May 2004

Marvelous Microgreens  

Origin: California (where else?)


First off, I want to apologize for the lateness of this month's featured plant. I've been busy rehabbing baby cottontails and baby squirrels. I've been so immersed in their needs that I totally forgot. Sorry for the delay.


Straight from the West Coast is the latest trend in fresh salads for you and your pets….microgreens. These baby members of the greens community are filament-thin, delicate plants but they pack a wallop of taste and nutrition. Most people find microgreens only on trendy restaurant menus but now you can grow your own at home. Celery, upland cress, amaranth, cilantro, basil, arugula are just a few of the microgreens that work out well.  Here are a few more suggestions:


Bull's Blood Beet

Beta vulgaris

This nifty heirloom is grown primarily for its sweet-tasting dark red leaves. The color is stunning, which makes this plant a triple threat….edible greens, tasty root, and a lovely accent in your garden. Bull's Blood likes full sun and to be watered as needed. It will produce edible microgreens in two to three weeks. You can also let some grow for about eight weeks for yummy beets.



Sweet Fennel or Finocchio

Foeniculum vulgare

      Introduced from Italy over a hundred years ago, all parts of this plant are usable. The seeds, leaves and bulbs all contribute to the culinary experience. The leaves are very feathery in appearance and are green with a hint of blue. Sweet Fennel should be planted in the spring for a fall harvest. It grows best in full to partial sun with watering as needed.


Magenta Spreen Lambsquarters

Chenopodium giganteum


Another striking plant, Magenta Spreen is related to spinach. Its leaves are a combination of lilac, purple, and magenta. Extremely tasty raw, you will have microgreens in one to two weeks. Magenta Spreen likes full to partial sun with watering as needed.