micro-greens

What are micro-greens?

If you’ve dined out almost anywhere over the last few years, you are bound to have had a garnish or side salad made up of tiny leaves, or shoots and even tendrils. In essence these are micro-greens, otherwise known as baby leaves. But what you might not know is that they are incredibly easy to grow.

Mustard and cress

Did you ever grow mustard and cress at school?? Well those little plants were micro-greens and if you can grow them, you can grow anything. Sprouted beans and seedlings are also micro-greens; you just eat the sprouts and the still attached seeds together. 

micro-greens with rocket seedlings
Image: Martin Mulchinock

You can grow seeds, sprouts and mini-greens virtually anywhere. On a kitchen windowsill, or a table in the house. All you need is a watertight tray to protect your work surface and some absorbent material like kitchen roll or a piece of clean toweling. Then you need some suitable seeds – it’s best to buy seeds designed for sprouting or for micro-greens to be sure that they haven’t been pretreated with chemicals, but you can also sow and grow dried peas from your larder.

Fresh shoots

The young shoots of peas, broad beans, garlic, chives and even leeks have really fresh clean flavours that can be used in your meals. The leaves of some plants that you may already be growing can also be used such as beetroot, nasturtiums and broad beans. Baby leaves of young seedlings are now called Micro Leaves and have become a trendy sensation in Michelin Starred establishments. You can grow them really easily at home from special sprouting seed and add them to your dishes as garnishes or one of your five a day The concentrated flavours and fresh tastes are unique, just make sure you sow seed designed for the purpose, And don’t forget the herbs. Just a few leaves can create a real taste hit.

pea shoots
Young pea shoots. Image: Martin Mulchinock

Room to grow

Grow your own has spread to the tinier plots and spaces, enabling anyone with a balcony, patio or terrace to dabble in the fine art of growing ingredients. Herbs and salads are the choice of many and even those stuck indoors have used their newly honed houseplant skills to grow micro-greens, windowsill herbs and seed sprouts. Instagram has exploded with images and stories of newbie gardeners sharing their newfound passions with thousands and thousands of followers. This ‘growing ingredients’ dimension as a lifestyle choice is becoming the norm. Our living and lifestyle spaces are expanding with this abundance of taste bytes to savour, enjoy and share.

Gardening and growing is not just on-trend but has morphed into a way of modern life. Small space growing has become a new way of growing and is the perfect pastime for pretty much everyone who wants to have a grow. It’s also ideal for those who have gardened for decades, and perfect for a corner or more of the greenhouse. 

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