Grow your own greens in a week!

I recently saw that a friend was looking for plants for a resiliency garden that she wanted to grow with her children. I think that anyone with an inclination towards growing things in the Northern Hemisphere is feeling the need to plant seeds right now (or plant seedlings in the warmer climates), we are all mostly at home day after day and we are watching spring unfold around us. With the uncertainty of these times, it is quite comforting to know that a tiny seed can bring forth life sustaining food and most folks are finding that they will have the time and attention-span to keep those plants alive in the weeks and months to come.

I am in the midst of starting thousands of seeds for our new roadside farmstand, and part of that preparation included sorting through old seed packets and baggies of seeds I’ve saved over the past few years. I bought all new seeds for the season, but many of the old seeds are still viable because they have been sealed up and stored in the refrigerator.  Luckily my new seeds arrived months ago, way before the pandemic seed packet panic buying began – I went to order our corn seeds yesterday and found that both of my go-to companies had shut down orders, so that they could catch up!  I had planned on picking those up at the Fedco Tree sale in May, which of course has been cancelled.

These days we are desperately trying to avoid going to the grocery store. We are well stocked on frozen meat from local farms, beans and grains, snacks and cans of things, but what we keep running out of is fresh fruit and vegetables, which is ironic since that is what we plan to produce in large quantities very soon! We lost most of our snowpack just this week, and are expecting 9 inches of snow tomorrow, so we are quite a ways off from producing anything edible in the veggie patch.  We have a high tunnel that was on our property when we bought it, but I am just learning how to manage extending the season and did not have the capacity last summer/fall to really get things set up and growing the way that I would have liked. With all the potting soil, seed flats and seeds we have it really seemed like we could be at least supporting our fresh greens habit sooner rather than later.

I took another look at my old seeds and found a bag of sunflower seeds that I harvested off of a mammoth sunny just before the squirrels got to it a couple of summers ago. Also in my stash is a big bag of field peas to use for cover crops here and there as needed. I have grown both of these on my kitchen table in seed flats and even baking dishes before, but hadn’t done so in years. So I planted a few flats, watered and only had to wait a week, we had sunflower shoots with our lunch and dinner and the pea shoots are only a day or so away. I’d say that is the quickest and tastiest show of resiliency gardening that I can think of!

What you need to grow your own greens:

  • Growing medium – like a seed starting mix, but these seeds aren’t fussy and you will be harvesting before they run out of their own nutrients
  • Seeds – Sunflower and Peas (I bought field peas in the cover crop section of my local Farmers Union)
  • Containers – seed starting flats or shallow baking dishes (if your container doesn’t have drainage, just let the medium dry out between watering)

The kids had fun harvesting, and seemed to enjoy eating them for a minuter or so, then they turned on me and wouldn’t eat any more of them. For dinner we had:

Nori rolls! Including breakfast sausage for part of the filling, because in a pandemic you just work with what you have.

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