Regular readers might remember that a while back Mr Fothergill’s sent me a pack of goodies. Amongst the goodies were a Microgreen Growing Tray and a couple packets of seed.
I like the idea of microgreens and microherbs – small bursts of presumably nutritious flavour that you can sprinkle on salads. Sounds great….in theory at least, and ever so fashionable with any number of telly chefs…
From a growing perspective the general idea is that you germinate the seed and then harvest it once the green/herb has 2-4 true leaves. The Growing Tray I was sent allows you to grow micro-greens without soil in much the same way I’m sure most people did mustard and cress and cotton wool when they were in primary school.
The tray has a container which you fill with water and then a tray with lots of holes in it above. The idea is that you place tissue paper onto the tray and then the seeds onto the tissue paper. You spray the seeds regularly (the advice is 2-3 times per day) until the roots start to develop. The roots then break through the tissue and find the water below which you can add a bit of water soluble fertiliser to if you like.
As you might be able to make out in the above picture I chose to sow the ‘Flavours of Western Europe’ mix. This contains Pea Morgan, Red Amaranth and Cress. It was in the sowing that I made my first error. Although they are sold together the seeds didn’t grow particularly well together. One day after sowing they looked like this:
and on day two they looked like this:
You may have noticed that whilst the peas and cress have both germinated the amaranth hasn’t.
The amaranth did eventually germinate (by about day 10) but by that point the peas were almost ready for harvest.
I didn’t harvest them though and they went on to form something of a forest on my kitchen bench.
So did I like the tray and the seed mix? Mainly yes but with a couple of caveats.
I loved being able to watch the seeds grow. Seeing them send out their root first, then their seed leaves was fascinating, and definitely a real plus of growing them this way (especially if you have kids). I enjoyed eating the peas, although I did think they would have been better if I had a place with more natural light as they got very leggy indeed.
Because I put the peas in with others they pretty much swamped the smaller plants and I wasn’t able to harvest any of them. (Annoying as I really like egg and cress sandwiches). When I next use the tray I will definitely only grow one seed variety in each section of the tray (there are two). I will also endeavour to find a better lit place for them. Unfortunately the width of the tray means it wont fit on any of my window sills which is annoying. A narrower tray that fits on an average window sill would be have been better for me.
As its warmer now I could move it outside as soon as the seeds germinate which would also be a good solution. Keeping it inside until they germinate is advisable purely because of the need to spray they seeds with water reasonably frequently. Out of sight is definitely out of mind as far as I’m concerned.
Finally did it live up to it’s claim about being able to harvest microgreens within 7 to 14 days? In my experience yes in part. The peas and the cress would have both been harvestable at 14 days. I reckon that 7 is pretty ambitious…. My amaranth didn’t have true leaves at 14 days but it might have if I sowed it during a warmer period.
In a nutshell, the tray in particular is a fun product, particularly if you want to either; see how seeds grow or to garden without the mess of potting mix etc. If only it wasn’t plastic….
Do you grow microgreens or microherbs? How did you grow them.