In my last post I showed you how Ikea’s hydroponics system works. I’m a great fan and it has allowed me to add cut-fresh herbs like basil, water-cress and baby-leaf salad to my day-to-day cooking.
It’s been absolutely great. The plants keep on growing even when I cut off a few leaves every day and all I have to do is add growth-solution and water once a week.
Now, from hydroponics – that’s plants growing in soil-less medium using light, water and growth-solution – I discovered the world of growing Microgreens.
I bought a bare-minimum set of lights, trays, seeds and soil and less than a week later I’m already eating mung-bean microgreens by the spoonful with practically every meal. They’re delicious!
What are Microgreens?
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
A microgreen is a young vegetable green that is used both as a visual and flavor component or ingredient primarily in fine dining restaurants. Fine dining chefs use microgreens to enhance the attractiveness and taste of their dishes with their delicate textures and distinctive flavors. Smaller than “baby greens,” and harvested later than sprouts, microgreens can provide a variety of leaf flavors, such as sweet and spicy. They are also known for their various colors and textures. Among upscale markets, they are now considered a specialty genre of greens that are good for garnishing salads, soups, plates, and sandwiches.
Edible young greens and grains are produced from various kinds of vegetables, herbs or other plants. They range in size from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm), including the stem and leaves. A microgreen has a single central stem which has been cut just above the soil line during harvesting. It has fully developed cotyledon leaves and usually has one pair of very small, partially developed true leaves. The average crop-time for most microgreens is 10–14 days from seeding to harvest.
So, they’re not sprouts and not baby greens, and as far as I know, there isn’t even a German word for it yet.
I easily get excited about this kind of stuff so I had to try it out.
The basic setup that I bought from a grow-shop here in Berlin included:
- 2 Strips of SanLight Flex20 for 80 Euro each
- 1 power-adapter for 20 Euro
- 3 plastic trays for 10 Euro each
- 10 Liters of soil for 5 Euro
- 1 meter of chain for 4 Euro
- 4 square meters of plastic tarp for light control for 4 Euro
The Growing Process Of 1 Week
A few things I’ve learned so far
- It took less than a week for the beans to grow into harvestable, edible and delicious microgreens.
- Stacking the trays for germination worked really well. I assume the pressure, darkness and moisture kick-starts the seed’s lifecycle rapidly.
- Mung bean microgreens taste light and fresh and slightly buttery.
- Supermarket-bought beans are completely ready to germinate and grow. The mung beans I got from a local store at 2 Euro per Kilo. I used most of that across the trays.
- I had to water the trays twice in one week.
- It was far easier than I expected to grow my own microgreens. The process is relatively hands-off, once you’ve gotten your seeds to sprout.
I’ve read up on the most flavorful microgreens and learned that sunflower and pea greens are especially yummy.
So, the next round will be those: Sunflowers and peas.
Stay tuned, stay healthy!