Many of you have been receiving bags of micro-greens from your garden during this past month and might be curious to learn more about them. Microgreens hold the dual benefit of allowing us to thin vegetable plants withing the first 1-3 weeks to achieve the space they need while harvesting those thinnings as micro-greens to spice up your soups, sandwiches and garnish your plates! The reason we thin plants is to promote stem and leaf strength and aid a dominant plant in its growth cycle.
The rumor as to whether or not these tiny leaves have nutritional value has finally been proven. A study was conducted, very close to home, at the University of Maryland in College Park, to find out the nutritional value of micro-greens. What they discovered was just as shocking as the flavor of these minuscule, little greens. In 25 different varieties of micro greens they found that most had four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant. Variations found among them only had to do with which different vegetables having different levels of vitamins, i.e. – red cabbage was highest in vitamin C, while the green Daikon radish microgreens had the most vitamin E. Of course, other factors that can affect the nutrition in your greens include soil quality, where you grow them, and when you harvest; although this is true for any vegetable, whether micro or full grown.
The micro greens that you are most likely chomping on include: beets, radishes, spinach, turnips, kale, chard, cabbage, arugula, kale, and lettuces.
Did you know ? Sprouts are different than Microgreens. Sprouts are seeds that have been germinated in water, while Microgreens are simply the first leaves of your vegetable plants. They have two initial leaves called the cotyledons and usually one pair of very small, partially developed true leaves. The typical stem and leaf configuration for micro greens is about 1” to 1½” in height, and ½” to 1“ in width across the top.
Radishes can be among the first things to be direct seeded and to pop up in your garden, even when the weather is still feeling a bit cold. There’s two types of radish, Spring and Winter, but spring radishes are particularly delightful because of their fast maturity rate.
For the best radishes, plant them in a friable soil when the weather is cool and provide constant moisture. Because the spring varieties mature so rapidly, the key is harvesting them at the right time! You must pull radishes before they pass their prime. The best way to tell maturity is to push some of the soil away and make sure there’s a good-sized bulb, and then to taste! We like crunchy spring varieties of Rover (pictured here) and Watermelon Radish, which is white with a beautiful pink interior.
Did you know ? The ancient Greeks prized radishes above all root crops, even making replicas of them in gold as an offering to the god Apollo.
Love & Carrots is proud to announce our partnership with Live Green DC. Live Green DC offers a membership discount card for DC area businesses and products which uphold a standard of sustainability. Love & Carrots values our commitment to the environment; in Meredith’s words, “The importance of the local food movement cannot be understated. Love & Carrots’ mission is to give people not only the tools to eat local, but the guidance to help them contribute to their own food production.” To learn more about Live Green and to read the full interview with Meredith, visit the Live Green DC website.