The growing of micro salads and greens has been a sensation in the top restaurant trade for a number of years, but how many of the home gardeners grow them? Not many I would guess.
I remember growing cress on an old flannel when I was in junior school. I have recently started growing cress again, not on a flannel this time, but in a plastic box on damp kitchen paper.
The choice of what you can grow is endless, almost all veg you grow in the garden, can be grown as micro veg. I was reading an article about the top chef Raymond Blanc and his amazing organic garden. He grows a stunning array of micro veg along with the usual larger veg. Favorites seem to be, beetroot, celery, kales, mixed lettuce, mustards and spinach. They also grow lots of micro herbs like basil, coriander, chives, parsly and chervil. All these micro herbs and veggies can be used in salads and sandwiches, and to garnish dishes and soups. The flavour is suprisingly fresh and strong, little fireworks of flavour going off in the mouth.
They are very easy to grow. Just buy large packets of the cheaper varieties, sow fairly thickly into seed trays of multi purpose compost or into small plastic trays. The trays that come with bought fruit or veg are ideal. They are best grown undercover in a greenhouse, polytunnel or mini growhouse. Small trays can be grown on the windowsill. When the veg or herbs have grow to about 2 inches high, just harvest with scissors as needed. They are best used and eaten below 3 inches tall. Successional sowings will give lots of summer harvests. Depending on weather and temperatures, many of the seedlings will be ready to harvest from 10 days after sowing, some varieties may take a few weeks.
Young pea shoots can also be grown the same way and are a tasty addition to any dish.
In this challenging growing season, micro veg may give you a welcome harvest.