Micro Greens=Mega Nutrition: Your Guide to Growing Microgreens

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What’s better than spinach, lettuce, squash and carrots? Many foodies say smaller sized versions of those healthy foods. Baby spinach, baby lettuce, baby squash, and baby carrots are praised for their taste and tenderness. Some of us go even smaller and enjoy microgreens for a tasty nutritional punch. Learn how to grow microgreens at home so you can enjoy them anytime.

If you haven’t met microgreens, allow me to introduce you…

Microgreens are young plants (a.k.a. seedlings). As they are harvested a week or two after planting, they only grow to 1-3 inches tall. Popular microgreen varieties are lettuce, kale, beet, mustard, cabbage, and broccoli, although there are numerous other choices.

What they are NOT:

Microgreens are not sprouts. The distinction comes from both how they are grown and the part of the plant you eat. Microgreens are grown in soil whereas sprouts are grown in water. You eat the whole plant (root, stem, leaves) when you eat a sprout but only what is growing above ground for microgreens.

I’m a fan of sprouts, but I’m also aware of their risk of food borne pathogens. Although not immune to food borne illness (nothing is risk free), microgreens run less of a risk than sprouts.

Nutritional powerhouse!

Alternet spoke with Zhenlei Xiao, a post-doc research associate at the University of Maryland, about her research on the nutrition of microgreens. According to Alternet, “The microgreens contained four to six times the vitamin concentration of their mature plants. Xiao compared the same weighted amount of microgreens to their adult counterparts and found several cases where the microgreens were packed with vitamins, often beating their mature-plant self.”

So why are microgreens so packed with nutrients? According to Xiao, “The reasons are still unclear and more research needs to be done…One (theory) is that during the germination stage the cell division is much greater, thus increasing the amount of nutrients in one leaf. It’s almost as if the microgreens are a concentrated version of their adult selves. Another idea is that during the germination stage nutrients are just beginning to be activated and released.”

National Public Radio spoke with Gene Lester, a USDA researcher. The USDA’s findings were similar to Xiao’s: “The researchers looked at four groups of vitamins and other phytochemicals – including vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene — in 25 varieties of microgreens. They found that leaves from almost all of the microgreens had four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant. But there was variation among them – red cabbage was highest in vitamin C, for instance, while the green daikon radish microgreens had the most vitamin E.”

The richer the color of the microgreens, the richer they are in vitamins so choose deep greens and purples versus pale yellows.

How to grow microgreens at home in 3 easy steps:

1. Purchase good quality–non-GMO, organic–seeds from a reputable grower. (I like Johnny’s and High Mowing, but there are many other good suppliers.) Growing microgreens requires more seeds than other vegetables because they grow closer together. So, sow seeds liberally in the growing tray.

2. Sow seeds in a rich potting soil that’s amended with compost. You can grow them in seed trays, decorative ceramic pots, or recycled plastic containers. Keep the soil moist to the touch but not overly wet. Locate the trays (or pots) in a sunny location such as indoors near a south facing window, cold frame, or greenhouse.

3. One of the rewards of growing microgreens is how quickly they go from seed to table. Harvest when the microgreens’ “true leaves” appear (those are the second set of leaves). Most growers harvest any time between 7-14 days. Because the microgreens loose nutrition once they are harvested, stagger your harvest so that you don’t harvest them all at once and then have to store them. Fresh is (always!) best.

Note: Some growers grow microgreens hydroponically (without soil). Although I’ve never tried it myself, it seems like a great idea. If you’re interested in growing them this way, check out this website.

Attention newbies!

If you’re someone who is thinking about gardening but has not yet jumped in with both feet, growing microgreens may help your interest to blossom. Microgreens are relatively easy to grow and can be grown entirely indoors, which is good news for apartment dwellers who don’t have access to outdoor space.

How to enjoy microgreens:

You’re limiting taste and nutrition if you only use microgreens as a garnish. Although they’re great as a garnish for soup, put them center stage (or plate, as the case may be) in salads, stir-fry, sandwiches, rice bowls, and even smoothies.

