Everything You Need to Know About Kale Microgreens
As a member of the Brassica family of vegetables, kale already gets top billing. The Brassica family is filled with cruciferous vegetables known for their antioxidant traits that fight cancer, heart disease, and many other maladies.
Kale in microgreen form is even better. Some people are turned off by the texture of full-grown kale, but you can get about 4 times the health benefits of kale by eating kale microgreens, and the cultivar Red Russian kale will also astound you with its beauty!
What exactly are microgreens? Every vegetable goes through three major stages of growth. First, they sprout, then they germinate, and then they grow to full-grown status. Microgreens are harvested shortly after germination, when the first leaves, known as cotyledons, begin to come out. In this stage, the microgreens are powerfully laden with even higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals than their full-grown counterparts.
Because they are such an asset to your health, but also so delicate in nature, microgreens are very expensive to grow and transport. But if you are ready to take charge of your own health, and have a little extra time and money on your hands, you can grow kale microgreens more economically than you can buy them, and set yourself up for a healthy lifestyle.
- How to grow
- How long to germinate and presoak
- How to grow in soil
- How to grow hydroponically
- How much/often to water
- When to expose to light
- When/how to harvest microgreen kale seeds
- How many per tray?
- Kale microgreen health and nutritional benefits
- How to use kale microgreen seeds/recipes
Step-by-Step Technique for Growing Kale Seeds
Kale microgreens, although they take a little longer to grow than other microgreens, offer such a valuable health docket that it is certainly worth your time and effort. Not only does gardening offer you control over what you put in your mouth, but the act itself also offers you some mental quiet and peace. Playing in the soil is always beneficial. This is also a great activity to do together as a family, and you can teach the next generation so much about the natural order of things, how to fuel their bodies in a healthy way, and even patience while they wait for the seeds to sprout!
What type of seeds should I purchase?
Order your seeds from a reputable microgreen seed company, and choose organic whenever possible. With the short time to grow microgreens, starting with the most pristine product is in your best interest for both health and taste.
Do I need to pre-soak kale microgreen seeds?
Soaking your kale microgreen seeds is a good idea because it will fast track the growth of your microgreens.
How do I pre-soak kale microgreen seeds?
Soaking kale microgreen seeds, like any other seeds, is not difficult but takes a bit of time.
- Rinse the seeds in cold water.
- Fill a container with water and place seeds inside. Soak overnight.
- Afterwards, rinse and drain the seeds again, keeping them in the container, and re-rinse them every 6-8 hours.
- When they begin to sprout, they are ready to plant.
Do I need to germinate kale microgreen seeds?
Every seed needs to germinate in order to grow, and they do it on their own!
What is the preferred growing medium for kale microgreen seeds?
Kale seeds prefer a seed-starting potting mix or a mixture of coconut coir or vermiculite. Because of the minerals in the soil, this is the perfect combination to ensure your kale seeds flourish.
How do I germinate and grow kale microgreen seeds in soil?
Growing kale seeds as part of a healthy lifestyle is really not too difficult and just involves following a few simple directions. The Red Russian Kale cultivar is a colorful microgreen to grow and would be a great choice to start with.
- Add about one inch of the potting soil mix to a clean plastic nursery tray.
- Use a spray bottle to moisten the soil, but do not saturate it.
- Distribute the kale seeds evenly in the soil. This will ensure a more even harvest.
- Cover the sown seeds lightly with more soil.
- Put the lid on the tray so they can germinate in the dark.
- Germination takes about 2-3days for kale seeds, and after germination, the microgreens will need light to perform photosynthesis.
- Put the trays in a sunny window.
- Water the seeds as they grow. Make sure not to overwater.
- They should be ready to harvest about 8-12 days after germination.
- Use sharp scissors or a knife to harvest them, cutting at an angle to avoid getting soil in your harvested microgreens.
- If you can avoid washing the kale microgreens, that will keep them from getting bruised and ruined.
- It is best to eat microgreens as soon as possible. If you need to wait a bit, keep your unwashed microgreens in a sealed dry container in the refrigerator.
How much light and water do my kale microgreen seeds need?
Your kale microgreens will grow best with direct sunlight from the sun. 6-8 hours is the preferred amount of time. Artificial lights also work but raise the time to 10-12 hours a day. Make sure the lights are not close enough to burn the microgreens, but also not too far away, which will make the shoots stretch out. Make sure the seeds get some darkness, in order to complete all of their photosynthesis processes.
