We’ve been growing microgreens!

Filed in Blog by on April 18, 2020 2 Comments
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growing microgreens indoorsHow is life treating you at the moment? Are you locked down during the covid-19 pandemic or are you a front line key worker?

It’s certainly an interesting time for all of us, where the whole world is focused on one thing. There aren’t many situations in which that happens for sure!

But there have been some amazing stories about the environment, in amongst all the anxiety and fear. Pollution in many cities has reduced dramatically, animals have been seen reclaiming territory while humans are out of the way – from simple things like ducks walking around my daughter’s university campus grounds to reports of lions in South Africa’s national parks, taking a nap on the roadside!

 

lions sleeping on the road during coronavirus pandemic

And there’s the resilience of humans too, collaborating in communities to deliver food, prescriptions and make friendly phonecalls, so people on their own don’t feel so isolated.

I’ve used some of my time in lockdown to do some of those ‘one day’ jobs, because, ya know, ‘one day’ has arrived, right?!

alfalfa and mung beans

One of the things we’re doing at Zero Waste Towers is growing microgreens. I’ve been sprouting alfalfa, mung beans and red clover seeds for a few years, and microgreens have fascinated me, but I’ve never actually done anything about it.

Until now!

And of course, like many things, I now wish I’d started years ago. You see, we’re those people that buy a bag of pea shoots from the supermarket. But not any more. Not now we’ve realised how simple it is!

All you need are some dried marrowfat peas (you don’t even need to buy special seed from a garden centre, as I learned from experience), you soak them overnight, then put a cm or so of compost in a tray, sprinkle over the marrow fat peas, cover with more compost, water and wait for a couple of weeks. Keep the soil and shoots moist with water – I find an old trigger spray bottle is ideal. In no time at all, you’ll be eating your own fresh crop of pea shoots.

We’ve eaten quite a lot of ours already, but this is four weeks to the day since we planted ours. You can cut them about an inch from the soil and they’ll grow again.

growing microgreens indoors

One thing we have learned from growing food indoors is that we’d benefit from replacing our roof – believe me, that’s another ‘one day’ job that has been on the list for a number of years. We currently have a second hand roof (for which we are very grateful) that leaks air, so we’ve hung space blankets on it as a form of cheap insulation. It works brilliantly, except that no light can get through and our plants grow tall and leggy towards the patio door. We’ve built some grow lights, but they’re not ideal.

An aluminium lantern roof  is on my wishlist – they allow natural light to pour in to any flat roofed one-storey room in your home and by use of double glazing, they keep your room warm in winter and cool in summer, which is exactly what we need. My space blankets are innovative, even though I say so myself, but they have seen better days and they block out all the light!

At the same time as growing pea shoots, I tried kale shoots (bottom left in the photo above) and even had a go at sowing baby spinach leaves and radishes (front middle in the photo above), just to see what happened. I think the kale and spinach will work (we get a lot of slugs, hence my resistance to growing spinach outdoors – I’d have to make an awful lot of my famous recycled slug collars to deter the army that arrive here each night!). I think the radishes will only produce tops, and not roots, which is fine, I’ll just eat the tops as microgreens.

As well as growing microgreens, I’ve been making sauerkraut to extend the life of vegetables, I’ve made sourdough bread, which is great because it’s very filling and only has three ingredients – flour, water and salt. Oh and I’ve sewed some cotton handkerchiefs out of an old worn bed sheet, for which I’m feeling very virtuous – go me!

What about you? What Zero Waste steps have you taken during lockdown?

[Photo – sowing marrowfat peas 4 weeks ago]

growing peashoots

 

 

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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  1. Rachel Galton says:

    great idea, we are talking to God a lot, that really helps too

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