Workshop on A to Z Microgreens
A Bonsai tree is a living tree or shrub which has been grown in a way which gives the impression of being a full-sized, mature tree. An artistic representation of a full-sized tree in nature. Bonsai trees are generally grown in shallow ceramic pots. Bonsai are trees and plants grown in containers in such a way so that they look their most beautiful–even prettier than those growing in the wild. Cultivating Bonsai, therefore, is a very artistic hobby. Bonsai is the art of growing ornamental, artificially dwarfed varieties of trees and shrubs in pots.
A Bonsai is not a species of tree; in fact many species of tree can be turned into Bonsai through various techniques. Bonsai may sound like an expensive affair but it can also be done at an affordable cost by anyone at home.
To learn how you can do this exactly, watch our workshop on 13th november on “Preparing Bonsai at Low Cost” with our speaker Dr. Sadida Ahmed & Miss Simin Badar who will be sharing with us ways and simple techniques on preparing Bonsai plants easily at home. Dr. Sadida Ahmed has learnt the art of making Bonsai in USA and is making Bonsai since 1998. She has also exhibited her Bonsai in various exhibitions. She also has a huge farm where she grows paddy, fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicinal & flowering plants organically. For more information you can reach out to her through her Instagram page organic_natural_farming
Topic to be covered:
1. Making Bonsai without spending lot of money
2. Taking care of Bonsai
Also, you can use the code SIMITAOS to get a 5% discount on TAOS Products. Do check it out on our website here.
VISHAKHA AND HER MICROGREENS:
“Welcome to another workshop by TAOS. Today we have with us, Vishakha Sinha. Hello Vishakha, how are you?” Asked Zehra.
“Hello, Zehra. Thank you for having me here.” Said Vishakha.
“It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. Let me introduce you all to the speaker of the day. She is an Industrial Engineer by profession and a very passionate plant lover. She watched her grandparents and mother doing gardening and that’s how she started growing plants. So today in this workshop she is going to tell us what everyone needs to know about Microgreens.
Microgreens are the easiest plant to grow as they grow very fast. Still, many things need to be kept in mind while growing them. So we have Vishakha for this workshop. Over to you Vishakha.” Said Zehra.
“Hello everyone, I am Vishakha. I am based in Bengaluru. As Zehra said, I am super passionate about gardening. So, gardening is an art you learn new things, you experiment with new things you fail and you try again. That’s what makes gardening so much interesting. So when it comes to gardening you can’t accept magic overnight. Plants take you time to grow. During Covid, many people pick up gardening as a hobby and many therapists suggested gardening in their therapy. For me gardening is medication, it makes my mind and soul relax. Spending time with plants and soil makes me love nature more.
Today I will share with you what section of gardening you can begin with. The plants you can see on the table have grown in 7 days. You don’t need special types of equipment or a variety of seeds.
Why Microgreens? The reason is, they are free as you can have a small green corner in the kitchen or on your table you are good to go. And they are very healthy, it is scientifically proven that their small plants have 40 times more nutrition than their grown-up counterparts. So, Microgreens by definition, are vegetable greens that are harvested right after the confetti leaves develop with one set of true leaves. So after sowing the seeds, the first two leaves that will grow are very similar irrespective of any kind of seed you grow. When the first set of true leaves is grown then it means that the microgreen has grown and is ready to harvest. Anything above the soil can be eaten. People get confused they are sprouts the same as Microgreens. The answer is no. sprouts and Microgreens are two very different things. So in sprouts when we soak the seeds in water they develop roots, but microgreen is one step ahead. So after sowing the sprouted seeds the plant that grows is called microgreen.
You can grow any kind of microgreen. We can make a microgreen of Radish, as it has a large amount of Vitamin C. Wheat Grass is rich in nutrients and also in sugar and are called Superfood. That’s why we should include microgreens in our diet.
Now the question arises, how to grow them at home? We need to search for which vegetable we can make microgreens as from every vegetable microgreens cannot be made. For example, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Okra, and Brinjal as the leaves of these plants are not edible. Generally, all types of leafy vegetables and herbs can be consumed as microgreens. Look in your kitchen for what is easily available. For example, Kala Chana, Rajma, Lobia, and even Methi, Red cabbage, Green cabbage, Cauliflower, and Broccoli can be used to grow microgreens. How to grow the seeds: You have to soak the dried seeds overnight. After 8 hours drain the water and let it rest for 4-5 hours and you will see small roots coming out of the seeds. Now it is ready to be sown.
