With the cooler weather of fall upon us, it is time to
conder moving our gardening efforts indoors, which make growing microgreens an
But what to grow as microgreens?
Considering most garden vegetables and herbs can be grown as
Microgreens, the options are many. So, which microgreens to grow for your
family depends on what your family eats regularly, and Your family’s taste preferences.
Most Common Types oF Microgreens
The broad type of microgreens (listed below in family
groups) Should provide the basics of what
kind of taste the microgreens will have, and the growing conditions the type of
The Amaranthaceae family includes amaranth,
beets, chard, quinoa, and spinach.
Amaryllidaceae family includes chives, garlic,
leeks, and onions.
The Apiaceae family includes carrot, celery,
dill, cilantro, and fennel.
The Asteraceae family includes chicory, endive,
lettuce, and radicchio.
The Brassicaceae family includes arugula,
broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, and watercress.
The Cucurbitaceae family includes
cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squashes.
The Lamiaceae family includes the most common
herbs like mint, basil, rosemary, sage, and oregano.
The Poaceae family includes grasses and cereals
like barley, corn, rice, oats, and wheatgrass.
The Poaceae family also includes in legumes,
including beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
One of the key points to know is how many seeds to use, by sprouting container size. Here are a few starting guidelines which can be adjusted according to your experience. I have found that these measurements generally work, but keep in mind that I use my spouts after they have had a couple of days to mature and fill the container. If you use your sprouts as soon as they emerge, you may want to up the quantity a little bit.
1 teaspoon (tsp) of dry seeds for a pint (16 oz) container
2 tsp of seeds for a quart (32 oz) container
1 Tablespoon of seeds for a ½ gallon (64 oz) container
The sprouts should be dry to the touch. In most cases, you can let your sprouts sit for 8-12 hours after their last rinse, and drain before we refrigerate them.
Store your sprouts in, meal size, ventilated produce bag, glass or plastic container. If storing in ventilated containers be sure the vent is open. Also, space your ventilated produce bag, in a way that allows the air to circulate around them.
Place the packaged sprouts in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, if you do not plan to consume the sprouts within a day or two.
Alfalfa is a
perennial plant known botanically as Medicago sativa or commonly referred to as
lucern. It has been used as forage for years. However, there is more to alfalfa
greens than just making hay. The high-protein alfalfa sprouts are good for
humans to eat and contain a myriad of nutritional value.
sprouts are low in calories, contain vitamins B and K, plant proteins and
dietary fiber making them suitable for people with digestion problems. Studies
have shown that alfalfa greens reduce bad cholesterol and may help manage blood
sugar in people with diabetes.
Begin your journey to an alfalfa sprouts nutrition by growing your sprouts at home. Growing alfalfa sprouts is simple and gives you guaranteed supply of fresh, organic, healthy alfalfa greens. You can obtain the seeds from a seed store near you and grow them in a jar. Let’s have a look at how you can grow them indoors.
Growing Alfalfa Sprouts Using a Jar
Wash and rinse two tablespoons of alfalfa seeds.
Place seeds inside a jar, add water up to 2 inches above the seeds then cover the container and Leave it to soak overnight or for at least 12 hours.
Drain the water in the morning using gauze or cheesecloth, rinse the seeds with room temperature water and drain away the rinsing water. Place the jar away from direct sunlight.
Continue rinsing and draining the seeds twice a day every day until sprouts begin to form. This should happen after 3 to 4 days.
When clumping begins to form in the jar, stir the sprouts and remove the hulls that appear at the top of the container.
After one week, the sprouts are ready for harvesting, and you can place them in the sun for 20 minutes to activate their enzymes for better nutritional value.
You can store your alfalfa sprouts in the fridge in a plastic container for up to five days. Make sure to remove any yellow shoots to avoid it spreading.
It is important to sterilize the containers used in the sprouting process and maintain high levels of hygiene when handling the sprouts to avoid transfer of bacteria.
How to Use Alfalfa Sprouts at Home.
You can reap the benefits of alfalfa sprouts nutrition by incorporating the sprouts into your diet – whether cooked, steamed or raw. Below are different ways of how you can use the sprouts to boost your nutrient intake.
