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Grow Your Own Superfood!

Ounce for ounce, some of the most nutritious food we can grow comes in the tiniest of gardens! Think sprouts, microgreens, and baby greens! They’re all powerhouses of goodness, and growing them is so much easier than you might think!

Many of the seeds for these foods are plants we normally use at a different stage in their growth. For example, the microgreens shown above are two-inch tall sprouts of black oil sunflower seeds. The tiny bit of seed husk gives them away! Sunflowers at this stage taste like sweet crisp juicy lettuce. Just yummy!

A Bonus of Growing Sprouts and Greens

Everything about growing these small-scale “gardens” shouts out “C’mon kids! Let’s grow something fun!”

Think about it: Tiny plants children can start themselves right at eye level so that they can sow, water, and watch them grow! Within days, they’re able to eat their harvest. And it’s healthy for them in the bargain! What’s not to love?

Sprouts, Microgreens, and Baby Greens: What’s what?

Sprouts are seeds that have just opened their husk or shell and sent out a tiny root like the alfalfa sprouts common in grocery stores. Microgreens are sprouts that have matured enough to produce their first set of leaves, like the sunflowers shown above. Baby greens are microgreens that have continued to grow and produce more leaves, looking like tiny versions of what we think of as “adult” plants, ready to eat. In every form, these foods are bundles of nutrients, packed with vitamins and minerals.

What do Sprouts and Microgreens Taste Like?

Would you be surprised to learn that even the tiniest of sprouts taste just like they would if they were fully grown?

The beautiful sprouts with the red stems upper right in this bowl are beet sprouts, and they taste just like sweet fresh beets! Radish sprouts taste like radishes, and pea microgreens taste exactly like the first tender peas of the season. You get the idea.

Meet Linda, Tagawa’s Sprouts and Microgreens Wizard! (Wizardess?)

Linda may look familiar to Tagawa guests. She’s part of our excellent team of Garden Advisors at Dick’s Corner. She’s also the lady behind our sprouts, microgreens, and baby greens display of tiny growing plants and all the supplies you’d need to grow your own.

If you talk to Linda about growing these superfoods, it won’t be long before she tells you earnestly “It’s so easy”! And it is.

Start by Choosing What You Want to Grow

Tagawas carries more than thirty different varieties of seeds appropriate for growing sprouts, microgreens, and baby greens. All of these come from Botanical Interests, the Broomfield company that routinely includes excellent growing instructions inside each packet.

Linda’s also created a free Tagawa handout to help newbies get started with this special kind of gardening.

You Have Your Seed. Now What?

Sprouts can be started in something as simple as a canning jar with a special lid. They’ll also grow beautifully in a special tray with compartments that can accommodate different varieties of seed at the same time, as seen below.

For microgreens, (again, more mature than sprouts but not as big as baby greens), Linda selects a special two-tray set-up. The top tray (below) holds the soil and drains excess water into the lower tray. Nice ‘n tidy.

She sprinkles the seed generously on the moist seed-starting mix or potting soil, mists it with water, then covers it with plastic to keep the humidity high until the seeds sprout. With proper light and moisture, the tiny plants could qualify as superfoods in as little as a week. Other types of seed can take a bit longer.

Harvesting is Easy!

All you need to do to harvest the sprouts is to cut, rinse, and dry them, then store them in an airtight container… assuming there are any left. With the microgreens, Linda uses a sharp pair of scissors to harvest part or all of the crop, cutting just above the soil line.

For a continuous harvest, have two or three of these tiny gardens in different stages of growth at the same time. Sow one crop… wait several days… sow another. When the first garden is ready, another garden with another harvest will soon be able to take its place.

Smoothies, Salads, Sandwiches, Garnish – Your Choice!

There are so many ways to use sprouts, microgreens, and baby greens. Whether it’s all about pumping up your nutrition or you’re drawn by the subtle layers of flavor that even a few of these tiny plants can offer, growing these power-packed superfoods can be a great project any time of year.