Why Growing Microgreens Should Be Your New Favorite Year-round Activity

Microgreens

Homegrown microgreens could very easily be the most nutrition-per-unit-cost we can get for our money.

A 2012 UDSA study assessing the nutrition content of 25 different microgreens concluded that microgreens possess significantly higher nutrient densities than mature leaves of the same plant. As an example, red cabbage microgreens have six times the vitamin C than mature red cabbage. Adding microgreens to your diet is an easy way to not only add freshness to winter meals, but also add a big punch of nutrients right when we typically eat less fresh foods, like in winter.

Buying microgreens from the market can be expensive. Instead, grow your own microgreens. It’s fairly easy to do, doesn’t require a lot of space, and produces tasty and highly nutritious food. Don’t have access to a garden? Good news, you don’t need one! Microgreens are easy to grow in a jar or a box. Here’s how to create your very own microgarden out of containers you might have laying around the house.

1. Choose the Seeds

Some common varieties of seeds to use are: amaranth, basil, beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, chard, chervil, coriander/cilantro, endive, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, parsley, peas, radish, rocket/arugula, spinach, and sorrel. But of course, these are just a few to choose from- experiment with seeds to find one based on your own taste preferences. To ensure that you are avoiding food that may have been fumigated or treated with a fungicide, choose only organic seeds.

2. Choose the Container

You’ll need a container that is a few inches deep at minimum. Garden centers sell special containers for sprouting seeds, but you can make a planter out of almost anything- as long there is proper drainage. Old vegetable or berry containers are perfect for sprouting seeds, as are prepackaged salad boxes and mason jars. Do you have an old metal cooking pan or muffin tin you don’t use any more? Simply drill a few drainage holes and it becomes a microgarden that is both functional and free.

3. Choose the Soil

It’s important to use a quality growing medium for the seeds because they contain the proper ingredients that boost seed germination. The better nutrition going into the plant also means you’ll be eating the most nutrient-dense food possible. Seeds love loose, crumbly soil full of organic matter. Choose an organic potting mix, or make your own.

4. Pre-Soak Larger Seeds

Pre-soaking will help your seeds germinate more quickly. Pre-soak larger seeds such as mung beans or peas in warm water for a few hours or overnight. This step isn’t necessary for smaller seeds.

5. Plant

If your container has drainage holes, lay a moistened paper towel on the bottom to stop the potting soil to fall through. Fill the container roughly 3/4 full of growing medium, about one inch deep. Sprinkle the seeds over the dirt, then cover with an additional 1/8 inches of soil. Lightly spray the entire soil with a misting spray bottle to water without disturbing the seeds. Make sure the dirt is moist, but not soaked. You don’t want the soil so wet that the seed either rots or drowns. If you don’t have a misting spray bottle just be careful watering the seeds to prevent them from dislodging.

6. Grow

Place your newly planted seeds in the sun. The seeds will need a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight every day. Don’t have access to a sunny windowsill? Try grow microgreens under gardeners grow lamps. The seeds will start to sprout within a few days, but you’ll want to wait ten days to two weeks to harvest when you see the the first set of leaves.

7. Harvest

Begin harvesting microgreens once the seeds have produced its first set of true leaves. Depending on the variety, the seedlings should be 1-3 inches tall. Simply take scissors and cut the stems just above the soil. Once the microgreens have all been harvested, begin a new crop using the same mix. Because the previous plants had been grown so quickly, the mix will still be full of nutrients- you’ll be able to sow 3-4 crops with each batch of growing medium. To ensure a continuous supply of microgreens, sow seeds every week or two.


Garden Update

Finally!   I have finally been able to get back in the garden. Many of you know I have had 6 eye surgeries in the last two years, lots of time I couldn’t dig in the dirt or simply didn’t have the time or energy. But now that I am well and feeling way better, I’ve been loving getting it all back in shape!

IMG_20160511_200710_745Patio garden is fully planted, turmeric just starting to come up!  Pineapple doing well.  The garden right behind the wrought iron has graviola, ginger, turmeric, sunflowers, scallions.

 

May 15 2016Kitchen garden; turmeric in foreground, medicinal hibiscus, scallions, pineapp0les, onions, scallions, rosemary, cilantro, basil, yarrow, ginger and beets…so far!

 

IMG_20160511_200752_876Graviola, for making bloodroot tincture. 

IMG_20160511_200853_395Yarrow blooming, turmeric coming up.  I love watching the new leaves unfurl.


Using Microgreens in your Diet

 

I posted this week about the nutritional benefits of microgreens. They contain 4 to 10 times the nutrition as sprouts or their full grown versions.

Many people suggest that you use them in salads or to cook with.  I think the best way of using them are in smoothies.  You can eat more of them and you are not exposing them to heat.  They are easy to grow yourself in the kitchen window or for families, under grow lights.

I will begin selling trays of these microgreens soon by making them available for delivery on the Meal Delivery Service.  Look for the addition to the weekly menu in your email.


UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World

From – TECHNOLOGYWATER

Image: eatdrinkbetter.com

Nick Meyer | AltHealthWORKS


Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once against sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system.
That was the key point of a new publication from the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled“Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which included contributions from more than 60 experts around the world.

