I have been tardy in updating on the success of the Sproutapouch, hence the poor photograph for which I apologise.
As you can see the seeds have really sprouted. In fact I think it was day 5 that I came home to discover a bag of green leaves. They are a little leggy now and have probably got too tall.
The seeds I chose were Rocket and the idea behind microleaves is that the flavour is intensified in the small seed leaves however I have to beg to differ in this case. I have found these leaves quite bland compared to the rocket I would grow in the garden, although I don’t know exactly what that the seed was compared to what I grow in the garden.
My other criticism of this form of salad leaf growing is that unlike cut and come again salad leaves once the micro leaves have been picked that’s it. If you remove the seed leaves then the plant has no way of producing more leaves. The cost of this packet is high, in my opinion, compared to the cost of a bag of salad leaves which is greater in volume.
I know I could just buy a packet of seeds and get lots of micro leaves but I have to confess that they aren’t my preference but it has been an interesting experiment.
I suspect I am suffering from a need to get outside and start gardening as I have started to be very interested in kits for growing salad leaves inside. Now I don’t tend to eat salad all year round as I associate salads with warm weather but I do like a bit of greenery in my work lunch sandwiches and buy the odd bag of salad leaves. I also suspect that the chatter on twitter and some gardening blogs about salad leaves has penetrated my consciousness and made me start considering growing some leaves. I blame Michelle over at VegPlotting who has issued a challenge for bloggers to try to grow salads for 52 weeks of the year. At the moment many of them seem to be into sprouting beans/seeds but I have tried these before when they came in my veg box and I just can’t eat them.
Anyway I was wandering around Wilkinsons yesterday looking for a gardening fix when I came across these packets to grow micro-leaves. There are different flavours, so to speak, I choose one with lots of Rocket but you could also choose from Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Mustard or Cress. Oh and I accidentally also bought a Red Gooseberry Bush and a Fig Tree – oops.
Anyway back to the Sproutapouch. It contains a disc of Maxicoir Gold (so no peat which is good). You place the disc, about the size of an ice hockey puck, into the supplied pouch and add a certain amount of water. It was quite amazing how quickly the disc expanded and filled the bag. You shuffle it around a bit to make sure it is all wet (not completed in the above photo) and having firmed the soil you sow your seeds. Seal up the bag and place it on a light windowsill. It even comes with a special hook so you can hang it on the window – though I don’t know why I would want to do that. Then you wait and within 6-10 days you will have a crop of microleaves to sprinkle on your sandwiches, soup etc.
Now whilst I’m not trying to be cynical I have to agree with Michelle’s latest post about microgreens and the kits that are available in the shops. I can’t remember exactly how much mine cost but it was somewhere between £1 and £2, the same as a bag of salad leaves and I suspect the crop I get will not do anywhere near as many sandwiches as a bag of leaves. The whole point of Michelle’s challenge is to save money by growing your own and not buying bags of salad. As she rightly points out a packet of seeds, of a similar price to a bag of leaves, contains hundreds of seeds and you can sow them week after week you just need a little compost and a small container.
However, I do like to try these quirkier approaches and for a couple of pounds it is an amusement on a grey day though to be honest I really do prefer to eat salad leaves that have grown in the open ground and have had the sun on them, they just taste wonderful.