Most crops take an awfully long time to grow, however not Microgreens (see Nutritional Analysis). Most varieties are ready to eat in a week or two. Researchers at the USDA have determined that the cotyledons, or “false leaves” that are the first to pop out of a seed are a concentrated storehouse of nutrition designed to feed the new plant until the roots can grow and take over.
Broccoli microgreens have been shown to contain as much as 40 times the vitamins & minerals as an equal weight of broccoli florets. You can turn a 40-pound sack of Black Oil Sunflower seeds into an enormous quantity of highly nutritious vegetation. Microgreens taste great in salads, on sandwiches, in smoothies or just by themselves. My chickens love these more than any other food!
Another benefit for Preppers, in addition to the fast turnaround on a high nutrition food, is that Microgreens can grow in the dark. You merely need to take them out into the sun when they are big enough to eat and let them green up and perform photosynthesis for a few hours. Your plants never need to be exposed to possible theft. To get started, all you need is any kind of fairly tall tray with a lid.
You can use a plastic clam-shell cake box or even something smaller. Put an inch of soil on the bottom, spread your seeds & sprinkle soil lightly over them. Spray them & keep them damp for a few days until they begin to sprout. You can then water once a day.
I have even grown peas on a couple layers of paper towels. When they’re ready, cut them off at ground level & enjoy.
You can get the Sunflower seeds at a feed or box store and you can get whole peas at an ethnic food store – these are usually the most economical sources; for other varieties, you can order seeds from many online outlets.
To be clear, certain types of beans, such as Kidney are NOT suitable for microgreens. Some safe varieties of plants for microgreens include Arugula, Basil, Beets, Lettuces, Celery, Chia, Clover, Cilantro, Cress, Dill, Flax, Garlic, Kale, Mizuna, Mustard, Popcorn, Kohlrabi, Onions, Tatsoi and Turnip.
Most seeds can be stored for a long time with care, so for years into the future, you can have a fresh variety of super-nutritious vegetables on your table in mere weeks.
Some of the nutrients found in these microgreens are vitamins K, C and E, lutein, and beta-carotene, usually boasting up to 25%-30% pure protein. “All of these nutrients are extremely important for skin, eyes, and fighting cancer and have all sorts of benefits associated with them,” says researcher Dr. Gene Lester, of the USDA.