Let’s grow micro greens!
MUNCY – Last month Susie Styer presented an informative program at the Muncy Public Library on growing microgreens. She and her family have been growing a large variety of micro greens on their Lairdsville farm and selling them for culinary purposes to area restaurants. They are the tasty shoots of many salad greens and herbs such as arugula and clover, and much more nutritious than their larger sized counterparts according to Styer.
“Any seed can be sprouted,” she said, “and can be grown outside or inside.” The basic requirements are indirect light, good air flow and temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees. Microgreens can be grown outside or inside which makes them nice to produce in the winter if grown indoors. Use regular potting soil with a layer of about one inch across a tray.
Styer brought in pea shoots, broccoli, kale, and buckwheat to sample. “You can use any garden seeds,” she explained. “Radishes and sunflower seeds work real well and are easy to start.”
Some smaller seeds need to be sprouted first in a jar to grow faster such as basil. Styer said she uses about one cup of seeds per tray for the microgreens which will begin to sprout in about ten days. “Stack the trays and force the roots to grow.” The trays will need drainage. Some seeds can be placed in a jar or bowl overnight. Once the seeds are drained, they can be sprouted which usually takes about 24 hours.
They must be watered every day until they reach their desired height, close to six inches high at the most. “I like to mist them with a spray bottle,” said Styer. Once they are sprouted she advises to put them into refrigeration after the shoots are cut above the roots.
Styer, who grew up on a dairy farm, said her entire family enjoys the microgreens. She and her husband, Keith, have been involved with community supported agriclulture (CSAs) for the past seven years. They chose to grow microgreens becuase of their rich nutritional value. “They are so nutritious and it is easy to develop a taste for them.”
Her three small children have been enjoying them as well. “I love them,” said Sammy Styer who added that he likes to eat them right from the jar or tray. However, they are best in salads.