The next question that comes is which medium to use. I will tell you the three most common methods to grow microgreens.
- Soil: It is the most easily available medium. You can you your garden soil. It is good for germination, but it has a demerit that you will not be able to see if the soil is attacked by pests or not. And it will affect the germination of the seeds.
- Cocopeat: It is the fiber of coconut which is available in the market in dried form in blocks. So, you have to put some water on the cocopeat and it absorbs water. When it expands it is ready to use for sowing the seeds. So, cocopeat doesn’t have their nutrition so you have to use something to give nutrition to the plant. I have used 70% cocopeat and 30% cow dung.
- Water: Growing in water is called Hydroponic propagation. While growing in water, you have to give the plant nutritional value as water doesn’t have any. You have to make sure to change the water every 3-4 days to avoid algae and insect breeding. You also have to deep clean the container which you are using for the propagation of the seeds. For this medium, you have to add liquid fertilizer.
I prefer the mixture of Cocopeat and Cow Dung. As the seeds grow much better in cocopeat that soil or water.” Said Vishakha.
“There is a question by Nash Nathon:
1. “Is there an option to buy one of these?” Asked Zehra.
“Yes, there are some online websites that sell microgreens even with a growing kit. But I would suggest growing it at home, as it has fast growth and you will enjoy every step of growing it.” Said Vishakha.
“Now we will see a demo of how to grow the seed in cocopeat. So, before that let’s discuss in which container you can grow the seed. You can grow it in any container whichever is 2-3 inches in height. I used the plastic fruit salad container that I had at my home, you can use any kind of plastic container or other containers available at home. But make sure that it has the right amount of drainage holes. So, for growing in a water medium you have to do multiple holes so that the roots come out of that holes and place another container with water below it. After spreading the seeds evenly we will put another thin layer of cocopeat.” Said Vishakha.
For the demo, I have taken a container with five holes in the bottom and filled it with 70% cocopeat and 30% cow dung. After that, I will spread the sprouted mung, there is no need to put the seeds in arrangement order as after coming to a destined height they will be harvested. You have to make sure that all the seeds are in one layer and not above each other.
“Having said about harvest, we have a question:
2. within how many days the microgreens be ready to harvest?” Asked Zehra.
“So it depends on the seeds. Normally, in 7-12 days they are ready to be harvested. Methi takes more 3 days to be ready to be harvested. So, the sign to understand that it is ready to be harvested is, you will find little small leaves and will witness that true leaves coming which means that are ready to be harvested.” Said Vishakha.
“We have another question from Vipasha Jain,
3. how much sunlight do these plants need?” Asked Zehra.
“We will be coming to that question right after this. So, after putting a layer of cocopeat press it down with little pressure. This will add weight to the seeds. Now the seed has to put some pressure to bring the shoot upwards and it will make the shoot stronger. The second reason this after covering the seeds the sunlight will be blocked. So even if you put it in sunlight it will not harm the seeds as it is blocked. And an important thing to be noted, sunlight is not required for the seeds to germinate but it is required for the plant to grow. I generally cover it with a completely black container to completely block any ray of light. You can keep it anywhere in a humid and warm place. After 2-3 days, a 2-3 cm shoot will come out and it’s time to remove the black container and put it in the sun. For the watering, I put a container with little water in the bottom of the seed container and the water will then be absorbed by the bottom holes. You can keep the plant in a place where the sunlight is coming from the window, and avoid keeping it in dried sunlight as they are the most delicate plants.
Now let’s talk about the harvest process. For example, I have this wheat grass which is roughly 3 inches and is ready to harvest. So, to harvest, it cut the shoots by leaving 1 inch at the bottom so that no soil or dust particle is attached to the shoot of the microgreens. Always wash it before using or eating. Eating fresh Wheat Grass is very nutritious.” Said Vishakha.
“We have one more question coming in:
4. how to water these small shoots?” Asked Zehra.
“First you have to check whether it is wet or dry. The easiest way to do this is, you touch your finger to the soil and check whether it is dry or wet. So, if the soil is stick to your fingertip then you don’t need to water it, but if it does not stick to your fingertip then sprinkle the water. Make sure not to make the medium soggy.” Said Vishakha.
