When we see the first signs of spring we all get excited to start seed.…
What are micro greens? They are so popular I think it is time to take a deeper look.
The micro green movement started back in California in the early 80s. You can find micro greens on lots of high-end restaurants menus and now they are starting to appear on the menus of more mainstream restaurants.
How seeds work
Seeds are made up of three parts. The coat, the embryo, and the food source.
Get the seeds wet
When you get the seed wet, the coat softens and starts to open.
Let them get out
The embryo is exposed to light, oxygen, and water. The embryo starts to grow using the food source stored inside the seed.
First food source
The cotyledon is the plant’s first food source. It is a dense makeup of protein and carbohydrates that will give the plant nutrients until its first true leaves form.
What is cotyledon?
The cotyledon leaves are the first leaves to emerge. Most plants have two of these leaves however some species have one or three. They give the plant the first opportunity for photosynthesis.
The cotyledon leaves don’t look like true leaves of the plant. Just after these leave open the plant will start to grow its true and distinct leaves. If left along the cotyledon leaves will turn a little brown and fall off the plant. This will happen when the plant has enough true leaves to support its needs.
So what does that mean in relation to micro greens
What are micro greens?
They are very young plants that are picked just after the first of the true leaves develop. Often before the true leaves are completely recognizable.
When you want to harvest take the cuttings include leaves and streams but not the roots from these emerging plants. Most are cut when the plant is about 2″ tall never taller than 3″.
When is it not a micro green?
Micro greens stop being micro and become baby greens when they are taller than 3″ and/or when the cotyledon leaves are no longer the dominant leaves.
Why are micro greens so popular?
There have been a number of studies including this one from the USDA that have found that ounce for ounce micro greens has a greater nutrient value than full-size greens. The theory is that you are eating the dense nutrients packed in the cotyledon leaves.
Aside from being high in nutrients, these little greens provide a lot of flavors. You can add them to a dish almost like you would a seasoning. Each type of micro green has its own flavor and texture. Since they are small you can add them as a topping or side without overwhelming the dish.
What can you grow as a micro green?
Really anything! That’s the fun part of growing them at home. They are quick and easy. Usually, about a week to 10 days starts to finish.
So if you have any leftover seeds from your garden try using them as micro greens. Any seeds or combos of seeds will work. Using end of the season seeds are a great way to try you hand at micro greens.
Some of the most popular types to grow are; sunflower, any lettuce, any herbs, beets, broccoli, peppers, and carrots.
Try a variety of colors to brighten up and add flavor to your dinner.
Sprout, micro greens and baby greens. What’s the difference?
There is a difference.
Sprouts. Typically grown from beans, or sprout greens. These are usually grown in water, not soil and often without light. They are the very beginnings of a plant. Often sprouts have no leaves or just emerging leaves. Sprouts contain the whole plant root included.
Micro greens. Grow in soil mostly. They are the stems and cotyledon leaves with some true leaves. Anything from edible as an adult plant can be grown as a micro green. Micro greens are less than 3″, typical cut at 2″.
Baby greens. Just as the name implies baby greens are young greens. It can be grown in hydroponics or soil. Baby greens are greens and lettuce leaves that are cut from the plant when the leaves are small and young but the shape of the true leaves. These are said to be more tender than the mature leaves.
Greens of all kinds are fun and easy to grow at home. They don’t take up much room and don’t need constant care. Try keeping your garden going through the winter with some greens.
To learn the best lighting to grow healthy micro greens clink here
Thanks for reading what are micro greens. As always your questions and comments are appreciated. And don’t forget to follow me.
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