icrogreens of some vegetables and herbs are well established to be many times more nutritious source compared to their mature plants based on researches carried out by Global Scientists and Nutritionists .
Due to short shelf life commercial growing and distribution involves higher handling and storage costs making them much expensive in buying from the stores compared to growing and consuming fresh at home.
Lack of awareness about how to grow, which species to grow and from where to buy growing medium and seeds etc has also been a hinderance in their popularity amongst masses though these are super food and super medicine also by virtue of providing complete plant based organic and safe nutrition for good health .
MICROGREENS ARE VERY EASY TO GROW:
Propagation Trays: These are plastic nursery trays normally 10×20 inch in width and length and 1.5 inch depth. These should be without perforation at base. If not available, any tray with a depth of 1inch plus can be used.
Growing Medium :- Basic requirement of growing medium is that it should be free from contaminations , pathogens and bio decomposable and easily available at economical prices . The options are Terrafibre Grow Mats (for North America), Cocopeat , Perlite hemp; coco peat mixture. Growing medium is required only for holding roots and not required for any nutrients. Micro greens grow upto a particular height with the nutrients available in the endosperm of the seed, water, air and sunlight without any fertilizers and chemical sprays .
TO GHROW MICROGREENS WHAT’S TO BE KEPT IN MIND
a) Seeds should be untreated as normally packed seeds are treated with fungicides like Thiram, Allegiance or Maxim .
b) Preferably organic non Genetically Modified
c) Purchased directly from bulk suppliers in bulk packing as it works out much cheaper compared to small pouches from retail stores.
d) Seeds should be stored in cool dry and airtight containers
e) Seeds should be certified from approved certification agencies. The packing should bear the certification details with lot number and germination %age.
f) Gemination percentage should preferably be minimum 85% and tested less than six months before
HOW TO GROW
The process of step wise growing by using grow mats is given below. Grow lights are required with grow stations only in countries with low sunlight and having extremes of temperatures. Microgreens can be gown inside well protected from rodents, birds and pathogens in addition to very low or high temperatures. The ideal temperature for microgreens is between 15 to 20 Degrees Celsius which we normally maintain inhouse.
In a Countries like India where adequate sunlight available inside through windows etc for 5-6 hrs a day, there is no need of any specialised grow stations and grow lights .
Growing with COCO PEAT or any other sterlised Medium
– Spread cocopeat with half inch thick layer in the propagation tray . Compact it and level it with hands
– Spread the seeds closely and evenly with hand or with seed spreader
– Press the seeds slightly with hands and spray clean water gently so that seeds and growing medium becomes thoroughly moist . Avoid flooding of water and strong spray so that seeds don’t get displaced while watering
– Cover the tray with wax paper or parch paper we normally use in wrapping food stuff .
– Put the tray in any dark place as seeds require dark , moist conditions to germinate .
– Make sure to spray water everyday once or twice to ensure that moisture in the growing medium doesn’t dry up.
– Seeds will start germinating in 24 to 36 hours. After most of the seeds germinate in 24-36 hours remove the paper cover and put the trays in a location having sunlight for atleast 5 hours during the day .
– Keep watering everyday ensuring adequate moisture and no flooding.
– Don’t use any fertilisers not even the organics.
– Cut the microgreens little above the roots in 7-10 days when 2-4 inch tall depending on species
– Microgreens of species with smaller seeds like broccoli, mustard, arugula, kale, etc grow only 2 inches max where as bigger seed species like sunflower, peas, wheat grass etc grow upto 4-5 inches height
HANDLING AND STORAGE OF MICROGREENS
Microgreens are very sensitive small seedlings require careful handling and storage. Microgreens can be stored in perforated / well ventilated containers in refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Closed airtight containers are not recommended. Microgreens should be stored in cool dry place without long exposure to sunlight after harvesting.
NUTRIENT CONTENTS IN MICOGREENS
Microgreens contain many times more (10-40 times) nutrient contents than the mature crops. This means small quantity of microgreens say 100 grams is equivalent to 2kg to 4 kg of mature crop in terms of nutrition clubbed with authentically organic (being grown in house with organic materials and clean watering under self supervision ) justifies them as super food .
HOW TO CONSUME MICROGREENS
Micro greens should be consumed fresh & raw without cooking as cooking heat destroys the nutrients content of microgreens, however, washing with clean water at room temperature is recommended. Can be eaten fresh like salads, mixed in smoothies, stuffed in sandwiches, mixed with kinnoa, garnished on any preparation:
SPECIES OF VEGETABLES AND HERBS THAT CAN BE GROWN AS MICROGREENS
Arugula (Taramira), Amranth, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chicory, Kale, Spinach, Mustard, Onion, Pak Choi (Chinese Cabbage), Peas, Radish, Sunflower, Turnip, Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Mint, Parsley, Sorrel and Wheat Grass.