“Now the question comes, how to include this in our diet. You can include this in your salad. Wheatgrass is a little bitter, Mustard microgreens are bitter, Methi is a little spicy, etc.” said Vishakha.
“We have a question from Nash:
5. Are there any suitable climate conditions where they can grow healthier? Because I live in a very humid/dry state, so how to save them from extreme heat?” Asked Zehra.
“So, the suitable climate is humid but in a dry climate, you will witness poor growth in the microgreens. So you have to mist the soil as well as the top of the plant. If in your place there is extreme heat, then keep it in a place where it does not get direct and heated sunlight.” Said Vishakha.
“There is another question from Aayush, it is about growing these kinds of eatable plants in a plastic container as on the Internet it says we shouldn’t grow it in plastic as it will add microplastics to our bodies.
6. Is it advisable to grow in plastic containers or not?” Asked Zehra.
“Since, online food usually comes in plastic containers. You have two ways to use them either to dispose of which ultimately will come to a landfill and pollute the soil, or you reuse it as a plant container. Microgreens are not plants that need to be grown for a long duration of time, it is a 7-day process and then you harvest and eat it. It will not have any damage. But having said that, if you want to have a healthier way you can grow them in Terracotta Pots. You can even grow them on your garden bed.” Said Vishakha.
“Now we have understood, what are microgreens and even know how to grow them at home. But still, many things come from experience while growing the plant first time. As for plants, there is no hard and fast rule that they will grow this or that way. There are some things that you should know before beginning with growing them:
- When you sow the seed there may be times when it will not grow. So it’s not your fault as the seeds from the kitchen that was stored in the bottle will take more moisture from the environment and will reduce the process of germination. Which makes the seed not capable to germinate. So try with the fresh packet and the seeds will germinate.
- The second problem that I faced was, there was the growth of shoots but after some time their leaves and the whole plant started to fall.
- So the reason for this is if the soil or the shoots are dried or there is no proper air circulation so it will start dropping the leaves. So, what you need to do is mist it and water the plants in the soil as well as in the shoots so in 2-3 days it will be back to its original form.
- The second reason can be the not proper sunlight. So the shoots usually in search of sunlight become tall and will start to bend in the direction of the light.
- The third reason is the plant becoming leggy. After becoming leggy they are not nutritious. So you have to ensure that it is receiving an even amount of sunlight from all sides and from top and bottom.
- The fourth problem is the yellowing of the leaves. It is due to no proper intake of sunlight as it is not able to do the photosynthesis process.
- The fifth and most difficult problem is the formation of mold. As the plant requires moist and humid temperatures and soil for proper growth. If the plant is in too much moist climate then there is chances of soil becoming soggy. Even if there is no proper drainage holes the water will be stored at the bottom of the container leading it to become soggy. This is the perfect condition for the formation of the mold. You have to make sure that the container you are reusing it should be properly cleaned.” Said Vishakha.
“So, when growing in water how often do we need to change the water?” Asked Zehra.
“You have to change the water in every 2-3 days, or will start to smell bad.” Said Vishakha.
7. “So when growing in water, since we have very large holes in the container, will the seeds fall down?” Asked Zehra.
“So, I used a mesh net at the bottom of the container so that the small seeds won’t fall off.” Said Vishakha.
“There is one more question,
8. can we use Fungicide?” Asked Zehra.
“Yes you can use fungicide, but I would suggest not to use is as we are directly consuming the microgreens, and you would not like to add chemicals in your diet. You can use cinnamon powder, as it works as anti-fungal.” Said Vishakha.
“There is one more question from Nash,
9. are the extra nutrient booster or fertilizers available in market necessary for plants?” Asked Zehra.
“It is not mandatory for plants. In 7-days the plant have good amount of nutrients. But my adding any type of fertilizers the yield of the plant becomes better. For the new plant parents I would suggest start simple.” Said Vishakha.
“There is question from Jay, what do you think are the best looking microgreens?” Asked Zehra.
“For me it is Mung/moong. I love them.” Said Vishakha.
“That was a wonderful session. We have received very beautiful comments. I personally enjoyed your explanation a lot. Thank you so much everyone for joining us. Thank you so much Vishakha for this wonderful information and for your precious time. See you all in our next workshop.”