Micro-greens seem to be all the rage when it comes to restaurant salads these days, but you don’t have to go to a restaurant to enjoy them.
Lately, you may have noticed so-called “micro-greens” appearing in your restaurant salads. This is because the restaurant industry finally tripped over the fact that sometimes, very young greens taste significantly different — and often significantly better — than their mature versions.
If you like the flavor and would like to try them at home, don’t go to the supermarket expecting to find such greens. They’re available but rare — and more expensive than they should be. It’s easier and cheaper to grow them yourself.
All you need for a crop of teeny greenies is a big planter pot, some potting soil (don’t use dirt from your garden; it could contain pests or diseases), some seeds, and some water. That’s pretty basic. Your most daunting task may be finding or creating the right mix for your tastes.
Here’s what I mean. If you like peppery zesty flavor, then arugula, garden cress, and radishes (yes, radishes) should be included, because all three provide that. If you prefer earthier flavors, add some collard, mustards, turnips, or spinach. For a tang, add some cabbage. For clean plain-jane kind of crunch, lettuces are great.
Whatever you select, make sure you include plenty of seeds in your mix. You’ll end up with some pretty thick growth, but no worries: you’re not going to have to thin down these seedlings, as you would if you were growing them in a regular garden. They’re not going to last that long!
Next Step, Please!
Fill your planter pot to within about an inch from the top with your potting soil, then scatter your seed mix across the surface and cover it all with about an eighth of an inch more of the potting soil. You might want to mix the seeds with a fine, pale sand so you can see where you’re scattering them.
Next, water the pot thoroughly and put it in a bright, sunny area; if it’s warm enough, outdoors is good, but if not, place your greens setup near an window where there’s plenty of light. Keep the potting soil moist, but not excessively so.
When Do We Eat?
Once the seeds germinate, your greens will be ready to harvest within 7-10 days. However long it takes (and it may very well be quicker), don’t let them get much taller than about two inches tall before you snip them off at the roots.
Next, clean them thoroughly, and toss them in your salads. You can also use them in cooked dishes, if you’re inventive that way. If you decide you really like the taste of micro-greens and want some more, the solution is simple: just start over again from the top!