watercress, radish and arugula
- Bulb crops like onion, garlic and leek
- Cucurbits like melon, cucumber and squash
- Green leafy vegetables like amaranth, spinach, lettuce, endive and chicory
- Legumes such as chickpeas, beans and lentils
- Spices like dill, fennel and celery
- Cereals such as rice, wheat, oats, corn and barley
Nutritionally superior to its other two stages, microgreens are definitely a definitive choice for those who aim for a healthy lifestyle. They are rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper, although the concentration varies based on the seeds used. They are a rich source of concentrated vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and antioxidants. Nutrient levels in microgreens can be nine times higher than those in fully grown-up greens.
HOW TO GROW
CONTAINER: Microgreens can be grown in trays and containers of all shapes and sizes, provided that there should be drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
MEDIA: The most widely used media is cocopeat along with farmyard manure. Tissue paper with a continuous supply of moisture is also preferable.
SOWING: Direct sowing, as well as pre-soaking overnight and sowing, are preferred.
REQUIREMENTS: Light and water are the primary requirements of growth
HARVEST: As mentioned before, microgreens will be ready to harvest after 2 to 3 weeks, i.e. when they are 1 to 3 inches tall
Since microgreens are gaining popularity among city dwellers, the demand is expected to be high. It can be grown in a limited space with very limited resources and can ensure a steady supply to meet market demand. Contradictory to other categories of veggies, microgreens can be entitled organic as it is not fed with any kind of inorganic chemicals.