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A micro lesson

21 June 2021
featured image microgreens july sneak peek
Microgreens are more nutritious than seed sprouts.

Daily nutrients and vitamins can be found in microgreens, but it is sometimes the motivation that is lacking.

Words Michael Unverricht

Several years ago, in a burst of healthy enthusiasm, I purchased several 100g packets of microgreen seed along with trays in which to grow them. I chose the microgreens over seed sprouts as they are more nutritious. This is because microgreens draw additional nutrients from the soil, whereas the only goodness obtained from the sprouting seed is what is contained within the seed at the time of purchase.

For a long time, the microgreen seeds sat on the shelf along with the growing trays. However, Covid-19 changed that. In the few days prior to lockdown level four in 2020, the garden centres sold out of vegetable seedling punnets and, at the same time, online seed merchants experienced an incredible surge in sales and were unable to keep up with the demand for seeds.

I filled the shallow trays to the brim with good potting soil, levelling it off and firming it down. With a high level of soil, it’s easier, at harvest time, to snip off the greens with the kitchen scissors.

Top quality potting soil is essential, as the more nutrients in the soil, the better the nutritional value of the microgreens. I watered the trays by capillary action, placing them in a tray of water. This ensured the newly planted seeds, barely covered by fine soil, were not disturbed.

Seven varieties for a range of tastes & flavours

  1. Cress ‘American Upland’
    This has a mild cress flavour. If ordinary cress is unavailable, ‘American Upland’ is a suitable substitute.
    Ready in three weeks.
  2. Mesclun ‘Kale Blend’
    This variety belongs to the brassica family. It is a mixture of cavolo nero, ‘Red Russian’, ‘Vates Blue Squire’, ‘Red Monarch’ and ‘Pink Stem’ mescluns, or similar. A very versatile microgreen that can be mixed through salads for a subtle background flavour.
    Ready in two weeks.
  3. Beet ‘Rainbow Lights’
    As the name suggests, these microgreens are the colours of the rainbow. With long and lanky stems, it’s better to be more liberal when sowing the seed so plants will support each other.
    Ready in two and half weeks.
  4. Radish ‘Rambo’
    Tasty with the characteristic peppery flavour of radish, this microgreen can be used in sandwiches and stirred through salads. It is a standout taste sensation if sprinkled over Thai pumpkin soup.
    The young shoots are ready in a week.
  5. Mizuna
    An excellent microgreen for taste buds that prefer a mild flavour of mustard.
    Ready in two weeks or less.
  6. Kale ‘Chinese Red’
    A fine-leafed brassica with a mild pepper flavour and pale leaf margins. This variety adds colour to the presentation of a salad.
    Ready in two weeks.
  7. Komatsuna ‘Red Leaf’
    A mild spicy taste that is high in nutrients.
    The leaves are a combination of red and green colours with green undersides. It is quick to mature.
    Ready in one week.

Read more in our July issue

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