Saturday, December 3, 2011

Homegrown microgreens

I don't know about you, but I hate thinning seedlings. I know proper spacing is crucial to growing healthy vegetable plants, but I can't help but feel like I'm snuffing the life's purpose out of those tiny, leafy babies. Last weekend, as I pulled gobs of lettuce seedlings out of a raised bed, my thoughts flashed back to a $5.99 package of organic microgreens I'd seen at Central Market. That's when I decided against tossing the thinned seedlings in the compost bin. Instead, I collected them in a little bowl, washed them up, and added them to our dinner salads that evening.

Microgreens from thinned seedlings

Lettuce seedlings are the easiest thing in the world to grow. You can grow them in flats outside in the garden, or in pots on a sunny windowsill inside the house. Use them like you would alfalfa sprouts or shredded lettuce: in salads, on sandwiches, or as garnishes on canap├ęs.

Microgreens from thinned seedlings

These babies are highly perishable, so it's best to eat them the day you pluck them. Soil will cling tightly to their tiny root systems, and too strong a rinsing will bruise them, so grow them in a sterile soil-free mix, or clip the seedlings off at the surface and leave the roots underground.

Microgreens from thinned seedlings

Aren't they pretty with the light shining through their little leaves?

Microgreens from thinned seedlings

These microgreens are a combination of two Botanical Interests seed mixes (Valentine and Q's Special Medley) and a Crispy Winter Greens mix from Renee's Garden Seeds. There's a combination of Glory curly endive, Presto radicchio, Elysee escarole, baby oakleaf, baby Romaine, Lolla Rossa, Marveille de Quatre Saisons, Redina, red oakleaf, Red Salad Bowl, Rouge d’Hiver, Ruben’s Red, Black Seeded Simpson, Summer Bibb, arugula, mizuna, and Tatsoi seedlings in this little bowl. Whew!

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

8 comments:

  1. I feel just the same way about thinning. It seems criminal to pinch the new seedlings away even if it means making room for another. And what if I choose wrong and the one I pinch is the more vigorous stronger of the seedlings?

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  2. They do look lovely. I am thinking of one of those salads at a fancy restaurant with roasted beets and goat cheese. I must thin my beets and they will be going in the pot.

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  3. Who needs iceberg when you can have beauties like these? In addition to being pretty on the plate, I bet they're loaded with nutrition and taste.

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  4. Those are beautiful! So much variety. I felt the same thing (on a smaller scale) while radish thinning last week; turns out those spicy microgreens go well with roasted beets.

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  5. Looks good enough to eat! ;) They really do look pretty. I love the different colors. I bet they are full of nutritious vitamins, too!

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  6. What a nice treat to spruce up a salad. I had a beet salad last night that these would have been a lovely addition to. Great idea!

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  7. I said goodbye indeed, but to our garden in it's entirety. I will have to live vicariously through your garden blog and others until we find our next home :) Keep em' coming.

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  8. Wait a second... that posted in the wrong topic. Darn. Well, you know what I meant :)

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