Thursday, September 22, 2011

DIY Organic Kitchen Microgreens!

I don't know about you guys, but even though I'm able to find some pretty steep discounts regularly, I still spend a lot of money on organic greens every month. I aim to eat at least 5-10 ounces of greens daily, so even after finding a great deal it can still add up pretty quickly. It's also more difficult to shop smart for produce like this, since you can't stock up when you find a great price. And to top it all off, I live in a very urban environment, without so much as a patio or balcony to line up vegetable pots on. Solution? I think I've finally found one :)

I've been experimenting with growing micro greens for several weeks, and the whole process has been a LOT of trial and error. Microgreens are exactly what they sound like: tiny, tender little greens that grow from a sprouted seed. They're cute, mini leafy versions of popular veggies like broccoli, rutabaga, cabbage, and clovers. You can grow micro greens easily with most sprouting seeds by simply growing them past the sprouting stage and clipping the baby plants that appear within 7-10 days. I'm sure you can imagine the nutritional value of micro greens, especially if you're a fan of sprouts, and the best part of eating these beautiful greens is that you can grow them yourself with very little equipment very inexpensively, and have a steady supply of fresh, organic food.

Here's what my original projects looked like! Check out that massive jar of kombucha in the back, too!

Now, first I decided to go totally DIY and use whatever I had around my house. I tried soil in plates with moderately good results, dehydrator trays lines with paper towels with very dry problems, and plastic green clamshells. Most everything I tried worked for awhile, but once the sprouts began to green up they needed a LOT more water, and everything I used dried out so quickly I ended up in the kitchen every hour misting! I really wanted to go soil-less, but it wasn't until I discovered Sure To Grow brand products that everything finally started to come together.

These pads are perfect for this kind of project. I had to get them online, since my local hydroponic shop carries the brand, but not the pads! I did pick up four 11x21 trays for a great price, as well as a nice broccoli sprouting mix. I gotta say, the staff over there at Greenhouse Garden Supply in Sacramento are really nice and loads of fun to shop with.

Here's my pad and tray sown with brassica seeds! I'm covering them with just another black sprouting tray, which is why I got four. If this experiment goes as planned, I can grow crops on a staggered schedule so I'll always have fresh greens on hand, which should put a big dent in the amount I spend on buying my greens at the stores. Overall, the total cost to grow a very large tray of greens like this is in the 1.50 range. The Sure To Grow pads aren't cheap, but they aren't overpriced, since they provide a cleaner, soil free hydroponic method of growing that saves a ton of time. I'm managed to get them for about 1.30 per pad. Add to that the cost of seed, which is almost negligible since one bag will last a LONG time and they are easily available in bulk at natural food stores, but you do need to make the initial investment, so I threw in about 20 cents. That can very depending on whether you need to pay for shipping.

So, we're on day 2 and so far, things are looking great! They're nice and yellow, which means I've been keeping them away from the sun and they're really having to struggle! Here's the change that they can undergo in just 48 hours!

In another day or two I'll be flipping the tray over on top of them to put some pressure on them, and then I'll finally take it off and let them soak up the sunlight on my kitchen table! They only require two waterings a day, and I've got a regular routine where I spend a few seconds each morning and evening spraying them with my water bottle. When they get older they'll need more water, but they won't even need a lot of time.

If you're currently stuck in a urban environment and can't afford to build a huge green house in your kitchen, why not invest in some easy micro greens? I've been buying chia seeds in bulk to make food for myself and my kids, so you can imagine my joy when I discovered that my 3 pounds of seeds can also be used to grow greens, as well! I'm stretching that dollar as far as it can go, and yet sacrificing NOTHING from my health and well being. Healthy, raw foods are cheap and easy!

I could do a complete, detailed instructional for you, but why when Growing Microgreens has done it for me? Check out this amazing FREE series of videos on exactly how to grow micro greens for success the FIRST time!

No comments:

Post a Comment