Salads make great summer meals and are a tasty addition to your lunchbox or dinner table any time of the year. They make the perfect light meal. And you know you should be getting more leafy greens in your diet so here are 3 reasons to grow your own salad.
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It Tastes Better
Let’s start with the obvious one first. Homegrown salad just plain tastes better. It is fresh, it has been grown in good soil, and it hasn’t been washed, sprayed, and processed days before it makes it on your plate.
If you haven’t had fresh, homegrown lettuce before, you’re in for a treat. If you need a little more convincing get your hands on some fresh lettuce from a gardening friend or your local farmers market. You’ll be ready to grow your own after the first bite.
You Control The Quality And Variety
One of the best parts of growing your own produce is that you control what goes in the soil and the plants. And you get to pick what varieties you want to grow. That means you have a lot more options than what your local grocer offers.
Grocery store produce varieties are grown for easy and uniform growth and longer shelf-life. Flavor and nutrition aren’t the main concerns. The opposite is true when you grow your own. You can pick varieties that taste amazing, but may not last more than a few hours in the fridge after you harvest them.
Grow your own salad- It’s Healthier
Last but not least, you should grow your own salad, because it is so, much healthier for you. Nutrients quickly start to deteriorate after produce is harvested. When you grow your own, you can go from soil to table in less than an hour. It doesn’t get any fresher than that, which means you get more of the vitamins in your food.
Plus since you control the soil, the additives, and anything that happens to the plans while they grow, you can limit your exposure to pesticides, insecticides and the likes. When you grow organic, you know it actually is organic.
The Health Benefits Of Microgreens
One of the big benefits when it comes to growing your own greens is that you can pick and eat them right away. This preserves the most nutrients, no matter when you harvest your greens but is particularly beneficial when it comes to microgreens. You’ve probably heard about these power houses of the vegetable family and may even grab them on occasion at your local health food store or grocer.
When you get into growing your own greens in salad bowls, harvesting microgreens is another option. They make a great addition to all your salads. But what exactly are microgreens?
What Are Microgreens
Green leafy plants are considered microgreens in the stage between sprout and seedling. They are usually harvested after they’ve had their first few regular leaves. If you’ve watched a plant grow from seed you notice that a sprout appears first, then the plant develops its first two leaves. Those first leaves look different from the regular leaves of the plan. After that the next three to five leaves pop out that look like those of the grown plant. It is during this stage when the first few leaves appear that microgreens are harvested.
You can use a variety of different plants to grow micro greens including lettuce, kale, arugula, chard, watercress, beet and radish greens, parsley, chives, basil, and cilantro.
Learn more about microgreens
How You Can Benefit From Microgreens
Microgreens are nutritional powerhouses that are full of vitamins. The exact nutrition will depend on the types of greens you consume. To get the most out of your microgreens, mix and match the plants you use. Nutrients include beta-carotene, iron, calcium, and lutein.
Since microgreens are grown in soil as opposed to sprouts which are usually grown in water, they are able to absorb a lot more minerals and nutrients from the soil they are grown in. A good, rich potting soil will result in the healthiest greens.
How To Grow Microgreens
To grow your own salad you may want to use microgreens which are surprisingly simple. Since the plants are small, they don’t require a lot of light, making it the perfect superfood to grow on your kitchen counter. You’re also harvesting the plants when they are still small and don’t have long roots, so it doesn’t take a lot of soil to grow them either.
Get a shallow container and fill it with quality organic potting soil. Sprinkle in the seeds for your favorite greens and herbs and lightly cover them with soil. Carefully mist or lightly water them, so the seeds don’t get washed away.
Keep them well watered and in a fairly warm place, and after a few days you will start to see little sprouts appear. Keep growing them until they are large enough to harvest. Reseed and repeat.