I have often confused microgreens with sprouts. They are not. As a matter of fact, not only do they look different, but they also taste different. Technically, they are different parts of the growing cycle of a plant.

Sprouts are germinated seeds that can be eaten root, seed, shoot and all. And while sprouts germinate while soaked in water, microgreens are grown in soil and also hydroponically.

Vegetable Confetti

Microgreens are what I like to call vegetable confetti, and are the immature greens that are harvested from the vegetable prior to it being fully grown (when they are about 2-inches tall). The micro part means they are small. They can be sweet and tender to eat and for eaters also tender.

In St. Petersburg, Brick Street Farms grows microgreens and other types of greens with the aid of technology in specially outfitted shipping containers. Brick Street Greens are now sold in some Tampa Bay area Publix grocery stores, and there is a market at the Farm on Second Avenue S. that sells other locally produced products, including jams and honey.

Microgreens are the result of the cotyledon growth stage when the first true leaves begin to appear. This means they are similar to baby greens except that the stems and leaves are edible. “Baby greens” are more of a marketing invention than botanical cycle.

Pamela Lynn

The microgreen family is large. It consists of the following plant families :

Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish, and arugula

Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory, and radicchio

Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, fennel, and celery

Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek

Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet, and spinach

Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber, and squash

Salad greens, leafy vegetables, herbs, and even edible flowers can be grown as microgreens. Beginners often start by growing one type of seed, and the easiest to grow varieties are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard, chia, and sunflower.

Cereals such as rice, oats, wheat, corn and barley, as well as legumes like chickpeas, beans and lentils, are also sometimes grown into microgreens.

Big on Nutrition and Flavor

Microgreens vary in taste, which can range from neutral to spicy, slightly sour, or even bitter, depending on the variety. Generally speaking, their flavor is considered strong and concentrated.

Pamela Lynn

Microgreens are packed with nutritional benefits. These small plants actually have a higher nutrient level than the fully mature vegetable green, which is one of the many reasons to add them to your diet.

But they can be pricey. However, microgreens can be grown cost-effectively at home, in a dorm room or another tiny space, and with simple supplies. All you need is a sunny windowsill, a shallow container, some potting soil, and a suitable seed.

Pamela Lynn

Growing Supplies

These can be purchased at garden supply shops or from online sellers such as True Leaf Market or Gurney’s.

Small clean containers – plastic take-out dishes, disposal pie tins, clear plastic fruit, or salad boxes.

Potting soil – 2 quarts, preferably organic. Amazon carries prices about $5.99

Desired seeds – see above for suggestions. Amazon carries single packets from $3.49 and they also have seed kits.

Sunny windowsill – Find a windowsill that is flooded with sunlight. Cover the bottom of your container with soil, sprinkle the seeds, cover seeds with soil, and mist with water.

Microgreens need about four hours daily of direct sunlight to thrive. In winter months, some may need even more. Leggy, pale greens are a sign of not enough sunlight. Light needs can also be satisfied with a grow light.

Pamela Lynn

Within a few days, you will begin to see Mother Nature at work. When your plant is about two-inches tall, 7 – 10 days, simply snip the stem and leaves and add to your salad, garnish your pizza or blend into a smoothie.

These beautiful greens are a worthwhile addition to any diet.

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