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If you are as busy as I am these weeks before Christmas, well, then you will appreciate my blog post that gets to the point. Microgreens are not a trend that will pass, if you are smart, they will be a part of your weekly diet. There, I said it. I feel these little nutrient-dense fuel packed veggies are something we all should be eating!

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 They are not that hard to grow. I use coir to grow mine in, but you can use a variety of mediums + some people don’t grow them in anything but a particular grow mat that is not recyclable. I prefer to use Coir/CocoTek, but it can be a bit expensive however when you grow your microgreens on it and add it to your soil it serves two purposes. We know coir is good for soil retention in your gardens, so what an excellent addition to soil building for your outdoor growing area. You help your soil outside become more efficient during the growing season + get your nutrient dense “green-vitamins”/ microgreens all winter long. It is a win-win situation! (read more here how to grow microgreens)

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I prefer “green-vitamins” those that you eat rather than take in pill forms. These mighty little “green-vitamins” provide a great way for us to stay healthy. I do have cole crops to harvest over the winter, but they get a bit scarce as we enter the second half of winter.

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I don’t purchase microgreen mixes from different companies or buy kits, etc. I just put some coir in a small tray ( about 8 x 8 + 2.5 inches tall) that, I purchased for about 3.00 dollars. Buy a quality sprayer ( one that has a hold option, so you don’t have to keep pumping) to mist your microgreens as they grow. I also use a small watering bottle when they become a bit dense;it seems to keep them healthy. If you grow your seedlings put them under your grow lights. Some people germinate them in the dark. I found they work just fine with light since most seed ( not all) needs light to grow. If you don’t grow your garden seedlings put them near a “bright” sunny window. How simple is that?

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I no longer purchase a lot of green drinks/expensive vitamins; I grow my vitamins! There are many types of microgreens you can grow, but that is your personal preference. I have tried a variety, but some of them were a bit too expensive for the seeds. It came down to, for me, growing those that were most beneficial to my health. I settled on growing only red cabbage + broccoli. They are quick to germinate + the seed is not as expensive as other microgreens. It is about how much time you have, space + amount of microgreens you would like to grow. The key is to experiment + try some in your recipes for that is the only way to figure out your needs.

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 They take just a little over a week to be ready to add to your daily meals. I have been experimenting with them in our weekly menu. You can’t cook with them ( so they say-LOL-I have no doubt someone one will try) but they are great to replace lettuce, or add to many of your weekly dishes.

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I am in the process of working them into our diet. I had a bit of a struggle this past month since I tried them in larger trays. The black growing trays did not work as well for me ( 11 x 22), I found they dried out a bit more. Well, if you skip a misting when they are larger it does stunt them, and they do not grow as well. That is why I put them in smaller trays ( no larger than 8 x  8 + 2.5 deep) + they are growing great. I also watched a video where they told you to sow the seed a bit more loosely across the soil. Well, I found they were not as abundant. I sow seed VERY densely in a small 8 x 8 container + use scissors to cut the microgreens. I usually put the tray on the counter where I prepare meals. I am still in the “discovery stage” of using them in our diet. I feel it is a matter of experimenting and adding them to your weekly dishes.

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When I was biking this summer along the river, I found if I ate a cup full before a bike ride, I had more energy. Well, I don’t know if the microgreens were what gave me the extra energy but they sure convinced me to add them to my diet! I affectionately call them my “green-vitamins” and I sure hope you find a bit of space to give them a try this winter. I decided this year, to grow them year round! The science is behind them now since they “Have Up to 40 Times More Vital Nutrients Than Mature Plants.” I have to admit that they will never replace all of their grown-up veggies in my Urban Potager, but they sure pack a punch of nutrient-dense “green-vitamins!” They are not a fad!

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Here are two cups of microgreens, shredded carrot, cheese + walnuts. This was great without dressing! Try it, I am not kidding!

Let me know how it goes if you decide to grow them or have any tips or advice for others from your growing experience, please share!

