Seed to Salad in 10 Days–You Can Grow That!

Need a quick growing fix? Look no farther than a seed packet of micro greens. With minimal effort you can go from seed to salad in 10 days, making micro greens a perfect You Can Grow That! success story.

On the 4th of each month garden bloggers write You Can Grow That! posts to enlighten others of the joys and ease of gardening. I cannot think of anything much easier or more quickly rewarding than a small crop of a micro green seed blend meant to be harvested when about two inches tall.

My small crop grows in two black nursery seedling flats (hoarded for seed starting) filled to about 1/2 inch from the top edge with a container potting mix. I broadcast the seeds across the top of the potting medium then covered the seeds with a thin layer of more potting medium. My favorite method for watering freshly seeded flats is under the light spray of a kitchen sink sprayer. Then I place the flats in a water proof tray with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom. This allows the potting medium to soak up water from the bottom.

Since I have grow lights set up for spring seed starting, I reserved a spot for these flats. As with all seeds started under lights, make sure the lights are as close to the seeds as possible. Once seedlings reach the lights, raise the lights an inch until seedlings reach them again. This will keep seedlings from growing leggy. Micro greens can also be grown in a sunny window – the more sun the better to keep them from becoming too leggy.

Make sure the flats remain moist, but not soggy, and take special care to keep the top layer, where the seeds rest, moist. This micro green blend, planted on March 24, shows quite a few sprouts on March 28.

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Here they are on March 30, just six days after planting.

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Today, April 4, this perfect indoor gardening crop is ready for harvest. Using scissors, I’ll give the micro greens a hair cut. After a good rinse and a spin in the salad spinner they will adorn tonight’s salad.

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Then the flats will go back under the lights to see if they will produce a second, smaller crop from the roots that remain in the planting medium. To insure a regular supply of fresh micro greens, plant a succession of flats, say every four to seven days.

The micro green blend featured here is from Botanical Interests. The 24-gram packet contains a mix of beet, Swiss chard, radish, mustard, cress, cabbage, and kohlrabi. There are easily enough seeds remaining in the packet for two or three more similar sized plantings.

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Botanical Interests sent me, as a member of Garden Writers Association, complimentary packets of seeds to try. This micro green blend was part of the package. To comply with full disclosure regulations, you should know I received this packet from Botanical Interests for free, but I am not being paid to write about the company or its products. If I did not like the product I would simply say nothing. In the past I’ve grow micro green blends, similarly sent in a complimentary mailing, from Renee’s Garden, and they were just as good.

Try growing micro greens as an ideal You Can Grow That! crop. Now head to the You Can Grow That! website managed by C.L. Fornari at Whole Life Gardening, the creative brain behind You Can Grow That! to read the diverse group of You Can Grow That! posts from other bloggers.

 

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Dear Boxwood, we need to talk. You’re a Gardening Oops

Dear Boxwood, we need to talk. I planted you so many years ago expecting you would grow into decent sized shrubs along the front borders of my house. I hoped you would become the anchor shrubs the beds need; that  your glossy dark-green leaves would be welcome contrast against white winter snows and, in the spring and summer, act as the backdrop to blooming- flowers. But you are just not getting it done and, for this, I accept full blame. It’s my Gardening Oops – my GOOPs – my mistake. Now we both must pay.

It’s the first day of the month, the day I share a gardening oops, using the acronym GOOPs.   Though it is April 1 – April Fools’ Day – this is no prank.

When we moved into our house over 15 years ago there were few funds for landscaping. We did all the work ourselves, adding shrubs and plants here and there as time and dollars allowed. During this period I transformed from an avid gardener, with an overall design idea in her head,  to a garden and landscape designer who understands the value of having, and following an actual planned design. The front beds, where boxwood now live, would have been very different if I had my my current skills … and my current knowledge of the quirks of our landscape … back when we first started landscaping our property.

The avid gardener me chose boxwood (Buxus microphylla ‘Green Mountain’) as the main anchor shrubs for many reasons: their deer-resistance, their evergreen foliage, their purported easy care, and their manageable size. Over time, I added them in different spots in the deeper beds at either ends of our house and along the narrow borders along the front porch. These photos from 2004 give a good view of the areas I’m working with and, if you look really closely, of some of the first small boxwood plantings.

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The idea was to eventually have three boxwood anchor the left end of the bed nearest the driveway, three evenly spaced at the ends and in the middle of the borders on each side of the front steps,

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and three to anchor the bed at the opposite end of the house. In these photos, two boxwood still remain in pots at either side of the steps. These replaced the small azaleas – aka deer candy – flanking the steps.

Due to multiple other projects and life in general, it was not until 2011, that I managed to finally get all the boxwood shrubs in place as originally planned.  The in-training designer me still liked the idea of boxwood anchor shrubs for these spots but the avid gardener me began to uncover some issues with this plan.

The boxwood first planted in the borders along the porch underwent some setbacks so they have not reached their expected height. Heavy snows resulted in some damage and need for minor reshaping and boxwood leaf miner control required serious pruning and late winter/early spring horticultural oil applications. The three boxwood shrubs planted in the garage bed now require sturdy winter protection from the solar panel snow avalanche that crashes down from above during heavy snows. Still, because deer in my region don’t eat boxwood, I was willing to put up with these annoyances.

This winter’s snowfalls changed my mind, at least for the boxwood planted along the front porch. The combination of heavy snows, and our need to roof-rake snow off the porch roof to prevent ice jams along the gutters, creates massive piles of hard-packed snow exactly on top of the boxwood along the porch.  They can handle the weight of this action from small snowfalls but not from the type of snow we received this year – 36” from the blizzard in February and another very heavy 17” snow.

All six of these boxwood had broken stems at their crown leaving large gaps at the center of each shrub. As they have grown – albeit slowly – the likelihood of such damage has increased.

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All six need another serious pruning to reshape them, and all are again showing signs of boxwood leaf miner.

So that’s it, Dear Boxwood. I’m sorry. We tried to make a go of it but now the designer me has decided to remove the six of you along the front porch. Don’t worry, the avid gardener me, with the help of the designer me, will find you new homes in more distant areas of the yard. This is for the better. Some of you will spruce up the shed, others will find homes in less noticeable areas where your glossy dark green will be a nice accent during winter, but any leaf miner damage will not greet me each time I rest on the front steps or walk along the front path.

I’m not yet sure what I will use to replace you, though my two selves are considering Ilex crenata ‘Helleri’ which forms a 12” to 18” mound of shiny dark-green leaves that hold all winter combined with Leucothoe axillaris, a low mounding evergreen that turns deep red in autumn and winter. Both, though deer resistant, will need protection from browsing deer – local deer don’t understand the term deer-resistant – but both shrubs should better handle avalanching snow that you, Dear Boxwood, cannot.

I’m sorry it took so long for me to come to this decision after investing so much time and effort into your care. Don’t despair, Dear Boxwood, we will both be much happier once we make this split.

Keeping with GOOPs tradition, it’s now your turn to share a tale of gardening woe or a gardening mishap. Leave your GOOPs tale in a comment below or write your own GOOPs blog post and leave a teaser comment below. If I don’t respond quickly it’s because I’m planning my boxwood split.

Garden thoughtfully,

Joene

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