Clip­pings: grow mi­cro-greens

These baby veg­eta­bles taste great and are re­ally good for you. And, as Jackie French ex­plains, they are in­cred­i­bly easy to cul­ti­vate.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Mi­cro-greens are green veg picked when they first start to shoot. They are sweet and ten­der, nu­tri­tious and very easy to grow.

MI­CRO-GREENS ARE MAGIC You can grow them any­where, any time and they are in­cred­i­bly fast grow­ing. All you need is a sunny spot in­doors or out­side, pot­ting mix, slow-re­lease fer­tiliser and scis­sors.

HOW TO BE­GIN Fill your pot, tray or even sty­ro­foam box with drainage holes with a high­qual­ity pot­ting mix. (Be­ware the cheaper pot­ting mixes that are a coarse, acidic mix of just slightly rot­ted wood chips.) Scat­ter seeds on thickly, about 2mm apart, but don’t go mad try­ing to be ac­cu­rate. Try mix­ing two parts sand with one part seed to keep seeds from clump­ing to­gether. De­pend­ing on the seeds used, they may need a fine cov­er­ing of soil. Wa­ter seeds with the finest pos­si­ble spray of wa­ter to keep them in place and cover with damp paper towel or a lid for the first two days to as­sist ger­mi­na­tion. As soon as they are as high as your lit­tle fin­ger, add slow-re­lease fer­tiliser ac­cord­ing to packet di­rec­tions.

WHEN TO HAR­VEST Seeds should sprout in three to seven days. You can be­gin to har­vest them as soon as they are big enough, with two sets of leaves of the stem, in about one to two weeks. Use scis­sors to snip them off, just above the soil. If you feed and wa­ter well, most will keep re­grow­ing for months.

WHICH TO CHOOSE? Try let­tuce, bok choy, basil, Brus­sels sprouts, cau­li­flower, kale, let­tuce, mus­tard, wa­ter­cress, English spinach, sil­ver­beet and en­dive.

Mi­cro-reds: Try red cab­bage, let­tuces and red-veined chicory. Multi-coloured chard has green leaves but the multi-coloured stems are a de­light – even more so when tiny.

WHY MI­CRO-GREENS (AND REDS) ARE GOOD FOR YOU

Mi­cro-greens have been shown to have a higher con­cen­tra­tion of the vi­ta­mins C and E and beta-carotene than their grown-up sib­lings. Red cab­bage mi­cro-greens sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced the lev­els of “bad” choles­terol in mice fed a high-fat diet as well as pro­duc­ing higher lev­els of polyphe­nols and glu­cosi­no­lates – com­pounds that lower choles­terol. They also re­sulted in re­duced triglyc­erides – a fat that can in­crease the risk of heart disease and stroke.

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