Gardening is one of the most satisfying experiences that you can share with a teen. Growing microgreens from the comfort of your home is a must and I’m going to show you why.
Microgreens are considered a superfood and by growing them in your own house, teens will see the benefits firsthand. As a teenager, they should do their part to be environmentally friendly. This is actually an actionable solution in providing sustainable food.
So let us learn more about this superfood.
Microgreens are an innovative category of vegetables harvested as tender immature greens. In other words, they are seedlings of edible vegetables, herbs, and grains but they are not sprouts nor what is called baby greens.
Here are some of its characteristics
- About 1-3inches tall.
- Small in size.
- Need light and nutrition to grow.
- Their stems and leaves are edible.
- Have an aromatic flavor.
- Concentrated nutrient content.
- Various colors and textures.
- Between 7-21 days after germination, once the first true leaves have emerged, they are harvested.
- Harvested at the stem.
- Harvested before fully matured.
- Can be sold before harvesting.
- Can be kept alive until the need to consume.
They are also called by various names such as micro herbs. Some refer to them as vegetable confetti since they are tiny, beautiful greens with a diversity of colors and shapes.
Here is how you can distinguish this amazing food from sprouts and baby greens.
Sprouts do not have leaves. Their growing cycle is between 2-7 days. They don’t need light or nutrition to grow. They are harvested from the root.
Whereas baby greens are bigger than microgreens. They have more leaves and are harvested when they are a few weeks old. That is they are a bit older than microgreens.
Having understood a little better about this young vegetables green, let us see some examples.
What are examples of microgreens?
Common ones are radish, cabbage, mustard, parsley, beet leaves, celery, cilantro, carrot, basil, spinach, chard, melons, broccoli, quinoa, corn, sunflower, red cabbage, and so much more.
So as you can see, there is a variety that your teen can choose from.
What do they contain?
Microgreens contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. With such properties, they can also reduce the risk of some diseases. They have the reputation of being delicious with unique flavors ranging from mild, sweet, bitter, sour, spicy, peppery, or licorice. At this stage, they are said to be a more concentrated form of their mature veg counterpart.
The mature vegetables though are packed with fibers that microgreens lack. Microgreens do, however, fill in a large area of dietary requirements. Due to their strong flavor, only a small amount is needed.
Why plant them
- They are quick to grow.
This is a plus because your teen will have the pleasure of harvesting in about 10-14 days.
- Require little space and resources.
All that is needed is a small working area and container with the soil medium. Teenagers do get overwhelmed when they feel like they have some major work to attend to.
- Relatively inexpensive and easy to produce.
The ease of production and the minimum investment is to the advantage of both you and your teen.
- Can be eaten raw.
This means that the very young plants retain all their vitamin and mineral content when eaten which contributes greatly to your teen’s health.
- They are so full of nutrients.
These tiny plants are loaded with so much more nutrients than their mature version.
- Add color, texture and enhance flavor to meals.
Helps to bring fine dining to our table with their vibrant colors and taste.
- Costly in local stores
They are so expensive in stores so it is best to grow your own.
- In high demands
They are popular now and also not readily available in all varieties.
- Can be hydroponically grown as well.
The trick is to encourage your teen to produce a variety of microgreens because each contains a different amount of vitamins and minerals. This will also encourage the consumption of various microgreens to gain health benefits from them.
It is worthy to note that the young vegetables green are nowadays popular in cafes and restaurants since they are visually appealing in foods.
With this in mind, let’s see what you can encourage your teen to grow.
What to grow?
Ideally, you should cultivate your teen’s favorite veggies. Seek specific instructions. For example, some seeds need to soak in water for 24hrs before sowing.
On the other hand, you can research what is rare-in your area and go for that and generate some income out of it.
Producing what is popular and is in demand is also another route that you can consider.
Where to get them?
These seedlings are grown from different types of seeds which you can easily order online or get from gardening stores. The good news is that you don’t need special microgreen seeds. You can make use of seeds that you usually used for the fully matured plants to get your tiny plants.
Where to grow?
This functional food can be grown outdoors, in greenhouses, and even on your window sill. They are best grown indoors since they don’t need much sunlight. Actually, outdoors in the open make them more susceptible to pests and diseases.
How to grow?
To have good produce, make sure that you get quality seeds, a good growing medium, and proper lighting. Buy seeds, trays, and growing medium which are soil mixes or fiber mats.
- You need to sow the seeds in sterile potting soil.
- Then cover them with a small layer of soil.
- Daily mist the seeds lightly with water to keep them moist.
- At first, keep it in a warm location.
- When the seeds began to sprout move to a sunny window.
After harvesting, the soil can be then turned over to plant a new batch of seeds. The dead root will become compost which is well fitted. This goes to show how sustainable microgreen farming can be.
What are the risks associated with microgreens?
Its storage time is short. Need to be used right away since they won’t last a week.
Can become contaminated by the soil, irrigated water, or the type of microgreen. Frequent rinsing when harvesting may help as well as the use of clean water and soil.
Microgreens can be eaten in different forms.
- Can be eaten raw such as in sandwiches and salads.
- It can be used as garnishes on pizzas and omelets.
- Prepared in soup, pasta, stir-fries, and curries.
- It can also be blended to make juice and smoothies.
As you can see microgreens are a cost-effective vegetable to grow with your teens as an alternative to fully grown vegetables in the comfort of your home. They are fun and easy to grow and require barely any attention. This fits fairly well in any teen’s agenda.
Growing our own food is rewarding and we should nurture that in our teens. Given an opportunity to produce fresh greens, especially one that is healthy and tasty, we should grasp it.
It is yet another way to get our teens excited about eating their greens.
Thank you for dropping by and let me leave you with these questions.
Have you ever consider gardening with your teen? How about producing your own microgreens?
Go ahead and jot down your views below.