Rediscovery of Microgreens

Written by Dyami Millarson

There has been a renewed international interest in microgreens in recent years since they are easy to grow vegetables in urban areas. As the world’s urbanisation is increasing, this renewed interest is understandable. People are looking for new methods of food production. I had subconsciously always been aware of the potential of microgreens for years. When I lived in Amsterdam as a toddler, my father would show me how to grow microgreens. It made a deep impression on me that the seeds would soon sprout and that it was possible to grow vegetables indoors in the urban environment of Amsterdam where few people have gardens. As said, the mental image of growing microgreens indoors stayed with me for years and I recently felt I wanted to do more with this after not having grown microgreens for the last 2 decades of my life.

The image above shows what we used for growing microgreens in Amsterdam. It brings back nostalgia because we have not used it at least since 1998. Maybe we used it for the last time in 1997 if I recall correctly. Be that as it may, I decided to use it again after many years on 26 August 2019. The reason was that I had rediscovered it along with the concept of growing microgreens. Recently I have been refreshing my knowledge about growing plants in an urban environment. By the end of August, I thought that it might be a good idea to grow some seeds. I planted a few chicory seeds and they sprouted within a few days:

This sparked my interest in indoors gardening and so I wanted to learn more about germinating seeds, growing fruits, vegetables and microgreens. I watched YouTube videos non-stop for a few days and I learned a dozen new facts. However, microgreens really caught my attention and the possibilities offered by microgreens captivated my mind in late August, because it had been in my mind all this time, although I never did anything with the knowledge that was subconsciously there. When I think about growing plants indoors, the image of growing microgreens in Amsterdam appears before my mind’s eye.

I put 5 different kinds of seeds in all 5 layers, and I gave some water to the uppermost layer, so that the water would flow down to the lower layers. I thought the person who engineered this system was really smart for 3 reasons: (a) if one allows the seeds to fall in the middle of each layer, they will bounce off the plastic bottom and be spread quite evenly over the round bottom as you can see above, (b) the rubbons at the bottom of each layer allow the plants coming from the seeds to stand upright as they provide along with the working of the Earth’s gravity just enough support to the plants for this (plants also grow “upright” in space, but our plabet’s gravity would pull the plants down if the aforementioned layers did not provide enough support, for instance, by having a completely flat bottom) and (c) one only has to water the uppermost layer and remove the excess water from the lowermost layer.

The image above was taken in the morning of 28 August, which was a Wednesday. As you can see, the seeds had already sprouted. I noticed in the morning of the previous day, Tuesday 27 August, that the seeds already had started sprouting. I had not taken a picture of the seeds on that day, because I was busy buying pot soil, new terracotta pots, and planting and germinating other seeds. The amazing thing about microgreens is that you can see immediate results. The weather in late August was very conducive to plant growth and seed germination, so I seized the occasion to germinate many seeds including those of 5 different types of microgreens. I am glad it all worked out, and I learned a few new things from the entire experience, and I hope to share my discoveries and thoughts regarding the varied possibilities offered by microgreens with our readers in the future.

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