Gardening is hard in Florida, especially if you want to feed yourself from your own back yard. You buy supplies, follow instructions, meticulously plant your seeds and water regularly, and yet those juicy Persian cucumbers end up looking like inedible pickles. But fear not, all you health-conscious, struggling urban gardeners. There’s one easy yard-to-table crop: microgreens.
Microgreens, a superfood craze in pricey restaurants, are just tiny vegetables harvested between seven to 14 days after sprouting. The benefit of microgreens—aside from being able to grow your own food free of pesticides and nasty fertilizers—is that the little flora are packed with a tasty and nutritious punch. Researcher Gene Lester at the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that nearly all of the 25 varieties of microgreens they tested had four to six times more vitamins and phytochemicals than mature leaves from the same plant.
Earth Origins Market, Richard’s Foodporium, Whole Foods and Lucky’s Market sell ready-to-eat microgreens. But local nurseries stock packets of whichever seeds sound most appetizing to you. You can sprout sunflower, broccoli, basil, dandelion, arugula, beet, kale, red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth, green daikon radishes and more.
All you need is a tray (an aluminum lasagna tray with holes punched in the bottom for drainage works well), soil, seeds and a sunny windowsill. The innate desire of these seeds to exist is enough that even the brownest of thumbs shouldn’t have trouble.
When the sprouts are roughly three inches tall (which means they’re now shoots), give them a little haircut with a pair of scissors and put them on a salad or sandwich, or garnish your dish or a smoothie. Or you can graze on them throughout the day if you’ve got an oral fixation.