All references to Garlic on Sproutpeople sites (or by any other sprouting seed supplier) refers to the seed produced by a Garlic Chive plant. Regular Garlic does not produce seeds - it produces bulbuls atop the leaves and bulbs below ground. Garlic Chive is virtually identical in flavor to Garlic.
Alliums have the shortest shelf life of any sprouting seed. Since they are also so painfully expensive we strongly suggest that you freeze your seed. The only concern is condensation. All you need to do to avoid condensation is to return the seed to the freezer within a few minutes - after you've removed what you need, to grow your current crop. Also, Keep them in any sealed container. A plastic bag is fine. Glass is better. You do not need to thaw the seeds - just go ahead and Soak.
These are very slow to grow when compared with most other Micro-Greens. When sprouting them, they can take 2 weeks - as Micro-Greens they can take even longer. It's hard to know when to stop with these. Mostly they just grow taller. These are Monocot plants (each seed contains one embryonic leaf - aka Cotyledon); initially the seed sends its root down, and its leaf up. It will grow additional leaves in a garden, and its roots will multiply as well, but as a Micro-Green it will likely grow no more than one leaf. Like all Alliums its leaves are long thin tubes that grow straight up. We plant these more densely than other Micro-Greens because the seeds are bigger than the tubular leaf they put out, and we like a nice big crop when we have to work this hard =;-)
Sproutpeople and Micro-Greens
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 because we find them plumper and more texturally pleasing - but we keep working with them. Some seeds (especially mucilaginous seeds) won't grow as sprouts and Micro-Greens are SO gorgeous and offer a lot of unique and really cool possibilities.
Soaking and Pre-Sprouting
Though our instructions (in the Growing Instructions Tab - to the left) 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 3-5 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.
When growing on a soilless medium like Hemp Felt or Tencel STG Pads it is advisable to use Liquid Kelp Feritlizer to give your plants additional nutrients to draw upon. When we use Kelp we dilute 1 tsp. in 1 quart of water (this is a higher concentration than the product label calls for). We use it in a Spray Bottle or by watering the medium directly. We use it every time we water. The perfect container for these soilless mediums is our inexpensive Compostable Tray.
If you plant on soil - or better yet with Coconut Coir (our FAVorite), mix in 25% Earthworm Castings for the ultimate nutrient rich, moisture retaining planting medium. Mix them together thoroughly before moistening.
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 Hemp Felt or soil (any kind will do). Hemp Felt 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-plants 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 Hemp Felt 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 Hemp Felt, 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.
In the case of Alliums, the leaves are all the same. With all of our other seeds (with the exception of Peanuts), the plant that would be produced (if the seed were planted in a garden) bears its "fruit" above ground. As Alliums are Bulbous Plants, they grow a Bulb below ground. There will be no bulb in the case of Micro-Greens, but the nature of the plant this seed would become is such that it puts less energy into leaf growth. For that reason we don't grow these any more than to get them to the height we want. They'll not produce additional leaves soon enough to make them a candidate for a longer growing period. They are singular among our Micro-Greens for that reason.