Growing Micro Greens
Winter tends to be a nice break for gardeners, especially here in Calgary. The snow and cold make it impossible to do any weeding, for example, so we must abide and learn to relax and simply look forward to the next season. But by about January 15th, gardeners start to get restless. Seed catalogues start to arrive, and dreams of warmer days are starting to tease and taunt Canadians. I start seeding some crops, even though for most varieties it is much too early. But I just can't help myself and plant them anyway under my grow lights. I know I'll regret this decision by about halfway through March when every surface will be covered with seedlings that have outgrown their initial seeding trays and are now potted up into bigger pots that are sprawled across all surfaces of my kitchen and living room. The solution? Grow micro greens which can be eaten as small sprouts to keep your need for green alive and well!
Step 1- Soak your pea seeds (or almost any other type of edible seed you want to try). Any variety will do and sometimes you can get a deal on unlabeled and mixed varieties. Oregon Giant is a favourite of my mom's (Donna Balzer) as she says they are very sweet and can also be transplanted into your veggie patch come spring. You'll need about a 1/2 a cup of peas per tray, or just a couple of Tablespoons of seeds if you plan to grow a smaller amount as I usually do (refer to images below for example). The seeds will almost quadruple in size, so make sure you have enough water as well as space in your soaking container to accommodate this. Soak them for at least 24 hours. In Calgary, because it is so dry, I often drain and rinse them after 24 hours and soak for a further day before planting them. This gives them a good start on sprouting!
Step 2- Put a thin layer of potting mix in a tray. 1/4 inch will do! Moisten this mix and smooth it out as best you can so that there are no divers and lows spots.
Step 3- Put the soaked seeds on top of the soil, sprinkling a bit more potting mix on top, just to cover.
Step 4- Place something heavy on top of your seeds. I often use another pot that is the same size with books, or something equally heavy on top of this. This helps to weigh down your growing seeds so that they don't push themselves right out of the soil. It also strengthens them and helps them to grow straight and beautiful!
Step 5- Find a warm place for them to sprout. When seeds are getting ready to germinate they like it to be warm and dark. Remember at this stage light is absolutely unnecessary. Leave them in this warm pace for 2-3 days or until you see them pushing u the weighted item about 1/2 an inch.
Step 6- Remove the weight and find a sunny spot for them to grow and to green up!
Step 7- Harvest and enjoy when they are a few inches tall! But the shoots near the base and add them to your sandwiches, soups, stir fries, omelettes, etc. Peas will re-grow several times if you just clip them, keep them moist and in a sunny spot. Other seeds will only give you the one-time shoots.