UK: Devon microfarmer grows vegetable confetti

From the outside it looks like a regular house. However, step inside and it's like entering a miniature biodome. Luke Whitmore has turned his home in Appledore, North Devon, into a living, breathing growing space. The walls are stacked with shelves upon shelves of tiny edible plants, quietly growing under a system of lamps and cooling fans.

These miniature greens, also known as 'vegetable confetti' or micro leaves, are simply the seedlings of regular herbs and vegetables that would usually be grown to full size. However, instead of allowing them to reach their normal proportions, Luke, 40, harvests the microgreens when they are just a few centimeters tall and less than three weeks old – the gardening equivalent of fast food. The microgreens can then be used in salads, soups, garnishes, sandwiches and even smoothies.

Luke, who also works as window cleaner, gets up at 5:30am to care for his seedlings. He says he's always enjoyed gardening and has grown vegetables ever since he was a child. However, in 2016, he began doing some research into microgreens and has been hooked ever since. He says: "It's a lot of hours, some nights I don't get to bed until 11:30, but I enjoy it so much, that's why I do it.

Luke initially started growing microgreens for himself and his family. However, after doing some more research and experimenting with different growing techniques, he's now set up his own business, Lively Leafy Greens, delivering microgreens to the local community.

The initiative has been steadily attracting interest and Luke is now in talks with restaurants and hopes to expand in the near future. By sowing seeds successionally every few days, he is able to maintain a constant supply and ensure a continuous harvest.

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