It was an absolute joy to have Laurel Ryce as our featured guest for Mom’s Night Out this December. Laurel is a wife, former homeschool mom (her two beautiful daughters are now grown), and a pharmacist with over 30 years of experience. However, her true passion is holistic wellness. With her extensive knowledge of body systems and the side effects that prescription medications can have on those systems, Laurel is now devoting her attention to helping her clients function at an optimal level of health. You can follow her @farmasis_laurel on Instagram, or find her on her website, Laurels Lifestyle.
Many people find healthy living to be a daunting task, but Laurel is dedicated to showing her clients how manageable and accessible it can be. Laurel enjoys cooking, countertop gardening, and foraging. She believes that while much of our longevity may be determined by genetics, it is our lifestyle that ultimately determines the quality and quantity of our lifespan. Laurel showed us how we can eat farm to table daily (with no dirt in your shoes or under your fingernails!), even with a hectic schedule. She is truly a health coach super mom!
Today, Laurel introduced us to the wonderful world of microgreens!
What Are Microgreens?
If you’re familiar with the “Chia Pet,” then you have seen microgreens! Microgreens are often confused with sprouts. However, there are some key differences between the two.
Most of us have eaten alfalfa sprouts or bean sprouts, which are common ingredients in salads, sandwiches, and stir fries. Sprouts are the infant stage of a plant and made up primarily of root. They grow quickly, are ready to eat between 2-7 days, and can be grown without soil or sunlight. When we eat sprouts, we are eating the entire plant.
Microgreens come from the next growth stage of the plant. At this stage, the stalk pushes out of the soil and the first set of leaves emerge. Microgreens are harvested at about 1-3 inches, prior to the next set of leaves – the “true leaves” – appearing. Only the top part of the plant is eaten, and greens are clipped about ½” above the root. Depending on seed type and their growing environment (seed quality, light, humidity, soil conditions), microgreens are ready to harvest in about 21 days.
The Benefits of Microgreens
Microgreens are ready to eat right from the garden – no cooking required! They can be grown from a variety of seeds, such as broccoli, spinach, arugula, herbs, onions, garlic, most peas and beans. Microgreens are as flavorful as the full plant, so sprinkling microgreens on top of meals will add a delicious boost of flavor. They are nutrient dense, containing all the nourishment required for a seed to grow into a healthy plant. Therefore, adding microgreens to your food is a simple, inexpensive way to increase its nutritional value. They range widely in color, including greens, reds, purples, and golds, and their delicate leaves come in a variety of shapes. Adding them to dishes can transform the simplest dish into something elegant and beautiful.
Growing Your Own Microgreens
Microgreens are easy to grow! Soil (or another growing medium – Laurel uses “coconut coir,” which can be found on Amazon or any home improvement store), a container (Laurel demonstrated how she grew microgreens in an old plastic strawberry container), water, and a damp dark towel are the only materials you need to start growing your greens. Laurel sticks with organic seeds and soils to ensure they are free of anything harmful. Providing some resistance to the seedlings (Laurel covers hers with a weighted material to mimic soil pressure) will also encourage sturdiness in your baby plants. Laurel has put together microgreen gardening kits to help people get started (connect with her @farmasis_laurel or Laurels Lifestyle to purchase one) and has a selection of organic seeds and beans available for purchase and subscription as well. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and seeing others grow their gardening skills.
The Perfect Homeschool Project
Growing microgreens is a terrific project to add to your homeschool curriculum! Kids of all ages can get involved in microgreen gardening. And chances are, you probably already have most (or all) of the supplies necessary to begin growing a small microgreen garden lying around your house. Kids can get creative with their pots by recycling or repurposing old containers and packaging. Microgreens don’t need a lot of space, so you don’t need to have a yard. Plus, kids can keep their garden in their room. They will love watching the miracle of life unfolding as their seeds push to the surface and transform before their eyes.
Reasons to Try Microgreen Gardening
Homeschool families benefit from microgreen gardening in so many ways:
- Microgreens pack a ton of nutrition (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber) in small amounts, and it will be easier to incorporate a wider variety of foods in your family’s diet.
- Microgreens are easy to grow, require very little space, and are economical.
- Since they are grown in your house, there’s no need to worry about bugs or animals eating your food (or your dog digging up your garden bed).
- Growing your own food means less food waste, less packaging, less impact on the environment, and less worry about where and how your food is grown.
- Microgreens can be harvested as you need them. They are continuously on hand and require no preparation – saving you time!
- Simple meals – such as rice and beans, salads, stir fries, and open-faced sandwiches – can be quickly pulled together and instantly transformed into fancy, gourmet meals with microgreens.
- Microgreen gardens can be included in your homeschool curriculum to make lessons more relevant and engaging – think science lessons, home economics, entrepreneurship (starting a microgreens business!), and health projects. Get creative!
- Picky eaters are more likely to try new things when they’ve had a hand in creating them – your kids will happily eat their veggies!
- Gardening is a great way for busy families to connect, relax, and enjoy the fruits of their collective labor.
Epic HSN has a lovely giveaway for members this month – one of Laurel’s microgreens gardening kits! Be sure to share your progress with her by posting photos and tagging @farmasis_laurel.
If you’re not already a member of Epic HSN, please join! Mom’s Night Out is just one of the many benefits of membership. Meetups, field trips, discounts, and access to exclusive webinars, materials, and giveaways are just some of the things you’ll enjoy. Best of all, you’ll get to be a part of an active, caring community of homeschool moms. Visit our membership center for more details.