Seed catalogs and more seed catalogs!! Tis the season for gardeners to consider the strategy for next season's garden.
Here is New England, we still have many overcast days, but as the days get longer, we begin to see the sun shine and the hint of spring a few months away. Looking at seed catalogs and envisioning the green plants popping through the ground is a way that I get through cold winter evenings. But for me, there is always something beckoning me to play in the soil whether it is my house plants, my windowsill herbs or the newest discovery - growing microgreens. As the sun begins to shine stronger each day, my windowsills and sunny, south facing rooms begin to see the gathering of plant pots and seedlings in anticipation of a fast start to new plants in my vegetable garden. Now I am making room for plastic trays that I can fill with numerous varieties of seeds that I can sprout quickly and begin to have fresh salad greens at my fingertips without any threat of ecoli microbes.
We have always known the nutritional advantage of sprouts because of the full value of plant nutrients within the seeds themselves. Now we have the advantage of experiencing what happens when those seeds are planted in soils warmed at home in a sunny window and containing the dense nutrients provided by the chlorophyll within their green cousins. There are any number of things that you can raise this way from obvious salad greens to their herbal cousins for flavor combinations and diverse vitamins and minerals as a base for your winter salads. In Europe, it has always been a custom to have a simple green salad with meals with fresh olive oil and vinegar. The combinations, shapes and sizes are diverse. If you google growing microgreens at home, there are many sources of information with instructions.
Some of the more uncommon greens are mache, beets, broccoli, arugula, cress, nasturtium, radish, peas, sunflower, celery, buckwheat. Or how about the herbs basil, mustard, cilantro, parsley, oregano, alfalfa, dill, leeks. These are just a "taste" of what is available for creative cooks as well as not so creative. Even if you only grow one kind of green that you use as a salad base for your household, the consistent contribution of nutrient value in these simple salads will increase your health and immunity in a season when ripe, fresh vegetables are not so easy to come by. They are picked fresh from your home garden and no value is lost in transport.
The other way you can use all these wonderful shapes and flavors of greens is to use them as garnishes on sandwiches, wraps, meats and sauces. So the skies the limit. While you're dreaming about your summer garden; start a mini-version in your house. You may find that microgreens are a great addition to raised beds and patio gardens if space is limited.
So dream on……….
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.