Microgreens: A Tray of Summer in the Depth of Winter

by: Aidan Feeney

Winter can be a time of despair for gardeners. To the uninitiated, it is hard to describe how a gardener feels perusing the produce aisles of Stop & Shop in the winter months. California-farmed greens are no substitute for a fresh salad from your own garden. Luckily, there is a way to move your garden indoors during these dark and cold months.

Microgreens are a relatively new culinary trend. You have probably seen them accentuating plates at high-end restaurants, used for both visual appeal and to pack flavor into a dish. Originally, I was reluctant to try growing microgreens because I saw them as impractical and nothing more than an ornamental garnish.

Since that time, however, I have come to appreciate them as food. Fresh microgreens have an exquisite texture that is crisp yet delicate, and the best way I can describe their flavor is supercharged.

Microgreens are similar to sprouts, which most people are familiar with already. The difference between the two is that microgreens are grown in soil and sprouts are germinated in water without the use of soil or a potting mix.

The fact that microgreens are grown in soil opens up a lot more possibilities for crop selection. With sprouts, you need to grow fast-germinating crops, otherwise the seeds will rot in the water. With microgreens, there is a learning curve with each type of crop and some are much harder to grow than others, but with that said, people grow a wide variety of crops as a microgreen, including corn, cilantro, amaranth, nasturtium and any other vegetable you can think of.

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