Fresh Greens for Winter

If you are a Canadian gardener, than you are feeling it in January. You might stare out your frosted over windows and appreciate the low sun for the dramatic-ness of it, but you know that it doesn’t give off nearly enough light to grow anything, even if the warmth was available. Your body might be starting to feel a bit depleted as even the store bought onions are not in their prime anymore; with their outer layers being somewhat mouldy and soft.

You are desperate for something fresh and today I am going to inspire you with 2 indoor crops. These crops will allow you to touch the soil and to eat something fresh that was was grown in just a few days right in your own house.

Here is what the Canadian gardener can do to get over that winter hump: Learn to sprout and to grow micro greens this winter! These are 2 crops that any Canadian can grow even in the middle of a low light and cold month like January, and here’s how you get started.

Micro Greens:_dsc9050

Get some ProMix (it’s a brand of potting mix that I find works really well) and put an inch or two in the bottom of a tray. Add enough water so that your potting mix is damp. Pre soak some pea seeds overnight, or for at least 2 hours before sprinkling them on top of the damp growing medium. Place this tray on top of a warm surface; there are warming mats that you can purchase from garden centres, or put it near a heater, or on top of a fridge or freezer, which can sometimes provide enough warmth for sprouting.

Once the seeds have started to sprout you can remove them from the heat source and place them in a sunny location instead. You can use full spectrum grow lights, but actually pea sprouts don’t require the lights, and I have noticed they grow more compact without an additional source of light, which seems more desirable to me. When your sprouts are at a good height (this can be determined by you!) cut them using scissors and add them to your salads, sandwiches or stir fries. Amazingly they taste just like peas!

Expect this process to take about a week from when you soak them to when you harvest them. Quick and easy.

The peas will actually sprout several times over if you let them, but each time there will be img_1817less nutritional value available. I like to add the whole tray of ProMix and pea seeds to my compost or garden beds as a natural soil amendment.

Enjoy these fresh and highly nutritious winter greens that are easy to grow at any time of the year, enjoying the mineral boost that they will provide your body, which is a particular bonus in the winter when your body is more starved for nutrition.

Note: Try growing sunflower sprouts for variation.

Sprouting:

Rinse some lentils or mung beans (or seed of choice) then cover them with water in a jar or other vessel over night. In the morning drain them, and rinse them once more before bed. They can be eaten usually within 24 hours of starting this process, but if you want them to grow longer “tails” continue to rinse them once or twice per day and be amazed! Easier img_1819than pie and far healthier.

Repeat these instructions until you can’t stand to look at another sprouted mung bean. Hopefully by that point you’ll have some spinach coming up in your outdoor beds to add some dietary variation. Have fun!

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