Monday, February 8, 2016

Harvest Monday - 8 February 2016

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! Us northern gardeners get itchy this time of year to see things growing, so anything in that endeavor is most welcome. In leafing through the Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog I came upon something I hadn't considered before--growing micro greens indoors. We have a lovely sunroom that gets quite warm and has lots of light. I use it to start seedlings, but not typically until much later in the year. Why not try something you can "harvest" in the dead of winter?

So I bought a packet of "Mild Micro Mix." It was kind of expensive (as are all Johnny's products in my opinion), $16.50 for four ounces. This mix is all brassicas. I filled a tray with 1.5 inches of potting soil, scattered the seeds heavily as recommended, covered with a thin layer of true vermiculite (not perlite, which to me is just tiny rocks), and misted several times a day. Before too long, there was green everywhere. What a pleasant sight!

Johnny's says to harvest when the first set of true leaves develops. But mine just sort of sat there with its seed leaves for longer than I anticipated. Maybe I had sowed too heavily. I decided to harvest anyway. Harvesting is just giving it a haircut with a pair of shears.

The result was a nice package of mildly-spicy greens; just enough to serve as a salad for two couples. It was delicious with a little bit of light Caesar dressing.

I will definitely grow at least one more crop of this before we get into the main seed starting time. It really was no work at all, fun, and great-tasting. Plus you feel like you are doing something!

On this same concept, I'm growing sprouts for sandwiches. I added alfalfa and Chinese Cabbage seeds for sprouting (i.e. not treated with anything) to my Pinetree Seeds order. If you have not done this before, all you need is a wide-mouth quart canning jar and a screen. Soak a tablespoon of seeds for 6 hours, drain, then rinse daily until ready. The alfalfa only takes about 5 days. I especially love them on a warm toasty onion bagel with sharp cheddar cheese. So healthy too!

I've done several batches of alfalfa, but my first attempt sprouting the Chinese Cabbage failed--it got moldy and stank to high heaven. I'm trying another batch right now, with only a half-tablespoon. Maybe that was the problem. Or the seeds could be bad. Or this is not the way to do it.

I encourage you to try growing sprouts and micro greens if the "gardening" urge is just too much right now, or just for health and taste!

Next weekend I will start my artichoke, leek, and onion seeds. And weather permitting, we will begin to tap our maple trees. Spring is on the way!

Thanks to Dave at Our Happy Acres for hosting Harvest Monday.


  1. Well, that is just awesome - what a great harvest! I've often had the thought of growing winter greens in the back of my head - it's definitely on the To Do list, so I'm quite interested to see how others get on with it. I wonder how long you will be able to harvest for?

    1. While each harvest is one-and-done, I guess there really is no limit to how many times I can replant it. I'm thinking just one before it starts to get somewhat busy around here.

  2. The sprouts and micro greens and a great way to get something fresh and green going in the winter time. I sometimes make my own mix from leftover seeds (radish, lettuce, arugula, kale, etc). It's all good! And good luck on the tapping.

    1. Thanks Dave. Myself, I'm cautious about sprouting seeds I use for planting. Even a good shop like Fedco says they make no guarantees their seeds aren't treated in some way. So I stick to "certified" untreated seeds sold just for this purpose.

  3. Those greens look fantastic - I always loved sprouts on sandwiches. I want to grow micro-greens but don't really have a good space. I fill up my dining room with seedlings in the spring but not sure I want to have that going thru the winter and my basement is too cold. Ah well ... another chore for another year.