2016-04-06T11:13:14+00:00

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    A:

    I am delighted you enjoy the Dherbs website. Thank you for your words! Green Vibrance is a pretty good product and would supply you with much needed nutrition as mostly all green foods will. My only concern with the product (Green Vibrance) is the mixing of ingredients. I don't believe in mixing fruits with greens due to the mixture of acids and alkalines. A green food product should be TOTALLY "green foods" only and nothing else. Green Vibrance mixes citrus/acids i.e. grape seed extract, acerola berry juice powder with green foods in addition to bee pollen, royal jelly, wheat germ, etc. Also, as a vegan (strict vegetarian), I object to BEE POLLEN and ROYAL JELLY being used. These are from living entities (insects/animals). I also object to SOY as well which is in the product! Other than this, Green Vibrance is a great product that I would endorse as a source of organic nutrition and dietary fiber. Dherbs MULTI-VITAMINS AND MINERALS FORMULA and other products that are in pill form are in VEGAN capsules that dissolve 100%. At Dherbs.Com, we only use the BEST! Our product is 100% botanical! However, as far as absorption, NOTHING absorbs better than liquid and nothing is better as a source of minerals, vitamins, amino acids than FULVIC ACID which we sell as KHEMETIAN GOLD. This stuff is POWERFUL! 1000% pure nutrition! Do your research on Fulvic and Humic Acid and you'll see why I'm saying what I'm saying! So basically, Beloved, either way (Green Vibrance or VITAMIN B COMPLEX and/or KHEMETIAN GOLD) you'll be getting much needed nutrition! It's your choice! We value and respect free will and we don't believe in competition nor do we have to belittle, negate, or condemn another product or company to make a sale. Our primary concern is that people get what they need nutrition-wise and it doesn't have to come from us. Our goal is not to just sell products, but to properly educate people about human health and that's why we offer 175+ free articles in addition to 100+ products! Peace and Love --- and thank you for your interest in Dherbs.Com! p.s. - read our testimonials on our site and listen to (read about) the American people on what they are experiencing with Dherbs.Com products!

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    The best way to balance blood sugar and keep your body in a fat burning zone is to eat low fat and every 3-4 hours. Also high raw and high carb. Here are some options. Just a general outline.

     

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    Please read our 2 articles on hair for solutions. "HAIR PROBLEMS", "BLACK HAIR, NAPPY HAIR"

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    Q: Can I take the Moringa Formula instead of the Vitamin C formula, and still get the necessary nutrients that my body needs from Vitamin C? My daily regime will goes as follows: Electric Green Combo, Iodine, and Moringa Formula or/and Vitamin C based on your answer. Thanks.

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    Q: I am on my 3rd day of the fully body cleansing. I am definitely doing this to lose weight. I am a 52 year old, black, Christian, wife, mother to 21 and 14 year old girls, legal secretary who is 450 lbs. I am to the point now where if I don't do this I'm going to be housebound. I can barely move some days that is why I started this because I feel so unhealthy. I have a question about the nuts. I got all gun-ho and ordered $135.00 worth of organic nuts from nuts.com. I got raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios and cashews and mixed them all up together (well I purchased 2 lbs of each but I only mixed up 1 lb of each together). Anyway, I was reading about how much calories are in nuts. Should I not pay attention to that because I was consuming a lot of calories in the first place or do I have to watch how many nuts I eat? I have put some nuts in a sandwich bags and basically filled it up and that is supposed to be my nuts ration for the day. I am also eating fruits and vegetables. So far the fruit have been grapes, grapefruit, red apples, pears, green apples and bananas. The vegetables have all been in a salad: tomatoes, celery spinach leaves, carrots, mixed in balsamic vinaigrette. I only ate the salad Monday night all the other times I have just eaten the fruit and nuts. I am also consuming approximately 75-100 oz of water. Sorry I’m long winded I just wanted you to get the entire picture.

    A:

    Thanks for the question, I can definitely help you.

     

    I am currently writing an eBook for www.dherbs.com called "Losing weight the healthy way." I have been a weight loss counselor for many years. I am also a health coach, personal trainer, bodymind nutritionist, and a vegan lifestyle coach. 

     

    When it comes to weight loss most programs want you to lose weight to get healthy. My mindset is to get healthy and lose weight. 

     

    In my health/fitness/nutrition coaching program www.theveganeffect.com I use a lowfat/high carb/ high raw/ nutrient dense/ high alkaline diet to achieve long term weight loss success. So far I am 100 percent in getting clients long lasting weight loss. If you are interested in my program please fill out the health history form on the side of the web page. We could have a free 1 hour initial consultation over skype to see how I can best help you.

