They may be small but little beats micro greens for adding a flavour kick to dishes. These tiny leaves are packed with taste and just the thing to banish blandness from your winter food.
And growing them couldn’t be easier with no need for fancy equipment or even special seed.
Micro greens are simply regular herbs and vegetables that are harvested while they are still tiny, generally when just the seed leaf or the first set of true leaves have appeared.
Things that are strongly flavoured make the very best micro greens with rocket, spinach and chard all perfect.
Even crops that are usually grown for their roots or seeds are suitable. Try the fiery leaves of beetroot to add a zing to salads or the delicate flavour of pea shoots.
Growing as micro greens is also ideal for plants that are difficult, such as coriander, which has a tendency to bolt easily.
While you can buy packets of micro greens seed, there is no need. Using the tail end of last year’s packets or things that are past their best by date is ideal. Few gardeners get through a whole packet of lettuce seed in one season so using it up over winter makes sense.
If you want your micro greens to look good while growing, use an attractive container such as a small wooden seed tray. Alternatively, an ordinary seed tray or even a plastic tray from supermarket packaging, the sort fruit and veg come in.
Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom and fill with seed compost or vermiculite. A double layer of kitchen paper in the bottom will help keep it moist.
Seed needs to be sown thickly to maximise your harvest; there’s no need to worry about the usual spacing.
Once you’ve sown the seed, stand the tray in water until the top of the compost or vermiculite is damp. Place on a sunny windowsill; you can cover it with a polythene bag or sheet of glass. Germination should start after around 10 days, depending on the crop you’re growing.
As for harvesting, a pair of garden snips or scissors are the best thing to use and crops such as pea shoots may regrow to give a second picking.