Indoor Gardening by Young Urban Farmers

Yesterday I visited Marni Wasserman’s Food Studio and Lifestyle shop yet again for a free lecture on how to grow sprouts, microgreens, mushrooms and other household plants and herbs indoors in the winter months.

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The speaker’s name was Alex Huntly, a sales representative from Young Urban Farmers. He was extremely knowledgable. He began by talking about the best practices for sprouting in your own house. Alex spoke about how he uses Mum’s sprouts, cheese cloth and a mason jar. One of the tips that I learned from this workshop is that Mum’s sprouts have a shelf life of approximately 2 months. I also learned that Mum’s sprouting seeds are better than using any seeds because they are specially cleaned so that there is less of a chance of mold and other bacteria growth. Sprouts do best in dark, humid, but not wet places. Using filtered water that is at room temperature or luke warm is best. I often experience arugula sprouts as slimy when I have tried to sprout them. I was assured that this was normal, and that arugula may do better sprinkled in soil and grown as a microgreen instead.
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I learned that microgreens are different from sprouts in that they are grown in soil and under lots of light, until the first set of true leaves appear. They are said to have more nutrients than plants and sprouts. It is very difficult to grow these in our houses in the winter unless you have near perfect conditions (a moist, humid environment, with lots of sunlight for approximately 18 hours of the day, and a fan to circulate the air and decrease the chance of mold growth. The Urban Cultivator, which Marni has in her food studio and that is sold by Young Urban Farmers allows you to grow the freshest and highest quality herbs and microgreens, with no pesticides or added chemicals to the soil. These hydroponic systems have a starting price of $2000. We were given a taste of some the microgreens cultivated from this device and the taste of the pea shoots and sunflower shoots were amazingly sweet!!

Things that I learned can grow indoors under a sunny window are…
1. Lemon grass
2. Stevia
3. Bay Laurel (creates flavourful dishes)
4. Peppermint
5. Lettuce/Arugula (need more moisture/water- stress can affect flavour)
6. Herbs (should be kept more dry- they thrive in more stressful states)
7. Aloe – cleans the air

Using a SIP (Self Irrigating Planter) can help to create the perfect water conditions of the plant (also sold by Young Urban Planters online).
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Some food Scraps can be turned into raw food by putting the bottom inch of the plant stem in water, sprouting and replanting in a sunny window sill. These include…
1. Onion family (leeks, green onions)
2. Lemon Balm
3. Mint
4. Celery
5. Bok Choy and other cabbages
6. Romain lettuce

I just finished my kale this morning and I am going to put the stem in water. I’ll let you know what happens!! What a worthwhile workshop. While I was there, I also picked up some Sunwarrior Supergreens powder to have before breakfast in the mornings. Marni Swears by this stuff. It tastes great as well!!

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