The cover of the report looks like that of a blockbuster documentary or Hollywood movie, and the dramatic nature of the title cannot be understated: The time is now to switch back to our natural farming roots.

The New UN Farming Report “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late.”

The New UN Farming Report “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late.” Click here to read it.

The findings on the report seem to echo those of a December 2010 UN Report in many ways, one that essentially said organic and small-scale farming is the answer for “feeding the world,” not GMOs and monocultures.

According to the new UN report, major changes are needed in our food, agriculture and trade systems, with a shift toward local small-scale farmers and food systems recommended.

Diversity of farms, reducing the use of fertilizer and other changes are desperately needed according to the report, which was highlighted in this article from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

It also said that global trade rules should be reformed in order to work toward these ends, which is unfortunately the opposite of what mega-trade deals like the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S.-EU Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are seeking to accomplish.

The Institute noted that these pending deals are “primarily designed to strengthen the hold of multinational corporate and financial firms on the global economy…” rather than the reflect the urgent need for a shift in agriculture described in the new report.

Even global security may be at stake according to the report, as food prices (and food price speculating) continue to rise.

“This implies a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production toward mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers,” the report concludes.

ou can read more about the report from the Institute by visiting their website here.


Permaculture Garden Update!

As many of you know, it’s been a challenging year, 5 eye surgeries.  I’m finally able to get back to all my regular activates; yoga, gardening, driving at night!!   Yipeee!

I would not have been able to have a garden this year if it wasn’t for the incredible support of my Permaculture Group here in Jacksonville!  Easiest, low labor (after the install) way I have ever gardened.  I will also soon have a solar water distiller on the back patio!

10.21.14  Garden PlantedThis was the install, 10/14/14         Update 1- 4.17.15Today, 4/17/2015

The collards I have let bolt so I will have seeds next year, I am in the middle of picking and freezing them.  I have Romaine, pineapple, Swiss chard, tomatoes, scallions, turmeric, ginger, sweet potatoes, dill, basil, kale, broccoli.

Update 2- 4.17.15I’m still growing some things in sub-irrigated buckets that I build.  Here is a 4 1/2 year old kale and Swiss chard. Lettuces were just planted in the barrels, along with a lot of herbs.

Update 4- 4.17.15New install off of the back porch, foreground will be tomatoes, herbs. Larger space will be greens.  Right now the dandelions are growing in it and all over the yard in back of it.  I just planted a lot of greens; kale, Swiss chard, spinach, beets.

The amazingly beautiful ornamental ginger did not make it through the hard freeze this year.

Update 7- 4.17.15So I planted real ginger, and turmeric!  It’ll be just a beautiful AND I can eat it!

Update 9- 4.17.15Here is at the back of the kitchen garden, I am amending the soil here, adding compost from the juicer (it is dry enough to be able to go straight into the garden, along with coffee grounds and pot liquor.


My Permaculture Kitchen Garden- Update

Say One Kitchen GardenSteo 2 Hay in place

I have been using sub-irrigated grow buckets, to grow herbs and veggies in, for about 5 years.  I will continue to grow some things in buckets, but am just starting out to learn about Permaculture.  I’ll keep you posted here!

So our neighborhood Permaculture Group here in Jacksonville came en mass…and dug up the ornamental plants beside my kitchen and put in a  Hugelkultur Bed.

So yesterday they dug out about 3 or 4 feet down, filled it with wood, twigs, branches from a tree we just took down in the back yard.  That will give us more sun in the back yard for another bed.

After that went all of the leafy branches, then dirt, then compost, then coffee grounds, then peas- to fix the soil.  Today I will get hay and put over all. 

Next week- planting!   This is so much fun!  I will eventually have a food forest here! 


The Monsanto-Free Seed Company List

image

A great post from Natural Cures Not Medicine

Some background that’s important to understand when using this list-

The Safe Seed Pledge

“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.”

History of the Safe Seed Pledge

The Safe Seed Pledge was created in 1999 when High Mowing Organic Seeds guided a coalition of 9 other seed companies in drafting a statement about the signers’ stance on genetic engineering. Over 70 companies have signed the pledge, ranging from large seed companies to family-owned businesses such as ours.

In signing the Safe Seed Pledge we affirm our commitment to non-GMO (genetically modified organism) seed.  We feel that the regulatory framework for the introduction of genetically modified crop varieties is flawed, and that GMO seeds themselves present a threat to plants’ genetic diversity through their ability to pollinate non-GMO plants.

But then Monsanto comes along….

It’s not terribly easy to avoid them, which is why we’ve compiled the list below

In 2005, Monsanto purchased Semenis which was (and is) the world’s largest seed company and now they own thousands of conventional seed companies in addition to their GMO seed business.  Monsanto now owns 40% of the conventional seed market in the US and 20% of the worldwide market, including organics and heirlooms.  It’s not terribly easy to avoid them, which is why we’ve compiled the list below list with the help of readers and some experts from the field, both to help you navigate through things as well as encouragement for companies to take part in the boycott so that they may also qualify to have their names included.

Use this link below to access the full article and list from Occupy Monsanto:

The Monsanto-Free Seed Company List