What are Microgreens? - How To Get Started Growing
Microgreens are tiny edible plants, usually vegetable garden plants, that are grown in quantity and harvested while they are still juvenile plants. They are grown in a medium like soil or a hydroponic grow pad and are usually grown and harvested at about 10 days, which is usually 7 or 8 days past the sprout stage.
They are grown in trays and can be grown right on your kitchen countertop or outdoors on a porch or patio. They are used in salads, sandwiches, slaws, soups and garnishes.
We first noticed that something was going on when on a business trip to California several years ago, we saw microgreens salads on the menus of a few restaurants. We were pretty surprised to see such a healthy live foods idea in a mainstream restaurant. What was more intriguing to us was that people were calling them “microgreens”.
You see, we had been growing micro greens (without calling them that…) since 1991! Before we started selling wheatgrass growing kits, we ran a small greenhouse providing primarily wheatgrass and barley grass to local health food stores and juice bars in the Salt Lake City area. We also grew sunflower and buckwheat for use in salads, and they were pretty popular with some of our health food stores.
We never called them “microgreens” however. For us, they were always “sunflower greens” and “buckwheat greens”. So we are proud to have been so far ahead of the micro greens curve, growing and enjoying these amazingly different salad greens for so many years. Early on, we created a greens growing kit and have sold thousands of them, but these kits really only focused on the two greens we started with 20 years ago now: sunflower and buckwheat.
Since microgreens have gone mainstream (and are still just now really catching on), we have been working hard in the past year or so to dramatically expand our microgreens offering to include many different and exotic varieties of microgreens, including our old standbys; sunflower and buckwheat. The result is www.trueleafmarket.com's microgreen product line up, which now offers both soil-based and hydroponic growing kits, supplies, and over 40 types of microgreens seeds so you can grow delicious and healthy micro salad greens and baby salad greens right on your kitchen counter.
We have grown literally hundreds of trays of microgreens to refine the process to help you grow healthy crops of these amazingly flavored salad treats. Sunflower microgreens still remain our all time favorite but you’ll be amazed at the flavors and colors of microgreens like sango radish, red amaranth, cilantro, dun pea, russian kale, pak choi and countless others.
One thing we have discovered is that growing microgreens is much more than just a healthy dietary choice. It is an amazingly fun and fulfilling hobby, especially growing hydroponically, which is clean, fast and takes up amazingly little space as our friend Wade, the wheatgrass trucker has proven by growing sunflower microgreens in the cab of his truck on his cross country hauls! Because microgreens grow so quickly you can enjoy almost instant gratification of gardening over and over, and it gives you the opportunity to experiment not only with growing techniques, but also different types of microgreens combinations in salads and food preparation generally.
We hope you will give this amazing new approach to live foods a try and share you experiences, growing tips and recipes with us. We will pass along the collective knowledge on the website and further updates in this newsletter.
All the best from the crew at True Leaf Market! Also check out our Mini Microgreens Kits!
- Kat Jones