Why You Should Grow Microgreens
by: Lettie Stratton
Microgreens have it all. In addition to being nutritional powerhouses, they also taste great, look amazing on your plate, are a high-value crop for farmers, and are relatively easy to grow. Many farmers have even built a business on these tiny greens, earning thousands of dollars per week. You don’t need hundreds of acres of land or even any outdoor space at all to grow these beauties. This makes microgreens accessible to all types of growers.
All you need to get started are a few basic items (seeds, grow lights, trays, and soil) and you, too, can enjoy the many benefits of fresh, delicious microgreens any time of year. With many options for growing technique and seed variety, you can choose the best setup for your personal needs and preferences. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why microgreens should be high on your list of gardening priorities:
Microgreens Pack a Nutritional Punch
Microgreens are incredibly nutritious and often contain significantly more nutrients than their fully grown counterparts. Mature greens just don’t hold up in comparison. Since microgreens are so small, all the nutrients are densely concentrated, whereas they’re more spread out in mature greens. Packed full of essential vitamins like C, E and K, microgreens are some of the most beneficial and healthiest leafy green vegetables out there.
In addition to being full of vitamins, microgreens also have nutrients that help reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and even certain cancers. It’s clear that they serve a much greater purpose than simply garnishing a dish to make it look nice. And they certainly won’t be a food you suffer through in order to get your daily intake of veggies. They’re delicious, too.
Microgreens are great atop your eggs in the morning, in a sandwich at lunch, and as a big salad at dinnertime. They’re also delicious in tacos, on pizza, or even in a green smoothie. Growing different colored microgreens like rainbow chard and beets can give your mix even more appeal on the plate. Whatever your diet is, you can find a place for microgreens in it.
Customers Will Pay the Big Bucks
Since microgreens are popular, trendy, and proven to have great health benefits, customers are generally willing to pay a high price for them, which makes microgreen production a great choice for farmers looking to add a high-value crop to their arsenal.
Microgreen prices sit around $25 per pound. Depending on how many pounds you produce and sell, of course, microgreen production could add huge value to your farm business.
Be sure to have your facts ready when you’re selling microgreens. If you’re charging a premium price, customers are going to want to know why. You can tout the nutritional benefits, crisp and unique taste, popularity, and high cost of seed as reasons the price tag is so high.
Popular microgreen varieties include sunflower, spicy brassica mix, corn, arugula, and radish, but the possibilities are vast. Crops like basil, cilantro, and cress can also be grown as microgreens. Chances are, there’s a flavor to suit every customer’s taste.
Microgreens Are Easy to Grow
Established farmers and home growers alike will be happy to know that microgreens are easy to grow. Many of the variables that often affect farming like sunlight, temperature, and water, can all be controlled with microgreen production, depending on how you go about it. More controllable variables means less risk and higher reward.
Growing microgreens indoors requires microgreen seed, of course, along with trays and soil for planting and grow lights in the place of sun. If you’re producing a decent amount, it’s a good idea to invest in timers to automate when the grow lights come on.
If you choose to grow microgreens outdoors, make sure the seeds are planted in healthy soil. Planting flowering herbs that bring bees and other pollinators to your garden is another great way to create a healthy and diverse habitat in which your microgreens can thrive. The healthier the growing habitat, the healthier the plant.
There is no shortage of benefits to growing microgreens. I, personally, would like to live in a world where farming happens everywhere. Food production would be hyper-local, and each neighbor would knew what the other grew and then cooperatively trade goods.
Easy-to-grow microgreens could bring us closer to that vision. If you want a quick and easy way to add a nutrient-dense food to your diet, or if you want a surefire way to add a high-value crop to your small farm or neighborhood produce trade, look no further than microgreens.
About this author:
Lettie Stratton is a writer and urban farmer in Boise, ID. A Vermont native, she is a lover of travel, tea, bicycles, plants, cooperative board games, and the outdoors. She’s still waiting for a letter from Hogwarts. Bylines include Food Tank, Edible Idaho, The Female Farmer Project, & Whole Terrain.
We welcome Lettie to our team of Urban Farm Bloggers. Stay tuned for more articles from her!