There isn’t anything else you could grow this easily or this quickly that tastes this good and is so nutritious.
1. MUSTARD- Studies show the antioxidant content can reduce the rate of bladder, colon and lung cancers.
2. PEA shoots are sweet, crisp, crunchy, and taste delicious, like young snow peas.
Germination is enhanced by presoaking for up to 24 hours. Grow at high density and harvest at about 5cm, or cut higher in the stem to grow on.
The shoots give an exotic touch to salads, cooked dishes and meats. They contain protein, carbohydrate and vitamin C, vitamin B1, iron, niacin, magnesium and zinc.
3. RADISH are great microgreens to start with as they germinate quickly in cool or warm conditions and grow vigorously to harvest in 8-10 days.
They are usually picked at cotyledon (true leaf ) stage, when they are tender, crisp and spicy. Use to add colour and bite to salads, and as an attractive garnish. Past cotyledon stage, plants can become woody and hot. Older shoots can be added to soups and stocks.
Radishes, especially the coloured leaf varieties, are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, ranking with broccoli as a health-giving food, especially in cancer prevention.
4. Broccoli may not sound like the most exciting microgreen but for health reasons alone it is worth including. Broccoli is hailed as a superfood, high in iron, minerals, Vitamins A and C and, like radish and mustard, contains sulphoraphene which is linked to cancer prevention. Studies at John Hopkins University show that a couple of ounces a day will elevate the body’s protective enzymes. Broccoli is one of the easiest microgreens to grow, germinating readily from 10-25°C. Sow thickly for heavy yields. Like radish, broccoli greens are best cut young at the true leaf stage, and high in the stem.
5. ROCKET adds a sharp, piquant spice which enlivens other milder greens. It’s also a great option for autumn/winter sowing, germinating as low as 5°C and growing faster in cool weather.
The lush green foliage can rot if it is too dense and the fragile stems can fall over with overhead watering. They also bruise easily so harvest and wash them carefully.
6. CRESS is a good microgreen for beginners and one of the oldest. Cress is related to mustard and watercress, which it combines well with, and has the same piquant, peppery flavour. Try using cress in a herb butter or the traditional mix with mayonnaise, egg and lashings of black pepper served in sandwiches.
7. BEETROOT Young beet seedlings take longer to produce edible microgreens but are worth growing for the intense red colour they add to a salad mix, and their slightly earthy flavour, rather like the root. Seeds need to be sown quite thickly. They contain an inhibitor so germination is improved by pre-soaking the seed and keeping the seedbed evenly moist until emergence, usually 10-12 days.
If you can’t be bothered growing individual varieties, you can mix your favourite seed, or buy a commercial mesclun mix. I do both, using mesclun as my standard bulk greens and add other varieties for different flavour and colour effects.