Monday, July 18, 2011

Micro Greens Salad

radish, chard, kale and mustard sprouts with red onion and blueberries
Or in less fancy talk, veggie sprouts. 

I'm sure I'm not alone in the fact that when I sow seeds, I inevitably over sow. This is partly because it's difficult not to (especially with smaller seeds), and partly because it's a pretty good strategy. You can always thin out a row, but it's inconvenient to fill in a sparsely sown row with supplement seeds. Over sowing also allows for some loss through critters, pathogens, or less robust seedlings etc., without necessarily loosing everything. And of course, there's always at least a few duds in a batch of seeds that aren't viable. 

About 2 weeks ago, I planted my autumn greens and now they are coming up in crowed little rows: 

the radish crowd
Some leafy crops don't need too much thinning, especially if you want to harvest them as baby greens. Mesclun, leaf lettuces, dandelion, or arugula for example don't seem to mind crowds and there's just more for you to harvest.  Other things like root crops and fruiting crops (peas, squash, tomatoes, etc), really need the space to allow for the root and plant to grow unimpeded. And, while things like chard, kale and mustard are fine in crowds if you want to harvest them as young baby leaves, if you want to grow nice big individual plants, it's a good idea to thin them out as you go. Having said that, it always pains me to thin rows ; I feel sorry for the little guys. This regret fades a little, I find, if you eat them.

Hence, micro greens salad. They also make lovely garnishes to sprinkle over your food. Just rinse them gently, sprinkle and eat. 


  1. This is great! I love really light salads like this for a change sometimes - and lately fruit in salads has been so refreshing.
    Also, oddly enough, I never put together that microgreens were just baby greens! A-doy! Glad they got new life in...being eaten...

  2. That looks so fresh and tender and delicious, it makes me wish we'd been able to plant greens this year, but our lives have just been too squirrely. I did, however, munch on a lot of wild bluebell leaves when they were new and tender back in May, and tossed a few fistfulls into salads. But their season is so brief! Can I come over and munch micro-greens with you? :-)

  3. that is yummy...


  4. Very pretty salad! I always had trouble with thinning out plants, too. We're getting to that point with our sunflowers and I've been putting it off.

  5. Maud:

    I know what you mean, I saw a package of micro-greens at Whole Foods a while back, it sounds fancy, but when I took a closer look I saw they were just chard and kale sprouts. :)


    Come on over for the micro greens! Although, they don't stay micro for long, so hurry! Wild bluebell sounds like something fairies would eat...I'd love to try some of those too.

    Thanks Millie

    Molly:'s so difficult to pull the little guys out of the ground, it seems mean doesn't it? Actually, I don't think we're alone. Here's what natural gardening guru, Steve Solomon, has to say about thinning:

    "I've met gardeners who just cannot thin out crowded seedlings. It seems like murdering children to them. I entreat you, gentlest of persons (that's us), to reconsider the nature of plants...vegetables don't mind being thinned. They actually like it...they understand that the gardener has to plant several seeds to get a single plant established because they do the very same thing themselves on a much larger scale. Wild plants sow hundreds of times more seeds than a gardener will sow to get a single plant that grows to maturity."

    He goes on to give examples and so on, but I always try to think of his sage perspective when I thin out beds.

  6. Damn, I wish I was growing my own micro greens.

  7. I agree with the others - you make this sound so homey and practical, but in fancy-pants restaurant menus micro greens are anything but!

    I recently thinned out some of my baby basil and I did feel a little twinge of sadness doing it, but it was tasty and now the brothers can grow tall! Even crowded, your garden rows are really impressive.

  8. I love that quote, Rose! Thanks for sharing it. :)

  9. Rose, Ahhh . . greens! Try never to buy them as I have always been spoiled by planting them in the garden However, this year has been a difficult year for the greens in the garden. Won't go into detail except to say, "would you like to eat turnips greens every day?" Well there is always the cool plantings to look forward to. Nice post -- barbara

  10. I love it! It looks so fresh and healthy :-)


  11. They look beautiful! Your gardening seems to be going so well. That looks like a marvelous salad. I especially like the inclusion of blueberries.

  12. Bianca:

    It's not too late to start. If you grow them just for the micros/sprouts, you can even do it in a plastic tray on a windowsill.


    It's funny, because I bet you would pay a big price for these in a restaurant...I suppose because they're delicate and if they're getting them from a grower that all figures into the delivery and timing etc. But, if they grow them themselves it would be dirt cheap. Plus, I guess they charge for the fancy name! :P

    I bet those basil sprouts were good.


    You're welcome. :)


    Some years are like that for certain crops...I get you on the turnip greens, but at least they are super good for you. :) Good luck with your cool weather crops.

    Thanks Alessandra!


    Blueberries are really yummy in salad, I highly recommend. :)

  13. i grow microgreens for just that, no garden! so easy!

  14. This post reminds me of a show I used to enjoy called 'Manic Organic'. The organic farmer would intensely sow his tender greens with scissors and then charge beaucoup bucks to high end restaurants for them.

    So no dressing on your greens?

  15. Bitt:

    That's awesome! I've started growing wheatgrass indoors, and it occurred to me that microgreens would be a breeze to do that way too.


    Manic Organic...I love it. Sounds like a show I'd like...hopefully someday, I'll get beaucoup bucks for something I grow.

    I took the photo pre-dressing because they're so delicate the dressing kind of drags them down. I usually just squirt on some soy sauce and cider vinegar and call it good.

  16. Just found your blog, and as a fellow vegan gardener, I love it. :)

    One question... what's with the straws? Some sort of thrifty irrigation system?

  17. Stacey:

    Good to meet a fellow vegan gardener! I put the straws in when I plant a bed to keep the cats from digging in the plant-free soil...they seem to love it. Once the plants start coming up, they make obstacles of themselves and deter the kitties from wanting to dig and sleep there...I just get lazy about taking them out right away

  18. Perfect! Waste not, want not, as they say.

  19. I sure wish I had that micro green looks so good. I wonder if it's too late to plant greens? I would love to plant greens and harvest them as baby greens. I'm bad about over sowing when it comes to little seeds. :-)

  20. We've been meaning to try micro greens for some time. John has an allotment and we also grow salad veg in baskets in the garden. We just never seem to get round to it... Now you've inspired me and I've shown John your photos, so, micro greens, here we come! (I'm glad you care about the wee fellows. :o) )

  21. Jennifer: I'm with you! :)


    It's not at all too late to plant greens. You could even just plant them in a plastic seedling tray. Oversowing is good in the world of micro-greens! :)


    Great! Let us know how you use them!

  22. What type of dressing goes best with a salad made with microgreens?

  23. Unknown,

    I would say a lighter dressing...oil and vinegar or some lemon or lime juice...a bit of whole grain mustard tossed in. I often dress my salad with Bragg's Aminos, Cider Vinegar and nutritional yeast.

  24. I love microgreens look delicious. How long did it take you to grow them? I am growing some microgreens now and cant wait till they are ready to harvest. it just makes my mouth water watching them grow lol.

  25. Greg:

    It takes a week or two in my experience, but I was growing them in the ground as opposed to sprouting indoors. Not sure whether that makes a difference...probably some with warmer tempts indoors etc. Enjoy your greens! :)

  26. What a great post on micro greens. Love them!!


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