So this month I turned fifty. Instead of a weekend away or diamond jewelry, I opted for a grow light system which hubby so sweetly rigged up for me. Watch these bok choy microgreens grow by swiping on your ipad, or use your cursor to click and drag side to side on the image below. Why wait for spring when you can grow fresh greens in winter?
A camera was set up over the course of a week, and we tried to do a shot every hour. Thank you hubby for making my photos move.
Microgreens are tiny tender sprouts that are grown in a medium (hydroponics, soil, baby blanket). Nutrient dense with concentrated flavour they are a perfect garnish to soups, salads or sandwiches. Harvest by snipping with scissors right before eating at 1-1/2 to 2 inches tall.
This is rainbow kale, grown hydroponically in clay pebbles (hydroton). Seeds are sprinkled directly on top, and is misted daily with a spray bottle. Whatever doesn’t get harvested just keeps growing into baby greens. We can’t get enough kale around here, I’ve got four varieties started. There will be plenty of kale here for a winter salad that I recently posted at EatBoutique.
I went a little crazy with seeds here. Some were ordered on the internet, but most came from a health food store. Make sure the seeds you purchase are organic. You may already have some lurking in your pantry — wheat berries, kamut, quinoa, sesame seeds, beans, peas, lentils…
This is “baby blanket”, a natural jute cloth made especially for growing microgreens. Cut a pad to fit your tray, wet it, and add seeds. Keep moist and misted. Tent with plastic keep humidity high. The cloth can be used repeatedly. Be sure to sterilize your blanket between each crop either by boiling or bleaching (soak in 1 tsp of bleach to 1 pint of water and rinse well).
Another method is to first pre-soak your seeds till they begin to sprout, then spread them over the wet baby blanket. Keep the blanket moist. The roots will find their way down in a few days. Pre-soaking is a faster and better way of getting larger seeds to germinate.
This is shanghai bok choy after one day using the “sprinkle direct method”.
This goopy, mucousy grey mess is chia seeds. They are mucilaginous seeds, where the husk turns into a moist and sticky gel sac when wet. Mucilaginous seeds need to be grown in a medium rather than sprouted in jars.
The same tray after two days, chinese mustard is in the foreground, chia growing well in the background.
Two kinds of bok choy, and wheat grass. It’s amazing how fast the wheat grass grows. This is after one week and ready to harvest.
48″ wide shelving from Costco, 12 hanging light fixtures, a package of S-hooks to hang the lights from, 24 daylight fluorescent tubes & 3 power bars make up this unit. The lights can be easily raised or lowered to be 3″ from the plants.
Wheat grass for our green smoothies. Once cut, they can be grown again for a second harvest. After that, it’s better to start with new seeds.
Microgreens and sprouts is a great way to engage children. They can see fast results – plant, water, harvest and eat within 3-7 days.
With sprouting, you will need some glass jars. We used mason jars. Window screening purchased from the hardware store is cut to fit the rings. You can also use cheesecloth and a rubber band. It all works, just as long as you can strain your seeds.
Wash and soak your seeds for a minimum of 2-5 hours, or best left overnight. The larger the seed (like beans and peas), the longer the soak.
We started off with 2-3 tablespoons of seeds per jar. The great thing about sprouting indoors is you do not need light. In fact, do not place it in direct sunlight. Just keep it on your kitchen counter, preferably near a sink for rinsing.
After soaking, rinse with cold water and strain through the lid.
Drain all the water out before laying it on it’s side, make sure the seeds aren’t sitting in excess water or they will rot.
Be sure to rinse the seeds twice a day, then lay it back down on it’s side. If you are going away for a few days and can’t rinse, then store in the fridge.
These jars are draining, and almost ready. Eat before they start to form their first set of leaves.
Mung beans (bean sprouts) are ready. Sprouts can be store for several days in the fridge. If it goes a bit longer, just give it a rinse. Do not store sitting in water.
It took 4-5 days for these to be ready. Favourite so far is broccoli sprouts (which taste like fresh crispy concentrated broccoli!) and the daikon radishes which Henry does not like.
The daikon radish sprouts are hot and spicy. You won’t need dijon mustard with these stuffed in your grilled ham and cheese sandwich.