Turning sunflower, broccoli, kale, red mustard and red cabbage seeds into microgreens
Today the Planetary Health Initiative taught seed saving to a group of young people participating in the online Permaculture Design Course, so seeds have been on my mind.
Many of the veggies in my garden are going to seed. I’m passionate about saving locally acclimatised seed and about growing it on, but once the plants lose their leaves, if I haven’t been on my game, I lose track of which seeds they are. As a result, I have lots of packets of ‘mixed brassica’ seeds.
There’s also a limit as to how many mustard plants anyone needs, and this definitely hasn’t been the season for growing sunflowers! In fact, there are so many slugs in the garden at the moment that I’m reluctant to plant out any seeds at all!
So, when I read this morning that Carla’s #yearinaday action for the 11th January was to start some alfalfa sprouts because she didn’t want to buy them in plastic, I immediately thought ‘Ah hah!’
I’ve been working to increase our food production because of the pressures on the supply chain, so I started some sprouts immediately near one of our large windows. They’re one of the fastest things to grow. My mother always took a sprouting jar with her when she travelled, and sat it on the dashboard of her car … her mini greenhouse!
I also planted some of my favourite seeds for winter in the greenhouse – Violet Sicilian Cauliflower, Borletta Onions, Parsley and Black Kale. But none of these are ‘NEW’ actions for me (I’ve done both many times over the years).
I began rummaging through all my bags of seeds and saw a tray with lots of small sunflower heads that the bugs were starting to attack. I needed to do more than just one jar of sprouts.
One thing I’ve thought a lot about, but never attempted, was growing microgreens. So today I decided to give them a go. It took almost no time at all to fill a tray of soil with sunflower seeds, broccoli, kale, red mustard and red cabbage seeds.
The tray is now on my back table near the big window, with the seeds well watered in, and I’ve covered it with another dark tray to encourage the microgreens to grow long and leggy. You have to wait months for broccoli and red cabbage to grow, but these should be ready in a couple of weeks – something nutritious to add to our diet while I wait for the larger outdoor crops to get established.
I’ll report back on how they go!