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Microgreens, grow fresh salad ingredients all year around

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Does winter months have you longing for fresh food? Here is a way to grow your own, no matter what the weather is like outdoors.

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Micro greens are vegetables or herbs that are grown in a shallow container of soil and harvested when the first shoots are still small, usually with just one or two true leaves. In this young stage, nutrients are very concentrated, and taste flavorful.

Since they do not grow to full size, this is a perfect way to grow fresh food year around in shallow containers inside your home. Containers to use include rectangular window boxes, plastic clamshell containers reused from deli purchases, shallow pots and even seedling tays.

Using regular potting soil as the growing medium, fill your container to about 2 inches from the top. For tiny seeds like mustard or arugula, sprinkle the seeds evenly across the top of the soil. Add a small amount of potting soil to just cover the seeds and lightly press down, causing the seeds to come in contact with the soil. For larger seeds such as bean or sunflower, press each seed into the soil, then cover. Sow abundantly and closely.

Water with a misting bottle so the seeds don’t dislodge or wash away. You want to keep the soil moist to the consistency of a wrung out wash cloth. Place in a very bright, sunny area. Be sure to keep the soil from drying out.

Harvesting can be done with a scissors or pull the entire tiny plant up and wash, roots and all. This is especially important for root crops like radish as the flavor is concentrated in the roots. Most varieties will germinate in 5 - 10 days.

Some of the easiest and fastest seed to germinate are cabbage, beet, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, swiss chard and red amaranth. Others that can be used are carrots, cress, arugula, basil, chives, broccoli, fennel, buckwheat, spinach, pea, celery, bok choi, sunflower and beans.

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