     

    Nuts are best kept to a minimum if you use them at all. Nuts are extremely high in fat and have the opposite omega 3- omega 6 ratio that is optimal for health. Seeds are best as far as ratios are concerned. Also nuts are truly easy to over eat and cause your nutrient ratios to be off.

     

    A healthy vegan diet is a high raw fruitarian diet. 

    Example:

    Breakfast: green smoothie. (500-1000 calories of fruits blended with a handful of greens and water)

    Bridge: Dates and strawberries (500 calories) 

    Lunch: Salad with low sugar fruits (cucumber, tomato, squash, bell peppers) topped with fruit, beans, psuedo grains, 

    Bridge: 2-3 apples

    Dinner: Raw wraps (collard greens) with low sugar fruit and tahini

    Snack: Sorbet

     

    Hope this helps

    Gary Gibson HHC CPT BMI VLC

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    Dad needs a serious cleansing! Especially his colon of which the mouth is connected as a part of the alimentary canal. If he has trouble swallowing capsules, our liquid Full Body Cleanse would be ideal for him (in addition to some of our new great teas).

    The foot detox works wonders. This is a powerful way to detox the body.

     

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    Q: I am 4 1/2 months pregnant and have stopped taking prenatal vitamins due to my ignorance and fear! I have both your pre-natal and over the counter vitamins of which I stopped taking. I took the vitamins (as instructed) to my dr. to look at during my visit. He told me to stop taking your vitamins and continue with the store bought. I did research on each ingredient and the only one that scares me is the horsetail. I am what they consider a high-risk pregnancy so I am trying to do my best to stay healthy. Please advise.

    A:

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    Q: My wife just get baby so she's busy with breast feeding. Some of the midwife suggested to use additional vitamin K. My question is should we used it or is there natural ways to give the infant vitamin K?

    A:

    When infants are breast fed, they receive all the nutrients from the milk of the mother and the foods that she is consuming.  The infant can naturally get more vitamin k by having the mother consume more foods that are rich in the vitamin.  Foods that have a high source of Vitamin K include dried basil, thyme or parsley, green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, mustard greens, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, olive oil and dried fruits like prunes, blueberries and peaches.  The diet of a mother that is breastfeeding is very important to the health of the infant.  We suggest trying the Electric Greens combo as it helps provide plant-based nutrients that are beneficial to the health of the mother and the child.

    Product Links:

    10 Day - Electric Greens Combo Cleanse -http://www.dherbs.com/store/10-day-electric-greens-cell-food-cleanse-p-437.html

    Electric Greens Combo -http://dherbs.com/store/electric-greens-combo-p-25.html

     

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    Q: For the last 2 weeks, I've been eating only raw foods. My daily intake mainly consist of snow beans, green beans (string beans), kale, carrots, a small amount butter and crackers, bananas, apples, pears, lettuce, tomatoes, dates, spinach and filtered water. My question is: Am I getting the required nutrients and how would I know if I were not and specifically, how would I know what nutrient was missing. I also take the MALE HORMONAL FORMULA and JACKRABBIT FORMULA (regardless of whether I intend to engage in sexual activity).

    A:

    OF COURSE! WHAT TO KNOW FOR SURE? GO GET A MINERAL TEST DONE. FIND SOMEONE IN YOUR TOWN WHO DOES NUTRITIONAL TESTING OR LIVE BLOOD CELL MICROSCOPY.

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    Q: Thank you for always answering my questions. I have about two more. Okay, I'm currently living overseas where I'm limited on raw fresh foods (vegetables and fruits). I want to do the detox but I'm concerned that I won't have everything as far as raw food to be successful. I have access to basics (apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, melons, lettuce, cabbage, bean spouts, carrots, celery, peppers, green beans, peas, bagged nuts,) but nothing exotic by any means. Then I was told to safely eat some of the food in the local economy that we should wash it with a 5% bleach solution (is that safe...and if on the detox I'm thinking that would be a no go). Two questions?Given the mentioned availability of raw foods could I be able to successfully complete the detox (I don't have an issue with eating the same things over and over again) and two what can I do to clean local produce so that its safe for consumption? Apparently part of the issue is that they use human feces to fertilize. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response

    A:

    Yes, it seems you have enough raw food available to you to complete the cleanse.

    In order to clean local produce, rinse thoroughly with apple cider vinegar to "disinfect" it. If apple cider vinegar is unavailable, just use water.