Microgreens: How To Grow Nature’s Own Superfood, by Fionna Hill
When you strip away the hype of a book like this, there is still something worthwhile to enjoy, and that’s what makes a book like this enjoyable even if the author is trying desperately hard to make it seem like microgreens are a superfood that can make your skin look better and stop cancer and so on and so forth. Again, when reading a book like this one has to assume that the author is going to promote something beyond what is reasonable, leaving the reader to judge for oneself whether or not there is genuine insight and worth to be found. In this case, there is, although it is not precisely what one would expect to find. As someone who has enjoyed sprouts as well as baby greens, I find that microgreens tend to inhabit a space in between the two, and so they have already placed themselves in a space that I am likely to enjoy, and that is a way to enjoy eating plants, something that I find worthwhile with some tasty balsamic vinaigrette to go along with them. If you have the same interest I do in eating tasty greens, then this book will be enjoyable enough even if you do not happen to believe the hype train that the author has hopped on.
This book is a bit more than 100 pages long and is filled with lots of photos and humorous quotes and even some materials I was not personally expecting. The book begins with an introduction of microgreens as being houseplants that one can eat and grow in very confined space (1). After that comes a discussion on how to grow microgreens, from seeds to containers to soil/growing media, to covering, watering, plant care, and harvesting and storing (2). After that comes a short discussion on how to solve plant problems (3) and encourage nutrition (4). About a third of the book’s contents are then filled with a detailed discussion on how to crow individual crops, organized alphabetically from amaranth to wheatgrass, including notes on its flavor and how to harvest the greens in an appetizing fashion (5). After that the author talks about children growing microgreens because of the speed and ease of it (6), along with some recipes that I could take or leave that feature various microgreens in them, some of which look tasty (7). The book then ends with resources, acknowledgements, photo credits, a glossary, weights and measures, an index, and some information about the author.
What is the takeaway from this book? It does appear as if for some people growing microgreens could allow for profit given the vastly shorter time that it takes microgreens to become viable, although as a tradeoff for the greater speed of growing and harvesting one has to spend more money on seeds. For others, microgreens can offer tasty and nutricious ways of eating greens that one can grow even if one has very little space to work with, which makes them particularly worthwhile for urban gardeners, whether one does it on one’s balcony or rooftop or something of that nature. It appears that microgreens have a following among hipster types who like to use them in exotic dishes as a way of showing their hipster cred, something that does not matter to me as much as the fact that they are able to be grown quickly in confined spaces. Additionally, I was intrigued about the way that the author (and not only her, it seems) view microgreens as a way of turning kids on to gardening because of the more instant gratification one enjoys from them as opposed to the rather long time it takes for most plants to grow to maturity. If you like greens and want them in a hurry, this is something worth checking out.