If you are worried about your health and are now planning to ditch fast food by shifting to a healthier diet, growing microgreens in your vegetable garden can be the perfect starting point for you. Broccoli, peas, carrots, basil, dill, or celery- no matter which vegetable you love, chances are that you can grow them in the form of microgreens and enjoy their flavour and taste with just a fraction of the work.
Growing corn microgreens, especially, is extremely easy and useful as you can enjoy them with practically anything. Microgreens are the sprouted seeds of various green vegetables that are sown in shallow containers and are harvested after the cotyledon leaves, along with a set of true leaves, have developed.
These are edible young shoots of vegetables that will induce variety in your healthy plate which might otherwise seem unappealing and monotonous.
The benefits of having microgreens in your garden, and in your diet are many. Having one serving of these delicious young shoots can make sure you’re taking in enough veggies to keep healthy.
With their popularity increasing almost by the day, microgreens are the latest hits for high-end markets and big shot restaurants.
Cultivating microgreens can be very expensive and time-consuming when grown on a large scale. Purchasing them from local grocery stores or supermarkets on a regular basis can also cost you an arm and a leg.
However, this does not mean you cannot add these interesting, healthy, and delicious greens to your dinner table. Growing microgreens at home for regular consumption is as easy as it can get.
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Have you been planning to start your own organic garden for a regular supply of veggies? What better vegetable to start with than corn? Grow corn as microgreens in your dining room or in the kitchen for a regular and continued supply of the delicious and equally nutritious young, tender corn sprouts whose slightly sweet taste would complement virtually anything.
Wondering how to go about? Do not fret. In this article, we have the answer to all your possible queries regarding growing corn microgreens at home. Follow this step by step guide to grow the perfect microgreens and harvest them in no time. But first, let us take a look at some of the benefits of corn microgreens.
Why Are Corn Microgreens Good For You?
Microgreens are packed with four to five times the goodness of the full-grown plants, with corn microgreens being one of the healthiest of the lot. The benefits they come with are extraordinary. They have high levels of Calcium, Thiamin, Niacin, Magnesium, and Iron along with vitamins like vitamin A, E, and B.
Corn microgreens help in strengthening your bones and teeth and prevent your body from infections. They are also helpful in keeping your heart healthier and preventing cardiovascular diseases.
They reduce cholesterol, prevent anaemia, improve your immunity, and reduce the risk of breast, colon, and liver cancer. The beta carotene in corn microgreens also helps in maintaining your vision with an increase in age by preventing the degeneration of eye tissues.
They also keep your blood sugar levels in check and are therefore strongly recommended for diabetics.
In short, regular consumption of corn microgreens would make sure your body is healthy, fit, and strong enough to ward off any infections or disease.
Packed with health benefits, these young, tender shoots are also extremely delicious. With their sweet tinge, they can complement anything on your plate.
Use them to garnish finger-licking dishes, add them in sandwiches, chop them up and add them to delicious salads, or just munch on them as a snack- the taste of these young, tender shoots would leave you asking for more.
Their taste makes these microgreens popular even among adults and children who are not fans of vegetables. They can thus become useful in providing the essential nutrients to picky eaters, kids or otherwise.
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All the more reason to grow them at home, right? Corn microgreens are extremely easy to grow at home as they do not require excessive care. All you would need is corn seeds, water, a little potting soil, and a shallow container.
These microgreen plants would be ready to be harvested in about a week’s time. Growing them at home would ensure that your microgreens are grown completely organically and would also give you access to freshly harvested shoots anytime you want.
How to Grow Corn Microgreens?
Corn microgreens, also known as Corn sprouts as they can be harvested just after they sprout, became popular among vegetarians and healthy eaters in the mid-1990s. Ever since then, cultivating them has become a common practice among home gardeners across the world.
To grow your own young, healthy, and tasty corn microgreens, you would first have to choose and prepare your seeds before you start off with the process.
The first thing to do to start the process of growing your corn microgreens is to soak the seeds in water to facilitate germination. Unless you have soaked your seeds enough, the hard shells would not soften, air circulation would not take place, and eventually, your seeds would not germinate after being planted.
You would not be seeing the seeds sprout like in the case of wheatgrass and some other microgreens, but soaking them for about 8 to 12 hours is mandatory to make sure all your seeds sprout in the soil. Keeping the seeds in an open region where proper air circulation is good should help the seeds.
Sowing the seeds
After your corn seeds have soaked well, they are ready to be planted. For this, first, you have to prepare the soil. Corn microgreens do well in potting mix or gardening soils. Take a shallow, flat container, like a tray, and fill it up with about 1.5 to 2 inches of the mix.
Next, wet the surface with water. Be sure not to overwater the soil as corn microgreens do not grow well in puddles of water. Make sure your container has drainage holes. In case it doesn’t, make holes in it in a way that allows excess water to drain out of the bottom.
Spread the soaked seeds on the soil. The seeds can be close together, but do not pile them one on the other. The surface of the soil should be wet enough for the seeds to stick to it. Make sure that the seeds have good contact with the soil and cover the tray with another tray.
Take extra care to keep the tray covered, and preferably keep it in a dark but warm place for germinating. Do not expose the germinating seeds of corn to direct sunlight at any cost.
In case of exposure to the sun, your corn sprouts would start the process of photosynthesis, and develop sturdy, tough, and fibrous shoots. Soon, they would turn green, acquiring a bitter taste, and take the form of corn husks.
The target is to prevent them from turning green. When left in darkness, away from direct sunlight, the microgreens would remain yellow, with a tender, crunchy texture and a slightly sweet, delicious taste. Corn microgreens take about 2-3 days for germinating.
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Use a spray bottle to water your corn microgreens about once a day, every day until the young sprouts have firmly established their roots in the soil. However, avoid overwatering. If the soil is too wet and water reaches the seeds, mould might develop on them, after which the microgreens would die.
If possible, add another tray full of water under the tray with the seeds. Make holes in the upper tray so that the roots from the seeds can access the water source to fulfil their needs. Clean the water tray regularly to keep the plants healthy.
While watering, you can uncover the plants but be sure to cover them up again, putting the lid in place to prevent the plants from getting any direct sunlight. The plants would have to be watered, and their growth would have to be monitored for the next five to nine days during which your plants would grow.
Your corn microgreens would be ready to be harvested when the sprouts are about 2-4 inches tall. You can harvest them according to your taste preference and need once they have attained the proper size.
The taste of the microgreens would keep changing a little every day, and to find out the perfect taste for you, cut a small portion everyday and taste. Make sure you cut microgreens as close as possible to the soil.
To store your microgreens, place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Make sure to store them dry as moisture would cause mould to develop, and might even result in rotting. Wash them as and when you use them to make sure they stay fresh for the longest time possible. If stored properly, they can stay fresh for about two weeks.
Growing microgreens at home can be a fun experience, with the added bonus of a delicious and healthy variation on your table. If you are a lover of corn and sweet corn and enjoy their delightful taste during summers, growing them as microgreens would bring you the opportunity to enjoy them all year round, as and when you please.