June 14, 2018

First Harvest - Kale Microgreens

Kale thinnings from the garden washed and ready for smoothification, and eating right out of the strainer.

The Spring of 2018 has been riding in on the back of a turtle. This slow start has brought us cool temperatures and very little rain. As such, our garden has been slow to start, but that hasn't prevented me from securing our first food from our 8 X 16 raised bed.

The kale and beets were established enough to require thinning. I saved everything I pulled out, and rejoiced in our first harvest of the year. Then I did an internet search to see what I could find out about young garden plants that are slightly more developed than sprouts. 

I was surprised at what I found out - they're a thing! 

I thought I was eating boring old kale thinnings, but I was actually being trendy without realizing it. In the foodie world, what I was eating are a relatively new phenomena called  "Microgreens". 

It is easy to mistake microgreens for sprouts, but they are not the same. Sprouts are seeds germinated in water just long enough (usually 48 hours) to grow roots, a stem and pale, underdeveloped leaves. 

Microgreens, on the other hand, need soil and sunlight and at least 7 days to grow before you can harvest them. They are best harvested between 7 and 14 days old, and have a reduced risk of contamination compared to sprouts.

Sprouting has been a thing for a long time, but they are notorious for harbouring various food borne pathogens, like E coli. That makes microgreens a more attractive alternative.

Microgreens have a better nutritional profile than the seeds they come from, and are 4 to 6 times more nutritious than fully grown plants. They are best eaten immediately after harvesting when they are at peak freshness and nutrition.

Nutritional Profile For Kale Micro Greens

Vitamins A, B, C, E and K

Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc
Carotene, Chlorophyll, Amino Acids, Trace Elements

Protein: 30-35%

We also couldn't resist eating some straight up - crunchy, crispy, fresh food straight from the ground. They were so good that I have decided to experiment more with this nutritious raw food.

I have tons of kale seeds from last year's plants - it seems like I must have millions of them, but who's counting? I am seeding any available spots in the garden with these, then will harvest them as microgreens, or if a little older, as baby kale. 

Because they won't mature, lots of space won't be necessary, and I will be enhancing the growing efficiency of our garden.

Micro greens can also be grown indoors, and will make a great fresh food project for next winter. Since our winter gardening possibilities are limited to non-existent, growing some green stuff inside as the snow flies outside will feel great. 

So my first harvest was not only tasty and nutritious, it was also an interesting learning experience that has me looking forward to further adventures in gardening.


  1. I put my turnip greens from thinning my turnips in my vegetable soup. Very good. I grew lettuce this year and I am enjoying that. Happy gardening!

  2. Laughing a lot at 'being trendy without realising it'. That's the way to do it :)


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