Tiny Microgreens Packed With Nutrients

Microgreens Have Up to 40 Times More Vital Nutrients Than Mature Plants
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 31, 2012 — They may be tiny, but a new study shows trendy microgreens punch well above their weight when it comes to nutrition.

Researchers found microgreens like red cabbage, cilantro, and radish contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients than their mature counterparts.

Microgreens are young seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs harvested less than 14 days after germination. They are usually about 1-3 inches long and come in a rainbow of colors, which has made them popular in recent years as garnishes with chefs.

Although nutritional claims about microgreens abound on the Internet, this study is the first scientific evaluation of their nutritional content. Researchers say they were astonished by the results.

“The microgreens were four- to 40-fold more concentrated with nutrients than their mature counterparts,” says researcher Qin Wang, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland in College Park. “When we first got the results we had to rush to double and triple check them.”

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer

48 comments

  1. I have grown sprouts in a container on the bench but never like this, your food looks so good! I noticed the lovely image on the right and found your new blog, well done Robbie 🙂 Your site photography is such eye candy!

    1. Wendy-I remember you mentioning it to me before but these are “microgreens” not the sprouts. They are the first growth/first leaves of the seed and they are baby greens/microgreens. The sprouts are good for you, too but these do not sit in water, so they don’t have the issues with mainly “E. coli and Salmonella.” The sprouts were in the news lately in the USA for these problems. I researched microgreens for I had read a few articles that these were easier to grow + did not have the issues with making people ill. They don’t sit in water + they grow to about 2-3 inches. They are so tender to eat!
      I am not too keen on growing all the others people grow for it wastes a lot of seed + take forever to grow. I just grow red cabbage and broccoli- I found these are ready in no later than 2 weeks which means you can keep them growing all winter long. The flavor is amazing!

    2. I forgot to say “thank u” for your kind comment about being “eye-candy”:-)I see plants as little growing-green sculptures that just need to be seen up close, to discover how really wonderful + beautiful they are:-) nature at her best!

  2. Fascinating and another inspiring post Robbie. This is definitely something I would like to try as even in the polytunnel greens are getting a bit scarce now:)

    1. You have to try growing these-they are so amazing for you + the flavor is just delicate, full + something so good-words do not serve it well-lol. I only grow the red cabbage and broccoli- any cole crop tend to germinate quickly for microgreens. The others ( types) were a bit more touchy + did not germinate as quickly. I found a few cup fulls of these microgreens is perfect for a winter salad. I shredded the carrot over them + some cheese–no dressing needed! Perfecto-trust me:-) I also like putting them with nacho’s-yum! Let me know how it goes, or do a post yourself of your review on these nutrient-dense powerhouses.
      My kale is showing some wear and tear out there, but it is nice to have these to add to the menu for greens-well worth the effort!

  3. I grow micro greens all year round on my kitchen bench – I generally grow a mixture which I am inclined to forget the contents of, but includes broccoli and red cabbage. I eat some most days even if it is just a sprinkle on top of the dish. I even float some on top of hot soup which makes them go soggy – and probably kills the nutrients, if you leave them there too long 🙂 I noticed a while back that if I miss my greens for a day or two I notice the lack. Another great post Robbie – I’m waiting for the book to come out 🙂 xoxo

    1. I remember you telling me you grew some yourself. I noticed a burst in energy in my bike ride the morning I gabbed a few handfuls. I thought, I must just be imagining it-but if you noticed it , there must be something to it!
      Do you use natural light for yours? I have mine under grow lights and have not tried them without light. They say they grow without grow lights…sunny window?

      1. My kitchen gets quite a lot of light and sunshine. In summer I tend to move them away from the window [too much sun] and in the winter, into the window for maximum light and any sun that might be going. I definitely know when they are missing from my diet – also the kefer and jun pro-biotics now too. It all helps keep the gut alkaline as it is the acidic state that causes disease. Have you come across the articles claiming that all cancer patients have acidic guts in common? It is quite interesting. You have probably altered yours with the growing and eating of your own vegetables 🙂

      2. Pauline-please send me your articles on that subject. I do know about the acid/alkaline state, but any info you have- send it my way since I really enjoy learning from all sources. You can never have enough knowledge in our battle against disease!
        I may try them under the window in my south-facing window to see how they do:-) What an easy way to keep ourselves healthy.You don’ t need a lot of space. I have my husband eating them ,too + my kids all have been given seed + instructions on microgreens. They are our miracle vitmains:-)

  4. What beautiful green “eye candy”! I wish I had space /light to grow them! I used to sprout the alfalfa seeds in jars until the news they weren’t safe came out. I love making green juice and get that energy high with just 1/2 cup at a time. Once again, education at my fingertips–thank you, Robbie!

