Last week, we had several days of chilly rain. Currently, in Dallas, we are in a mandatory shelter in place. Schools are closed. Non-essential businesses are closed. But this week, the weather has been extra warm. People are excited to be outside and want to do something. People and families NEED things to do. In scanning social media, maybe you’ve seen one of the many online articles about Victory Gardens making a comeback. But, what’s a Victory Garden?
Here is an explanation of Victory Gardens from http://www.futurefarmers.com/victorygardens/history.html
Victory Gardens, also called “war gardens” or “food gardens for defense”, were gardens planted both at private residences and on public land during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. These gardens produced up to 41 percent of all the vegetable produce that was consumed in the nation.
-City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America, Laura Lawson
How come you’ve never heard of something with a cool name like that? That’s because people of a certain age are experiencing their first worldwide catastrophe. COVID 19 has changed our lives, temporarily, and we often look to the past to deal with the present.
So, are you ready to plow up your backyard and plant corn, squash and tomatoes to feed you, your family and your neighbors? Not everyone is and that’s okay. There are many reasons to be hesitant such as: disposable income on a new activity, equipment, space, and maybe most important, know how.
That’s where microgardening comes in. Microgarden is just what it sounds like. It is gardening on a small scale. It allows you to repurpose things, costing you less. It also is a nice introduction into gardening to build your confidence before you plow up your backyard. Microgardening is also very inclusive. You can do it regardless of where you live, and you don’t have to be as physically fit as The Rock to do it.
I want to share my foray into microgardening with you. It was fun because I grew microgreens. Did I make mistakes? Absolutely. But I was still able to grow something in less than a week and eat it. Am I still learning? Of course! I am still trying different methods and I will eventually nail it just like in all the YouTube videos I watched.
Potting soil or seed starting mix. This is easy to find at a nursery or hardware store. I used these plus a different organic planting mix in a very, very large bag.
Microgreen seeds. You can use other vegetable seeds like radish, broccoli and/or any leafy green. If you have these seeds already, use them!
Grow container. This is where you can get creative. You can use almost ANYTHING. This is where you can upcycle or repurpose the to-go containers you got from the many takeout order you placed to support local restaurants.
Spray bottle filled with water. You need something to gentle water your microseeds in your microgarden. Think of this has your microhose.
Optional: something small and flat to compact the soils and seeds. I used a metal mint box. You can use your hands.
Easy Planting Instructions
- Fill the container with about 2 inches of soil.
- Gently shake the container and tap it a few times on the table to settle the soil. Add more soil if needed.
- Open the seed pack and heavily sprinkle the seeds all over the soil surface. Don’t be shy. These seeds are not practicing social distancing.
- Use your DRY hands or a small, flat object like a small block of wood or the bottom of a metal box to press the seeds into the soil. The seeds need to make contact and snuggle into the soil. You can sprinkle a thin layer of soil on top, but you don’t have to. You want to be able to still see some of the seeds.
- Water the seeds with the spray bottle. Water the entire surface of the container. The soil should feel moist and spongy. It doesn’t need to be soggy like our yards after a week of rain.
- Place your micrograden on a sunny windowsill. If your container has a lid, put it on. This helps make a tiny greenhouse and is super cute. This is helpful when it’s chilly outside. If you don’t have a lid, the seeds will still sprout.
Congratulations! You just made your microgarden! Check on your seeds the next day. If there is a lid, remove it. If you don’t, you may grow mold. How do I know this?
When Will They Sprout?
When I did my first round of microgreen microgardening, it was cloudy, chilly and rainy. I got sprouts in 4 days. When I did my second round, we had sunny, summertime weather. I got growth in two days. In a week or so, your crop will about 1-2 inches tall. Use scissors to cut the greens. Keep the seeds in the soil. Use a colander to wash the microgreens under running water, then give them a taste. Microgreens are crunchy and flavorful. Different greens have distinct flavors. For example, radish microgreens are spicy.
Continue to care for your greens. They will grow back. Some of the seeds may not have sprouted so they will add to the new growth. Remember to spray water on your greens once or twice a day. Touch the soil to see if it is damp. If it’s dry, then spray.
Macro Reasons for Microgreens
Microgreens are not a meal in themselves, but they are great in salads and as a garnish. They are packed with nutrients. They are easy to grow. Take up very little space. You can grow them year-round. You don’t need a degree in horticulture to master the micro.
I know I don’t have the thick mat of greens in the YouTube videos. I will get better yield with the second, third and fiftieth try. This was fun, inexpensive and these can grow in any space. Give it try and share your victory microgreen microgarden on social media. Tag us at @GreenDallas, GreenDallasTX on Facebook or at Green Dallas on IG.
#VictoryMicrogarden #GrowAtHome #MircrogreenMicrogarden #MasterTheMicro