When considering how to water them, make sure to keep your seeds well-watered, but not so saturated that they are sopping wet and mold starts to form. You can continue to use the spray bottle to regulate the water.
How do I grow kale seeds hydroponically?
Hydroponic growing is perfect for microgreens. Hydroponic, as the name implies, means that the seeds are grown in water. Because of the delicate microgreens, it is a benefit to not have to wash the soil off of them, as you do in normal growing microgreens.
- The first step is to rinse and soak the seeds. This will speed up the growing process.
- In a clean growing tray, place a substrate such as a coco coir or vermiculite and soak it with water.
- Plant the kale seeds generously and evenly.
- Keep the seeds damp.
- The growth time will be similar to the growth time in soil.
- When you harvest them, you do not have to worry about the soil on your delicate microgreens!
Kale Microgreen Nutrition and Health Benefits
The health prowess of kale microgreens simply cannot be overstated. As a member of the Brassica family, kale is a superhero when it comes to getting a variety of vitamins and minerals all in one place. Vitamins K and C are found in abundance in kale and join with the health benefits of calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and many others.
Kale is a superfood for a reason! Here is a quick list of the most important health benefits you will find when you enjoy kale microgreens.
Potassium is an electrolyte that you probably only think about when you don’t have enough of it and your breathing and heartbeat start to go haywire. This element prevents strokes and assists with the conversation of nerves and muscles in your body. Although you might be used to grabbing a banana for potassium, kale is a great source of this important electrolyte!
Kale is also an excellent source of calcium, and as such will help protect your heart, blood pressure, nerves, and muscles.
Magnesium, a powerful anti-inflammatory, helps you put mind over matter as it fights depression and anxiety, as well as prevents migraines.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin:
These vitamins, known as carotenoids, work wonders for your eyesight. Although you might be used to reaching for carrots to protect your eyes, kale is a great source of these vitamins and an important choice for eye health.
Kale is filled with fiber, a powerful part of a plant that your body can’t break down. Because of these properties, fiber aids in digestion and weight loss and helps people evade diabetes.
This element is probably lesser known than the others but just as important. It aids your body in energy storage, helps your kidneys filter waste, reduces your pain after exercise, and also helps create DNA and RNA in your body. Kale is a great source of this important element!
Kale contains a high concentration of Vitamin K, which creates proteins in your body that help with blood clotting and bone building. Vitamin K is essential in improving memory in older adults and also regulating blood pressure.
If you wanted to hold one vitamin accountable for the health benefits of kale microgreens, it is Vitamin C. Because Vitamin C reduces the oxidative stress which causes chronic diseases, it is an anti-inflammatory that provides immunity for a variety of conditions, and is also able to stall dementia.
Research continues to prove that the Brassica family is filled with superheroes, and kale microgreens are at the top of the list. With a few ounces of kale microgreens, you can assist virtually every system in your body to run more efficiently.
Kale microgreens are sweeter than their full-grown counterpart and are a great addition to many kitchen concoctions. It seems obvious to put them on wraps, salads, and sandwiches, but there are many other recipes for them to star in.
Adding kale microgreens to casseroles, sauces, and dips offers color, flavor, and extreme health benefits to whatever you are making. Here are some of the best ways to incorporate kale microgreens into your diet.
Kale microgreens are a healthy, tasty addition to your diet, and are easy to grow for yourself. Consider these tips to make the most of your kale microgreens.
- Kale microgreens are picky about air and appreciate air circulation to prevent mold. By using fans or extractor fans, you can balance the temperature and humidity, as well as mimic the outside wind to grow the healthiest possible microgreens.
- Keep the kale microgreens at about 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use fresh soil and clean trays every time you grow something new. Mold or bacteria could be lurking, and once you use soil the nutrients are all used up!
- Kale microgreens are just the beginning! Try your hand at radishes, broccoli, or basil to create other healthy microgreens.
If you want to keep every one of your bodily systems in check, but also enjoy something tasteful, crunchy, and colorful, kale microgreens are your answer. By regulating digestion, keeping your electrical systems running smoothly, and eliminating free radicals in your body that cause cancer, kale microgreens are a perfect choice to begin a healthy lifestyle.
Gardening itself is therapeutic, it gives you more autonomy over what you put in your body, helps you to understand the life cycle, and is known to be relaxing. Kale microgreens are a great way to begin your gardening career!
Do you already appreciate the attributes of gardening? Are you an expert in growing kale microgreens? If so, share your experience and tips below.