    1. You should give these a try for you just need two /four trays going + they work without grow lights. Pauline from NZ, grows them in her kitchen with light from windows:-) These are not in water so that is not a problem. Only 14 days old-max:-) I started growing these because there were so many problems with the sprouts. Microgreens are eye-candy + yummy,too:-)

      1. Just be careful where you purchase seed. I would not purchase more than 1/4 pound + I would not purchase seed that is labeled for microgreens. They are charging way too much:-( Eliza-asked me how much to purchase + I was shopping around to find some good sources-crazy extremes in prices. You sure don’t need ‘organic” seed for microgreens + wow what they want for it. It is amazing how seed is getting expensive. I searched under bulk prices + found some better sources. Don’t purchase too much until you are sure you like it. I had some left over from last year but when I looked today for her, I was stunned how the prices are going up. I bet they are aware people are buying it, in bulk for microgreens. I am sticking with red cabbage + broccoli since they are not too bad. It does have a great taste + sure is healthy for you:-) I guess, you have to look at them as if they are vitamins-lol

  5. Inspiring post, Robbie. I am missing the weekly fresh greens from our summer-to-fall CSA and my digestion misses those great enzymes. I might give this a try. I appreciate your stressing the difference between sprouts and microgreens in the comments. It is an important point. How much seed do you buy at a time, a pound?

    1. Eliza, I would start with a 1/4 pound bag of maybe two that you would like to grow. I would look for a bulk seller of seed. I don’t feel it has to be “organic” which would be too expensive for bulk seed to use for microgreens. Try a company that sells non-gmo seeds/posts “safe-seed-pledge”. I meant to answer your question earlier , but It took me longer to find bulk seed. Wow, it has changed since last year, wonder if microgreens are the new market for sellers. Just search under bulk seed. The prices are all over the place-do check and compare. I was a bit surprised by how it has changed this last year all the prices. They may have caught on people are using them for microgreens+ upped the price:-(

      1. 🙂 true-I guess we have to look at it as we are buying our vitamins:-) + these we grow ourselves-lol Look forward to a post from you about microgreens:-) Get the word out-they are healthy!

  6. As well as being healthy and packed full of goodness, they look delicious, Robbie. You have really inspired me to try them. I had been put off by the health hazards that I read about. I didn’ t realise that that only applied to sprouts and not to micro greens. Another great post.

    1. I was not eager to try sprouts after I read about all the health hazards:-)too. These are a great addition to weekly meals, when greens are scarce from the garden:-) The health benefits + how they made me feel inspired me to keep a couple of trays around during the summer to use as my “green-vitamins.” I can see why they are so expensive if you purchase them from the store/market since they are labor intensive + costly with the amount of seed a grower would have to spend. Growing them in a sunny window /under grow lights is a great way to keep the cost down!

  7. Robbie I have no doubt micro greens are more nutritious! I have never grown micro greens but you have encouraged me. I usually rely on sprouts through the winter which are also very nutritious – no dirt involved. I have a great little sprouter I purchased from Johnny’s Seeds. I find I like the broccoli the best – the radish sprouts are very zippy! I put them on everything – particularly good on a hummus sandwich, veggie burger, or atop Asian dishes. Great on top of salads, of course, and sometimes soup. It is a great way to eat fresh over the winter unless you migrate – sorry, just had to throw that in. We have been eating very well. We discovered a place in Gainesville called Vegan2go that prepares three days worth of meals for a fair price – the best of both worlds – awesome fresh food and no cooking! I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to eat their vitamins – Vegan2go.us. Thanks to them, I just tried bitter melon for the first time – delicious!

