What would happen if all of the grocery stores ran out of fresh produce? Something like this just happened about 10 months ago. Remember when we had no toilet paper or hand sanitizers?

Are you prepared for a food shortage? What would you do if the supply chains for all fresh produce were cut off? Easy answer: sprout your own seeds and grow microgreens.

Sprouting seeds and legumes is a fast and economical way to access fresh greens packed with vitamins and minerals. The beauty of growing sprouts is, they’re ready to eat in five to seven days. They are easy to grow because you only need a jar and water to rinse the sprouts twice a day. They don’t need sunlight to grow. In fact, they grow better when kept shaded while they mature. And finally, you eat the whole sprout.

Microgreens are also vitamin packed greens sprouted from the same kind of seeds and ready to eat in about two weeks. Microgreens are very rich in beta-carotenes and carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help reduce the risk of eye disease. Microgreens contain high concentrations of Vitamin C, (red cabbage) and highly effective antioxidants that help lower the risk of a number of diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer.

Microgreen seeds need water, a growing medium in a tray/container with drainage holes and a bottom tray to hold water and light for photosynthesis. Location for growing microgreens is important.

A windowsill that gets partial sun is good or grow lights and a heat mat are also good for growing microgreens.

The seeds are planted in a thin layer of loose, organic material such as a special mix of peat moss or coco coir (pulverized coconut shells) along with coarse Perlite.

The growing medium should absorb water very easily to germinate the seeds and provide enough structure to support the developing greens.

Microgreen seeds can be grown hydroponically or on grow mats made of coconut fiber, hemp, textile and wood. Grow mats have become very popular because of the ease for sprouting but the drawback is the price. Using garden soil is not recommended because of its density.

Soak large seeds such as peas, beans, and sunflower seeds overnight just to give them a boost for germination.

Spread the seeds evenly over the growing medium—not too thick, not too clumpy. Give the seeds enough space to grow without being too crowded.

Keep the seeds moist with water spritzing each day and watch them germinate.

Once the first true leaves or cotyledon appear, water from below instead of spraying the leaves. (When the seeds start to germinate, they will have white hairs at the base. These are normal growth hairs, not mold.)

There are some seeds that should not be sprouted for consumption. Any kind of night shade seeds such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos can be toxic.

Sprout these to grow in the garden when it’s warmer. (Do your research.)

It’s important to purchase seeds from a health food store or from a company that sells seeds for sprouting.

The key is sanitation. Seeds sold for sprouting are tested for the presence of microorganisms and companies are required to follow strict sanitation rules. Using bad seeds for sprouting could result in possible E. coli or Salmonella.

Practice good sanitation at home too. Keep your hands clean while handling the sprouts and microgreens.

Trim the microgreens with clean scissors or knife to avoid contamination.

Here’s a great detailed source for growing microgreens at home:https://extension.psu.edu/a-step-by-step-guide-for-growing-microgreens-at-home

Be safe and bon appétit!

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