6 Multi-Purpose Vegetable Seeds to Get You Thinking Outside the Garden Box
1. Alfalfa - (Medicago sativa)
This ancient field crop has only recently been celebrated for its multi-purpose benefits both in and out of the garden. Alfalfa is a proven winter-hardy cover crop seed that matures in 60-70 days, but can be quickly sprouted in 4-6 days for fresh, flavorful culinary use. Alfalfa seed can be grown and juiced as a nutrient-dense wheatgrass in 7-10 days.
2. Cilantro - (Coriandrum sativum)
Known most popularly throughout the world as coriander, cilantro seed is among the many herb seeds that can be enjoyed raw along with fennel and chia. Cilantro can be harvested as early as 50-60 days, but try growing as a microgreens seed for an even quicker 21 day harvest. Cilantro plants perform just as strong indoors as they do out.
Other Uses: Raw, Microgreens Seed, Indoor Countertop Gardening
3. Onion - (Allium cepa)
Large and bulbous when grown in the garden, onion seeds are known to require up to 100 days until harvest, usually best after a long winter. Home cooks don’t need to wait that long for fresh onion flavor when you can simply grow the seed as a 14-day microgreens or soilless sprout all from the convenience of your kitchen.
4. Pea - (Pisum sativum)
Pea seeds are one of the first fruiting crops to produce in early spring and can be harvested even sooner when grown as an indoor sprout or microgreens seed. Rich in protein, fiber, and several trace minerals, simple pea sprouts are ready to harvest in 2-4 days while robust chlorophyll-rich pea microgreens are ready in 8-14 days. Try as an essential and restorative overwintering cover crop!
5. Sunflower - (Helianthus annuus)
The head of a sunflower is not actually one bloom, but consists of thousands of individual flowers to attract pollinators to your garden. While the sunflower has proven its worth in the garden as a companion plant, the value of its seed is only just now being recognized as a quick 2-3 day sprout or a sweet and delicious 7-10 microgreen seed.
6. Wheat - (Triticum aestivum)
Wheat is among the hardiest and most versatile seeds in the entire world. Traditionally grown for spring harvest while helping to restore soil tilth and structure to winter soils, wheat seed is also synonymous as a 7-10 day microgreen for freshly-pressed wheatgrass juice, but may also be soaked overnight for DIY milling, baking, or sprouting.
- David Bernal