    1. awww-shucks-Kathy, you are allowed to migrate + remind us snow bunnies ( lol) where you snow birds are:-) BUTTTT…you have to send pictures our way so we can “gawk” and and be envious-tee hee-but HAPPY for you:-)
      I have not been on my blog the past week + just headed over to your last post December 7th-I have some catching up to do since I thought you were gone and would not be posting anything until you got there, but I was wrong.
      Thank you for sharing your info on sprouts + Vegan2go.us:-) Do give the microgreens a try, you might like them even better! They are tender + have a mouthful of exciting flavors!

  8. I have eaten micro-greens and enjoyed them but I haven’t grown any. Mainly because I can’t keep up with the green that needs eating in the garden. 😀

    1. lol:-) so true. I have found them useful this winter due to my kale slowing down. We have some pretty harsh winters here in zone 5, Midwest(USA) where green disappears from our landscape for a few months + unless you have a hoop house/green house on your property there is not too much that withstands the cold weather. Our Blue Scotch Dwarf Kale + few other cole crops do well but once it dips for many days below zero they are gone. If your winters are not as harsh + year round greens abound:-) they are the best fresh:-) The interesting thing about microgreens is their rich nutrient content ( in comparison to their full-size) which is helpful for health:-) It may be useful helping people heal-I ponder-interesting science supports the claims now:-)

      1. I need a boost of micro greens right now. Have suddenly developed a sore throat. Haven’t had one for years. So annoying right before Christmas. I will eat another handful of blackcurrants and boysenberries instead. 🙂

      2. yep, those anthocyanins ( purple colored fruits and veggies) fight a lot of stuff-hope you feel a lot better soon. I have been battling one,too!

  9. The second half of winter?! Did I miss something? I thought your winter started in December Ms Robbie! I really hope that I didn’t just sleep WAY too long and wake up in the middle of January…Have you tried sunflower seed greens? Gorgeous little tasty babies that taste like they are fattening but that are power packed nutrient bombs of great happiness. Cheers for sharing your adventures in microgreen growing. Come winter 2015 I will be attempting to grow my own in coir lined trays 🙂

    1. Well, in theory it starts in November, but last year it started in October!!! We had a snow storm the second week of October ( and all the way to Thanksgiving). It lasted too long last winter. Today I rode on the River for two hours:-) Beautiful ride:-) Well, in December it is considered the middle of winter. January and February usually are the second half.We start seeing evidence of spring by March. Butttt…last year winter went from October to 1st week of May-7 1/2 months! Way too much:-) This year it is what our typical winter is like. We may have a snow by Christmas but usually it is after December + mostly just the month of Jan+ feb. We are not up north, in the middle so ours are a bit milder.
      I will have to check out sunflower seed greens. I am enjoying growing + eating microgreens:-) The thing that impressed me about microgreens- the science supports the evidence they are nutrient-dense. Finally “data” that lets us know how good they are for our bodies:-)In the article the scientist was astounded at how nutrient dense they were in comparison to their full grown vegetables. He had to double check his date, for he could not believe it. When microgreens first hit the market a lot of claims but no sound “scientific evidence.” Pretty neat , we have the proof now:-)

      1. 🙂 I will:-) for I know you would not tell me if they were not as great as they were!!! Do I just use sunflower seeds to start them like the microgreens?

  10. Excellent piece of information, Robbie… thanks for posting… think I should be trying to do this the next season… Happy new year to you and your loved ones, and Happy 2015-Gardening…

    1. Happy New Year to you!!! Oh, you would love these as a small salad. We have been eating them as salads during the winter + they are tender with a little carrot grated ( or any vegetable) and no dressing. It does not need any sort of dressing, just delicate and melts in your mouth! The flavor is amazing:-) You would also have fun taking photos of the little greens-you are great with macro-so no doubt you would have some lovely photos. I only grow the red cabbage + broccoli micros for they are tender and done around the same time-
      Happy Gardening in 2015!

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