Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Microgreens Experiment

As part of my "lose it to gain it" plan I'm working on, I need to eat more vegetables (not that I don't eat a lot anyway - I'd gladly become a vegetarian if meat wasn't so god-damned tasty) and more importantly, more vegetables that offer a high nutritional content.  So, microgreens!

What are microgreens?  Sprouts.  Basically.  Well, kinda.  Microgreens includes the salad greens and leafy vegetables as well as herbs and edible flowers.  And sprouts.  Microgreens includes a variety of edible, yet immature greens harvested up to a month after planting.  You eat not only the first proper set of leaves, but also the stems and even the seed leaves (cotyledons).

So, basically, I want to grow these in a quantity and format that there is enough to eat every day in various forms.

Day 1
So, to do this I went to a garden shop (in this case, just to Bunnings as they were open at 5:45pm one evening) and bought some seeds (shown below) as well as some 5L plastic containers.  I then decided to use the 5L containers to store stuff in - such as the unused seeds and potting mix - and use takeaway food containers (of which I have a half dozen or so - Fred's chicken necks come in these) instead.

As I had some left over potting mix downstairs, I wet that with water from the fish tank, put about 2cm in the bottom of each food container then sprinkled the seeds I wanted on top of this potting mix.  Some places suggest soaking the seeds overnight - I didn't do this but if there is a less than stellar result from this first attempt, may try that.

I then covered the seeds with a thin layer of dry potting mix and put the covers on the container to keep the moisture in.

I then placed the containers on the verandah where they get a reasonable amount of afternoon sun (except on a day like today when it is heavily overcast and rainy).  You can also see the sweet basil and coriander (cilantro) growing in pots - Pete and Linda kindly donated these to my collection. :)  For those people who hate coriander, you're wrong! :)

I will spray these containers each day with a spray bottle filled with pre-pooed-in fish tank water (fish poo, not Outspoken Wookie poo - that would be gross).  In a few days I should see the seeds starting to germinate and then a week or two after that I should have a decent crop.  We'll see...  I'll then work out how long they take to grow and what sort of harvest I get and work out how many more containers I will need in a rotation and how often I will need to set a rotation off.  :)

Update: Day 6

I've left the containers inside until around lunch time today.  They seeds have germinated quite nicely and I'll now leave the lids off and leave them all on the verandah during the day and bring them into the kitchen at night so they can receive early morning sun.  Looking good so far! :)  The basil and coriander are also coming along nicely.

Update: Day 7

I thought I'd take a closer photo this time - they seem to be doing well - the "D" container did have fewer seeds in it to begin with and the result shows that. They are all looking quite decent and I'll leave them another few days and see how they look before I start sampling them. :)

Update: Day 10

OK, so I think I could call this a success.  The "D" packet (Kale, Cabbage Red and Pea Morgan) may need a little more loving, else I will drop it and try something else later.  Maybe I didn't sprinkle enough seeds?  Aside from that, the rest look good - especially the "B" packet - the Hot & Spicy Mix of Radish, Radish Red Arrow, Kale Red Russian and Broccoli.  Now, how did this experiment know that this is the one of the four I was most interested in?  :)  I'd like the Alfalfa to be a little heavier next time, too.    But all up, I'll call this a successful first attempt with a little tweaking needed to get it to a regular production level for myself. :)

I will add another update or two here and then see how long it takes me to eat through this lot.  I'll start another batch probably on Monday next week (it is Friday now).  This will let me see how many sets I need to have in a rotation to keep this all at a satisfactory level.


The Outspoken Wookie