Ever since we first tasted mustard micro-greens, all three of us have been hooked on to their sharp flavour and crisp texture. Unfortunately, their commercial availability in most areas is limited and they’re expensive too – about 200 rupees for 50 gm from what I just saw on the net.
We’ve recently started growing them at home, and all we need are some seeds (I mostly use black mustard seeds), any containers you have lying about, kitchen towels and water.
The containers I’m using right now, are:
- Teacups that don’t have saucers
- Assorted lids
- Assorted containers like cookie tins
- Earthen containers (these dry out fast and need watering more frequently)
The basic steps are:
- If using earthen containers, pre-soak them to prevent quick drying out initially. They’ll need watering more frequently.
- Use folded paper towels to line the bottom of your containers. The thinner the layer, the more frequently they’ll need water. I aim for a thickness of about 1 cm, and need to water every 2 – 3 hours. This isn’t necessary. They’ll grow just as well without the towels.
- Wet the towels and drain off excess water.
- Sprinkle a seeds all across the surface of the towels. Close together is fine; don’t overdo it.
- Spray the seeds with a mist of water, or press them down a bit to moisten them.
- Leave them alone and water every couple of hours. I add a generous bit of water, swirl it around, then pour the excess into the next container and so on. During the first couple of days, you might want to take care not to pour out seeds with the water.
- The first 2 days might see a white, cottony fungus like growth. I ignore this for two reasons. One, it goes away in a day or two. Two, if it does stay, the greens are in any case snipped leaving behind a couple of centimetres of stalk, so it’ll be left behind.
- When your greens are a 2 – 4 inches tall, snip them and use in salads, garnishes etc. This may take between 5 to 10 days depending on the temperature, consistency of available moisture, etc.
- Replant the container immediately, so you’ll always have a ready supply of greens. I’ve purchased a 500gm pack of mustard seeds to ensure there’s always some to plant.
- The black seed husks are sometimes attached to the plant and do not wash away easily. These are okay to eat.
You can experiment with different seeds, keeping in mind they’re likely to behave differently. I’m currently working with mustard, millets and fenugreek (methi). My favourite is mustard, due to it’s flavour and quick growth. Do share your experiences.