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1-3 weeks to Harvest: Utilizing Sprouts and Microgreens to Improve Health

Updated: Jan 28

One of the biggest challenges with growing your own produce in urban areas is the space requirements. While traditional gardening may require a decent amount of dedicated yard space, there are plenty of new techniques that can solve this problem.  

For those of you who live in an apartment or are unable to devote any yard space, but still want to be involved in growing some of your own food, microgreens and sprouts may be a great option for you. Both methods require no soil, have a rapid turnaround time, and create healthy foods that can be used to supplement your diet and add flavor to your dishes. 


The first method we will cover today is sprouts. The sprouting process includes growing certain seeds in a mason jar and or tray. Seeds are rinsed twice a day and left in a dark environment. This process can take as little as 4 days depending on the type of seeds. 


The other process is similar but has a few different twists. Growing seeds to the microgreen stage takes a little bit more time. Usually between 2-3 weeks. These seeds are grown on a grow mat in a well-lit area.  



So why would someone want to grow sprouts or microgreens? See the list below to find out about some of the many benefits possible. 

  • Cost: Beyond the initial cost of a setup, sprouts and microgreens will only cost a few cents per serving. As well, even these setups can be created relatively cheaply costing under $25 in some cases. 

  • Health Benefits: Sprouts and microgreens are very nutrient-dense and can provide vitamin C, B vitamins, and antioxidants. For example, broccoli sprouts can contain up to 40 times the nutrients as fully grown plants based on the same weight. Growing your own sprouts or microgreens allows you to control what your plants are exposed to before they are consumed. 

  • Ease of Growing: Sprouts can be grown in under a week with nothing more than a mason jar and screen, and with a low time commitment of only a few minutes a day, they serve as a method for busy individuals to supplement their diet with nutrient-dense foods. Sprouts and microgreens also allow people like renters to garden as the method can be as simple as a mason jar and screen. 


Microgreens and sprouts are both versatile tools that can be added to the diet to supplement nutrients we may be missing in everyday life. These methods are both extremely inexpensive and can have a great return on investment. Below are some sources to continue your learning on the topic. 


Note: The only drawback to the sprouting/microgreen method is the potential for pathogen infection such as E. coli. As with other vegetables cooking can eliminate this issue. Also, since most contamination occurs before seeds are packaged, rinsing them in apple cider vinegar before growing can help reduce this risk. 




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