A Green Patch in March

012Around now, having gotten through the better part of heavy winter, most of us are eager for spring.  For me, I’m looking not just for warmth, but for some colour, especially some green, but most days March is a month of browns and greys.

I took these colour needs into my own hands this year, and for the first time am growing microgreens.  These are like baby greens, harvested when they are teeny little guys, and are amazingly flavourful garnishes for sandwiches, soups, salads, or just snacking.  They are also really pretty, and an easy pick-me-up during winter.

If I had gotten my green hankering earlier in the winter, when the daylight hours were still quite short, I could still have grown them in the basement, where we have a grow light.   But I started in early March, and gave my Mizuna Asian Greens and Astro Arugula (from High Mowing Seeds) a try next to a (partly blocked) south facing window.  And they grew!

I can now attest that growing microgreens is totally fun and wonderful to do with children.  Firstly, they’re instant gratification in the planting world.  Ready for harvest after about 10 days, microgreens will germinate as soon as a day after being sown.  Secondly, your kids will get to play in something akin to dirt.  Thirdly, they’ll know that they can grow things.  And fourthly, the microgreens are delicious – yes, my kids ate them! –  that they are so small and cute makes them that much more appealing.

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You only need 5 things to grow these puppies:

  • microgreen seeds
  • seed starting mix (some people grow microgreens in potting soil, but my books and local garden storekeeper told me seed starting mix, which actually has no soil, is better)
  • a tray with drainage holes to grow them in
  • a cover for the tray (or plastic wrap)
  • a sunny window or a grow light

The planting is even simpler:

  • moisten the seed starting mix with water until just damp 
  • lay an inch of soil into the tray
  • sprinkle seeds (don’t cover the seeds after sprinkling)
  • cover the tray to keep humidity in

After this, you just mist the seeds once or twice a day, which is a wonderful excuse to check in on them as they will basically transform before your eyes.  I planted our first batch (too thickly) by myself to see if it would work.  It did, and my boys (6 and 4) watched it grow.

A week later (succession planting!), I invited them to try.  They ran to the table, and didn’t leave until I had to ask them to.  It was a good time, one that we’ll repeat for sure, and now we have some much needed patches of green inside, to tie us over until the ones outside start to wake up.

 

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