Another hard to get Brassica, Kale comes in several leaf shapes and colors. We offer Red Russian Kale because we love red crops, and because we have a good source which is certified organic and not too expensive.
With traditional Micro-Greens, you never get to see the True Leaves of a plant - which in the case of Red Russian Kale are really cool - but if you read the Notes section (below) you will learn how you can.
Kale may also be grown as a sprout, as detailed on our Kale page.
Note: Canadian and US researchers have found that Brassicas contain antioxidants such as sulfurophane.
Kale is a Brassica.
Yields approximately as many Micro-Greens (by weight) as seed "planted"
We put quotes around Planted because the seeds are always spread atop a medium - not planted under.
These seeds can benefit from Soaking and a tiny bit of Pre-Sprouting prior to planting.
You don't have to do this, but it may help produce a better crop if you do. To Soak a seed is to save it the time it takes for it to drink up its fill of water from the medium it is planted atop,
so that alone will save you a day, but wet seeds are more difficult to work with when Planting. As always, we suggest you try variations and see what you like best. Learning is half the fun!
Put seed* into a bowl or your Sprouter.
Add 2-3 times as much cool (60-70°) water.
Mix seeds up to assure even water contact for all.
Allow seeds to Soak for 8-12 hours.
Empty the seeds into your sprouter if necessary.
Drain off the Soak water.
Use it to water plants, or anything else - it has nutrients in it.
Rinse thoroughly with cool (60-70°) water
and Drain thoroughly.
Set anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature (70° is optimal) between Rinses.
This is where your sprouts do their growing. We use a counter top - in the corner of our kitchen, but where the sprouter won't get knocked over by cats, dogs, kids or us. We don't mind the indirect sunlight or the 150 watts of incandescent light, because light just does not matter much.
A plant can only perform photosynthesis when it has leaves. Until then light has little if any effect, so don't hide your sprouts. When leaves appear this will be plenty of light for them to green up!
When we're sprouting Mung Beans we may choose a darker corner, but 99% of the time we just don't avoid light.
Rinse and Drain again in 8-12 hours.
And, perhaps one more...
Rinse and Drain in 8-12 hours.
The goal is to have a very small root - or even the first sign of a root - before planting.
However many Rinse and Drain cycles it takes to get to that first sign - or up to a 1/16th inch root - is how long you should Pre-Sprout.
(see Notes (below) for variations)
Grow these on soil or Baby Blanket (a soilless medium) in a Tray, on a Hemp Bag,
a Miniature Garden (which is basically a small set of trays - each which holds a medium) or on virtually any moisture retaining medium
(theoretically as minimal as paper towel or fabric - like cheesecloth) you can think of.
Whether you have soaked, pre-sprouted or are starting with dry seed, this is the way to proceed:
Thoroughly moisten the Medium upon which you are going to grow.
Whether you are using a Hemp Bag, Baby Blanket, or another medium - lay it on a plate or in a pan or something -
so that you don't end up watering your counter. If you are using a Tray with drainage slits to hold your medium, put it on a plate or in a solid (Drip) Tray -
or use a plate or pan to capture the water runoff.
Spread seeds sparsely on your thoroughly moistened medium.
There should be a bit of space around each seed but you are not expected to place them one at a time - just spread them out as much as you can and as evenly as you can, within reason.
You may cover your seeds:
If planting on soil or another medium in a Tray use another identical tray - up side down.
If using a Miniature Garden you can slide the tray into the central unit for the first 2-3 days (just 1 or 2 days if you soaked or pre-sprouted your seeds).
If using a Hemp Bag, Baby Blanket, or another medium - be creative. If it's on a plate then use an identical plate (upside down) as a cover.
It is not mandatory when growing Micro-Greens to cover them at all. Experiment for yourself and see what works best in your climate/location.
Place your Micro-Garden in a low-light, room temperature location (70° is optimal).
Keep the medium moist - but not soggy - by watering or misting with a Spray Bottle every day.
Note: These wonderful little Brassica plants have a unique root structure. Brassicas will show microscopic roots starting around day 3. They are called root hairs and are most visible just before watering - when the plants are at their driest. These root hairs impress many people as mold - but they are not. Now you know. Isn't learning fun?!
When your plants grow up and begin to shed their hulls they are ready for light so move them (if necessary) to a well lighted location.
If you go with sunlight be prepared to water more frequently. Room light will usually do quite nicely - and will not dry out your medium as quickly.
Keep the medium moist but not soggy by watering regularly.
Water from the side if possible to prevent injuring the tiny plants - especially if you are not using a Spray Bottle.
When your plants have open leaves which are green, they are done.
Cut the plants just above the medium upon which they have grown.
During the final 8-12 hours minimize the surface moisture of your plants - they will store best in your refrigerator if they are dry to the touch. So if you water try to keep the water off the plants - just water the medium.
When you are ready to store them (I'll remind you that these degrade fast, so eat them instead of storing them if you can), if they are still damp - lay them between some paper towels or anything you prefer, and dry them very gently.
Transfer your crop to a plastic bag or the sealed container of your choice - glass is good.
We sell an amazing Produce Storage Bag that actually extends the shelf life of produce, if you're interested in the best of the best =;-)
Whatever you store them in; put them in your refrigerator - if you must.
