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Hey What’s Growin’? An Update on The Tiny Little Crop.

We went from near freezing temperatures to Florida hot in 1 week around here. But that’s not as disconcerting as how the water reached 14 feet above record levels and flooded the historical homes of the next street. In fact, we were 4 feet under flood waters in our basement but the elevated train track saved our ass. Now the waters have receded and I hope to have access to my wooded playground soon.

This week I am unpacking all the items I had put away, in the middle of spring cleaning, and trying to get back to work. I have built myself a grow light prototype and he plants are loving it. I ordered a 300 LED roll with connector and power supply and sew it on. Now that I know it works, I will build the final version and show you the process in a later post.

So, what are we eating these days? Lots of things!

I purchased Soy beans at the Asian grocery store. They cost me a few dollars only. The first test crop came up rather quickly grown in a flimsy plastic food container with coconut husks. This is not really suitable as a microgreen. The flavor is odd. But my tenebrio molitor ate the secondary leaves very quickly. Given how bulky this green is, I decided to grow a bigger test batch and make sure to keep the initial sprout as short as possible so I can harvest true leaves for my Tiny Little Herd.

Can you believe these are the exact same mung beans that are available commercially? I grow mine under light so that they become as green as possible. We rarely will eat these as microgreens, but they taste very good stir fried. These cost just about nothing at 1.75 for a bag that will produce 5-6 trays of greens.

Radish sprouts is out go-to microgreen. It packs all the punch of a radish inside a tiny little shoot. This is a very easy to grow and impressive micro green. I plan on expanding my production of this and offering it on CooksFromHome. The radish seeds I use are from Country Creek Acres (US / Canada)

I found some Black Mustard seeds at the Indian grocery and thought I would sprout them. Wow, not only did these sprout very fast, they are really pungent. Great on a burger in place of actual mustard.

I grow a lot of lentils as an ornamental plant. Lentils are stringy and a bit bitter. I have yet to find a culinary application for them. Sprouting lentils look like a tiny bamboo forest in my miniature flower arrangements. They are easy to grow on aquarium pebbles in tiny containers and make up for the fact that I have few house plants. Once they start to wilt a bit, I tie them into a knot and offer it to my beetles who love to rummage through and eat the tiny leaves.

Those yellow peas that are sold in 1 pound bags can easily be turned into a bounty of greens in 7 days. Peas are my most abundant crop. My daughter loves to eat them raw as an after school snack. The rest will go into soups. I have had less success with the soil-less method and now grow them in ground up coconut husk. Once I am done harvesting the tops, I can dry out the mat of roots to my mealworms.

The amaranth I have been growing comes from the Indian grocery. I have failed twice with these, it’s a miracle I had some to photograph. Amaranth is tiny and tastes a lot like alfalfa. I have yet to succeed with these.

*Yes, I know there is a “typo” in my card!

Good ole alfalfa is making me crazy! This inexpensive seed from Country Creek Acres (US / Canada) is leaving me stumped. I need to up my alfalfa game before I welcome my cuy herd to the Underground Homestead! In videos from the Ministerio de Agricultura de Ecuador (the cuy people!) I see them grow fields of alfalfa 3 feet tall to feed to the cuy (guinea pigs). I am running into the same problem I have with basil which is stunted growth. Nevertheless, this is one experiment I will keep going until I figure this out!

Alfalfa has not been my only fail. I started growing black sunflower seeds. On one side I have a bird feed bag from the Dollorama, on the other I have a horrendously expensive version from Country Creek Acres… I fail at growing both so far. But I will keep going because it is by far the best tasting microgreen I have grown. It’s nutty and fresh and not annoying in high quantity.

I’ll leave you with a little treasure. This is a small plastic box that was planted, watered and sealed shut for a month. Here is the Thai basil it produced.

I planted some of my thai basil in a larger pot and, after two months, the sprouts started getting true leaves… I am not holding my breath.

I have many other things to show you but it will have to be in another post!

Have a wonderful week.

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