Microgreens provide homegrown nutrition without the garden

Tiny edible vegetables known as microgreens have been rising in popularity with Americans searching for ways to add nutrition to home-cooked dishes. As many found themselves seeking do-it-yourself projects during the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, microgreens became a favorite miniature gardening project.

LSU AgCenter horticulture expert Kathryn “Kiki” Fontenot became interested in developing microgreen growing operations over the past year, and she developed a how-to guide to teach others. “During the pandemic my workload changed drastically,” Fontenot said. “Instead of meeting face to face with the public, we were answering tons of calls and emails from people just starting to garden.”

Microgreens are young, immature vegetable and herb seedlings harvested just seven to 14 days after the seeds emerge from the soil surface. They can be added to salads, wraps, sandwiches and smoothies — just like full-size greens — but don’t require garden space.

Heather Kirk-Ballard, AgCenter consumer horticulture specialist, also noticed the popularity of microgreens and created a video guide to growing them as part of the Get It Growing program. It is available at http://bit.ly/GIGmicrogreens. Growing microgreens is quick and easy, Kirk-Ballard said.

Any vegetable crop can be grown as microgreens, but the most popular include broccoli, cabbage, peas, and herbs, such as basil, dill and cilantro. While microgreens do not grow long, they do contain fiber, essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidant compounds. They also add color, texture and flavor to many dishes, Fontenot said.

“They are intense in flavor,” Kirk-Ballard said. “They taste best on a sandwich or in a salad and some people blend them into smoothies.”

The microgreens growing guide is available on the LSU AgCenter website at https://bit.ly/MicrogreensLSU


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