It’s mid-winter and I’m starting to get a little desperate to harvest something fresh from the garden. Plastic boxes of washed greens are convenient but a sorry second to truly fresh salads. Here’s a way to put all those plastic containers to good use and yield a fresh crop of tiny, tender, tangy microgreens.
Fresh from your windowsill, microgreens are ripe for harvest when just a few weeks old and barely an inch high. It is this short growing period that makes this crop doable throughout these bleakest months of the year. Add freshly snipped sprouts to salads, sandwiches, soups, scrambled eggs or just about anything for a hit of sprightly flavor and welcome crunch.
A quick crop of kitchen window microgreens is a great way to finish off leftover seed packets from last year. Take a quick look around the house – you may already have everything you need for this simple, tasty garden project. This is a great project to do with kids. Who knows – you might even get them to sample their tasty (and nutritious) crop.
- recycled 2 part plastic take-out containers
- potting mix
- spray bottle
If your plastic containers do not already have drainage holes use a sharp knife or a heated metal skewer to pierce the bottom in several places.
Pre-moisten the potting mix and fill containers to within 1” from the top. Evenly sprinkle seed over the surface of the potting mix making sure to leave a bit of space between them. No need to sow seed one by one – just be sure to allow space for each little seedling to grow.
Barely cover the seed with more potting mix and mist with a spray bottle to thoroughly water and activate germination.
Set your “garden” in a bright window; the lid to your plastic container makes a perfect drip tray and protects your windowsill from water damage. Keep soil moist but not soggy by spritzing with the spray bottle every day. The warmer the room the more you’ll need to water.
In 1 ½ -2 weeks your microgreens will be ready for harvest. Harvest by clipping with scissors just above soil level to keep greens clean. Serve at once or store in a closed plastic or glass container in the refrigerator. Like all greens, microgreens hold best when completely dry to the touch.
Micro-greens are not to be confused with more established cut-and-come again greens from which you can harvest one, two or even three cuttings. However, provided your first “crop” was free of disease and pests, you can replant your container for another crop using the same soil.
To sow another crop, sift the remaining roots and stems from the soil and toss them into your compost bin. Sprinkle seed as before, top up with more potting mix and mist with water. Start a second crop of microgreens a few days to one week after the first pot for a continuous harvest throughout the rest of winter.
Spicy: Peppergrass cress, ‘Giant Red’ mustard, radish, arugula, daikon radish, and ‘Wrinkled Crinkled’ cress.
Mild and Tangy: Tatsoi, mizuna, kale, lettuce, miner’s lettuce, and minutina.