If I want to be successful in the garden then I have to be willing to get my thoughts dirty and not just my hands.
Wandering the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays is a way to connect to my inner green geek and get inspired as well as educated. It is one thing to read about how to do something, it is another to talk to a farmer who is actually putting the concepts into practice.
Tables are beginning to burst with early greens and golds and reds for that matter as I stroll up and down the outdoor isles. As I identify the local bounty bursting from baskets and bins and table tops in turn, something caught my eye. It was unidentifiable as far as what it was destined to be, as it was currently Microgreens. The farmer was selling plastic clam shells of the verdant product. From the list you could pick the plant type. Each one made promises of shared vitality as you crunch down on the cotyledons en mass.
This got me thinking, what was the difference between microgreens and sprouts?
On further investigation I found out the main differences:
Substrate. Sprouts are grown in water, microgreens are grown on dirt.
Growing time. Sprouts happen in days, Microgreens take a week or two.
What gets consumed. Sprouts you eat seed and growth. Microgreens you trim and leave the seed in the soil.
I currently am not in the position to have a traditional garden but that does not mean that I cannot grow my own greens. Besides the bucket of Jerusalem Artichokes names Archie and the potted huckleberry named Huck that both reside on the front stoop (tucked behind a metal fence so that the deer do not devour them to the dirt) I have been happily sprouting sprouts in a mason jar. In a couple more days I will be enjoying fresh grown greens from my own countertop garden.
If you want to grow sprouts at home it is super easy peasy!
YOU WILL NEED:
- A wide mouth glass jar (this makes it easier to clean if you can fit your hand inside)
- A plastic lid from an old yogurt container or the like (If you want to avoid plastic completely use a square of cheesecloth or cotton)
- A canning jar ring that fits your jar
- Seeds! I am using mung beans because they are cheap and readily available all year long at the grocery store
- Make sure the jar is clean!
- Cut the yogurt lid with scissors to fit you canning jar ring and poke holes in it with a nail or thumbtack
- Put new plastic lid or cloth if you chose that instead into your canning ring and ensure it securely screws onto the jar
- Fill jar with only an inch or so of seeds. They will expand significantly during this process!
- Rinse seeds (this is where the perforated lid comes in handy for draining and keeping bugs out)
- Cover seeds with water and let them stand on the counter overnight (this is the only time your seeds will be fully emerged in water for an extended period of time during this process
- Rinse and drain the next day and continue to rinse and drain twice a day until the sprouts are the desired size
The temperature of your house and time of year and amount of light will affect the speed of growing.
I started my process on a Monday and by Tuesday morning they had tiny tails and now that it is Wednesday they are showing real signs of growth. I figure I will have home-grown salad fixings before the end of this week!
Because of the nature of how sprouts are grown take care to look for mold growth or a rancid smell. Only sprout what you can eat as sprouts do not keep well even in the refrigerator and it kind of defeats the purpose of fresh!