The vegetable growing world is a traditional one, an outdoor pastime for robust folk, with the emphasis on bigger and better crops. But we live in modern times and there is a niche for these miniature crops, especially in our urban sprawls. Tasty miniature garnishes for tight spaces, microgreens need some light but most can manage on a windowsill.
You can grow an amazing array of baby leaves and it is great fun discovering new tastes. Seed can work out expensive so maybe use up half-filled seed packets left over from your plot, providing you are sensible with your choices. Tomatoes and peppers are not recommended!
What to Grow The vegetable
Turnaround is quick for most microgreens, especially if you use heat. With one variety, ‘Buckshorn Plantain’, I had germination in just two days; this varies dramatically depending on what you sow and when you sow it.
Cheapest, easiest and quickest to get to cutting size are generally the spicy cresses, radishes and mustards; they can be sown all year round. Next come cabbage, broccoli and kales, they have a very green flavour. Basil and herbs pack a flavour punch but need a higher constant temperature. See Sharon Louise’s favourite microgreens to grow in the panel below. using lights For growing during the depths of winter you could buy a small lighted set-up such as the Garland Grow Light Garden (see picture above).
The nutritional benefits may not be the same though. It does use energy, but that is a matter of personal choice; you can be sure the supermarket shelves contain leaves grown under lights. Remember though you are harvesting microgreens very young so some stretching due to lack of light is not a huge problem.
Where To Grow
A windowsill is a good place for several small trays of microgreens, or spare poly tunnel space is ideal for a few rows. Open ground is more challenging with cooler, wetter conditions and problems with slugs and snails although it will give the most flavour some, nutritious crops. If you are worried about waste, perhaps alter your technique allowing some seedlings to grow on; or why not prick some out – one person’s microgreens are another person’s thinnings. No need for much growing \medium and everything can be composted.