Juice and smoothies.
Mature alfalfa sprouts with two leaves are appropriate for juicing. You should wash and rinse the sprouts, wrap them in a vegetable leaf like lettuce and put them in a juicer to extract the juice. You can also add the sprouts to your smoothies.
Toast the green alfalfa sprouts in the oven to get rid of bacteria and to make them crunchy. Add them to your salad and sandwiches for a healthy boost.
In soups and stews and stir-fries.
You can prepare your soup or stew until it is cooked then add alfalfa green sprouts towards the end. This will avoid overcooking and ensure that they maintain their crunchiness. Stir-fry your vegetables then add alfalfa sprouts towards the end of your cooking to prevent the alfalfa greens from wilting.
Grow Your Own Alfalfa Sprouts
You can grow your alfalfa sprouts and enjoy all the health benefits this “queen of forage” has to offer. Speak to your doctor before consuming alfalfa greens if you are on blood thinning medication, pregnant or have a compromised immune system.
greens are rich in a wide variety of nutrients including Vitamin K, Vitamin C,
Folate, Magnesium, Copper, Phosphorous, Manganese, Zinc, Iron, Thiamine,
Riboflavin, Carotene, and Potassium among others.
Alfalfa has been used for decades across different cultures in the world to support good health and for medicinal purposes. For instance, it was used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve appetite and to alleviate digestive system disorders.
How to Grow Alfalfa Microgreens Indoors
microgreens are easy to grow. They can be grown all year round with peak
seasons being during fall and spring. They tolerate a wide range of climates.
Since alfalfa roots develop quickly and do not grow deep, you can grow them at
home in pots, containers or trays.
The microgreens are propagated from seeds. Within 3-5 days of planting, the microgreens will have sprouted. Water them and ensure they have adequate light and they will be ready for harvesting within 10-14 days. After planting, maintenance includes weeding and pest control which can be achieved organically or using pesticides or herbicides.
Growing Alfalfa Indoors
Alfalfa microgreens are some of the easiest plants that you can grow indoors. Since they grow fast, you can repeatedly plant them for a continuous supply throughout the year. All you need is a surface for planting such as a tray or a pot, and adequate light – you can place the tray/pot near a window or use a gardening bulb during the winter season.
GROWING ALFALFA IN TRAYS
Step-by-step Guide to Growing alfalfa in trays
Find a shallow tray (1.5 – 2.5 inches deep).
Fill the tray with potting mix or soil up to a
level of one-half inches.
Spread the soil/potting mix evenly to form a
Scatter the alfalfa seeds evenly over the soil
Sprinkle a thin layer or the soil/potting mix
over the seeds.
Using a spray bottle, sprinkle water over the
Place the tray near a window or near a source of
You may cover the tray with a piece of cloth or
a perforated plastic bag to create a humid and warm environment that promotes
germination while allowing adequate flow of air into the soil and the seeds.
or sprinkle water on the germinating seeds.
Once the seeds
begin to germinate, remove the cloth or paper bag that was covering the
tray as the shoots grow up to 4 inches high.
Within 10-14 days the microgreens will be ready
for harvesting. If you allow them to continue to grow, they will develop into
seedlings and later into alfalfa plants.
To harvest the alfalfa microgreens, hold a
section on the one hand and snip the
stems just above the soil with scissors.
You may store the fresh microgreens in a jar in
the refrigerator for about a week. Otherwise, you may dry them and store in an
airtight container for up to 3 months.
Growing alfalfa pots
The procedure for growing alfalfa in pots is similar to growing alfalfa in trays; only instead of using a shallow tray, you’ll use a shallow pot or small containers. This has the advantages of allowing you to grow in small batches and to put the pots in smaller sunny spots around the house.
How to Use Alfalfa at Home
microgreens are a great option for adding green vegetables to your diet. You
can use them in:
Sandwiches • and salads.
They can also be juiced or blended with fruits. Growing alfalfa indoors ensures that you have a constant supply of the microgreens throughout the year.