* Dry Seed Volume
See our Notes (below) for Variations.
If using Sproutpeople's Single Harvest Pack and a 5x5 inch Tray; use the whole bag.
2 Teaspoons for our little 5 inch tray.
2 scant Tablespoons for an 10 inch square tray.
4 Tablespoon for an 10 x 20 inch tray.
The first time you grow these you should consider giving quite a bit of space to each seed just to familiarize yourself with the plants' habit. Our suggested Dry Seed Volume will provide you with this space.
You can also grow Kale using conventional sprouting methods as described on our Kale page.
We first grew Micro-Greens back in 1994. We were way ahead of the curve. Nobody was interested in them - not our farmers market customers, not our food stores (co-ops, natural food stores and grocery stores we delivered to every week), not our restaurants, nobody!
That did change some as the years passed, but we were always Sprout People first. Frankly, we prefer Sprouts to Micros, but we keep working with them. We want to like them more.
Soaking and Pre-Sprouting
Though our instructions above suggest these steps (for non-mucilaginous seeds), we have found them less and less necessary as we've worked with Micro-Greens.
We skip both now, concentrating first on thoroughly moistening our medium. We then plant the seeds (which are just spread atop that thoroughly moistened medium),
and mist them with a Spray Bottle. We then cover our planted seeds. We mist them with a Spray Bottle at least once a day until they sprout, and then bury their roots
in the medium. During those first 2-3 days we are misting heavily, to keep the medium thoroughly moist as well as the seeds.
We uncover the plants at different stages, depending on what we are doing with a particular crop. Keep reading to learn more.
There are varying opinions of what constitutes a Micro-Green. Traditionally it is just a plant grown to the Cotyledon stage, and cut above the medium upon which it is planted.
When we grow to this stage; we either grow on Baby Blanket or soil (any kind will do). Baby Blanket is less messy and works fine and dandy. We cut a piece to fit a plate, then
we follow our own instructions for keeping the medium and seeds-sprouts thoroughly moist. We use another of the same size plate - inverted - as a cover. We uncover our plants when they are about 1/2 inch tall, or when they are hitting the covering plate.
We then expose them to all the light our kitchen has to offer. We even use direct sunlight when available. We have to water them more often when we do this. When it comes to watering, We mist them with a Spray Bottle until the seeds have firmly rooted. After that -
when growing on a piece of Baby Blanket on a plate; pour water directly onto the plate. We gently tip and turn the plate so as much water as possible gets soaked up by the Baby Blanket, and then pour off most of the excess.
When growing on soil; we continue to spray with the Spray Bottle, but we keep the medium moist by adding water directly to the plate or solid tray it is sitting on.
We allow the medium to drink up what water it can, and then gently pour off the excess. Leaving a little water on the plate is fine - it will get sucked up before your next watering. If it doesn't, you are leaving too much water behind.
There are some nowadays who want a Micro-Green to be a plant which puts out a True Leaf before they'll call it a Micro-Green.
We find that concept Very interesting, so we have worked to make that happen.
The first thing is to plant less seed. Just how much is the question. The general rule is this: The more space your plant has to grow roots - the bigger it can grow.
We are currently using 1/4 teaspoon in a 5x5 inch tray. That leaves quite a bit of room between the seeds-plants, but gives them enough space to grow to the True Leaf stage. This can take 2 weeks or more.
The main thing that is needed is More Light. Plants get "leggy" when they need to reach for light. We use that to our advantage in all other circumstances in the Sprout World, but here we want to minimize the legginess of the plants. If you can put a light right above your crop -
or keep it in direct sunlight, that will help. Keep everything adequately moist. Remember - the more light the faster the medium and plants will dry. This may sound like a lot more work, but really it isn't much more than usual.
We cover the seeds only until they have sprouted when growing this way. We plant on soil which has been enriched with 20% Earthworm Castings, which add nitrogen that a plant uses to grow leaves. When making up the soil,
do not exceed 20% Earthworm Castings as too much nitrogen can burn your plants (they actually whither and die when the soil is too "hot" - which means it has too much nitrogen).
Mix the castings into the base soil (anything will work, though we do not advise mixes that are heavily peat moss as we find it hard to work with and we don't find the crop turns out as well) - it is the roots that will need access to the rich soil medium.
If growing a mix, not all of the plants will grow True Leaves at the same time. Keep growing until most have them. Harvest then and eat them up. Though you can store Micro-Greens,
they degrade quickly, and since you have put so much work in these - you should enjoy them at their peak.
The Next Variation
The next obvious step (to us anyway) we find really exciting. It is to grow even fewer seeds into even fewer plants. Those plants will grow more leaves. They will be more like Baby-Greens than Micro-Greens. They will require more time. They may re-grow more quickly because they'll have a bigger root-mass.
The container (tray, pot, etc.) they grow in will likely be too small for that root-mass to live long, but it's possible. When it comes right down to it, we're talking about an indoor-garden. All the other stuff we offer is about indoor gardening, but this is more like a garden. Not many of us have space in our homes to Garden
inside, but we love the idea. We're working on this, and we'll tell you what we find out as soon as we know something. It was gardening that eventually led us to sprouting. We feel like this is closing that circle started so long ago - now it is sprouting leading back to gardening @:-)
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