Wheatgrass, a commonly known variety of microgreens, is recognized for its robust, grassy flavor and impressive nutritional profile.
It's the young, tender shoot of the wheat plant, harvested just as it reaches the jointing stage – when the plant transitions from a seedling to producing grain.
Packed with a spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals, wheatgrass is often considered a superfood. It's particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iron, magnesium, calcium, and amino acids. Wheatgrass is also known for its high chlorophyll content, which has been linked to several health benefits.
Wheatgrass stands out among other microgreens for its versatility.
While many microgreens are commonly used as garnish or mixed into salads, wheatgrass often finds its place in juices and smoothies due to its potent flavor and high nutrient content.
Its ability to be easily grown indoors is another trait that sets wheatgrass apart.
Wheatgrass grows well in trays, making it an ideal choice for indoor gardening, and it typically has a quick growth cycle, usually ready for harvest within 7-10 days.
Understanding these unique qualities of wheatgrass microgreens is crucial for anyone looking to integrate them into their diet or gardening routine.
Whether you're seeking a health boost or a fun, fulfilling indoor gardening project, growing wheatgrass from seed to harvest can be a rewarding endeavor.
How To Grow Wheatgrass Microgreens
Growing wheatgrass from seed to harvest requires only a few essential items:
Wheatgrass Seeds: Wheatgrass seeds are easily available in health food stores or online. Make sure the seeds are organic and free from any chemical treatments.
Growing Trays: You'll need shallow growing trays. If possible, use trays with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
Growing Medium: A good-quality organic potting soil or coconut coir provides a nutritious base for the wheatgrass to grow.
Spray Bottle: A spray bottle is essential for maintaining the right moisture levels during the germination process.
Light Source: While wheatgrass doesn’t require direct sunlight, it does need light. A sunny window or a grow light will work well.
Harvesting Tool: A pair of sharp scissors or a sharp knife will be needed to harvest the wheatgrass.
With these basics in mind, you are ready to start the exciting journey of growing your own wheatgrass from seed to harvest!
Step 1. Germinate The Seeds
Start by soaking your wheatgrass seeds in a jar with water for 24 hours.
This hydration process is essential for successful germination.
Once the 24 hours have passed, the seeds will be well-hydrated and ready to be planted.
Step 2. Prepare The Grow Tray
Wheatgrass grows well in soilless mediums, and coconut coir is an excellent choice.
It's pest-free and less messy compared to traditional soil.
Begin with two 10x20-inch growing trays: the bottom tray will be filled with water while the upper tray should contain drainage holes, enabling the water to reach the roots of the wheatgrass, thus preventing mold growth and facilitating the growing process.
Fill the upper tray with coconut coir, smooth the surface, and mist it thoroughly with a spray bottle to moisturize it.
If a spray bottle is not available, sprinkle water over the coconut coir until it's adequately moist.
Step 3. Plant The Seeds
Now it's time to distribute the hydrated seeds evenly over the prepared medium. Once the seeds are in place, mist them once more.
Instead of covering the seeds with soil, place another tray on top to create a dark and humid environment, essential for the next 2 or 3 days.
Position your tray in a location with a steady temperature, ideally between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, to encourage germination.
Continue to spray the seeds with water every 10-12 hours, approximately 15 sprays each time.
Step 4. Uncover And Give Light
After about three days, the wheatgrass seeds should have developed shoots.
At this point, remove the top tray and expose your wheatgrass to at least 12 hours of light daily, continuing to water them every other day with a spray bottle.
Step 5. Check Daily
For the remainder of the growth period, maintain a balanced watering routine.
Now, instead of using a spray bottle, fill the bottom tray with water to hydrate the microgreens, being careful not to overfill.
While you can still water from the top, try to avoid the leaves to reduce the risk of mold growth.
Common Challenges in Growing Wheatgrass Microgreens and How to Overcome Them
Just like any other plant, wheatgrass microgreens can face several challenges during the growth process.
Here are a few common issues you might encounter and the solutions to overcome them:
If you notice a low germination rate, your seeds may have not been soaked long enough or the environment might be too dry. Ensure that you soak the seeds for at least 24 hours before planting and maintain a humid environment for the first few days after planting.
This is a common issue in growing wheatgrass and can be caused by overwatering or poor ventilation. To prevent this, try watering less frequently, increasing air circulation around your growing tray, or even using a fan on low setting nearby.
If your wheatgrass shoots are not turning green as expected, they might be lacking sufficient light. Ensure your wheatgrass is receiving at least 12 hours of light daily.
Weak or Falling Shoots:
This could be a result of overcrowding. Make sure to spread the seeds evenly and not too densely when planting.
If your wheatgrass is growing slowly, it might be too cold. Wheatgrass grows best in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember, growing wheatgrass microgreens, like any other plant, requires patience and attention.
Even if you face challenges, don’t be discouraged. Keep trying, experimenting and learning.
Soon you'll be able to grow lush, vibrant wheatgrass microgreens at home!
How To Harvest Wheatgrass Microgreens
Once the wheatgrass reaches approximately six inches in height, it's ready to be harvested.
One of the remarkable characteristics of wheatgrass is its ability to regrow, allowing for two or three harvests from a single planting.
Unlike many other microgreens, this regrowth gives you more yield per seed. To harvest, simply use a pair of scissors and trim the top three inches of the wheatgrass.
And just like that, you've successfully grown wheatgrass microgreens – simple, isn't it?
Uses of Wheatgrass Microgreens
Wheatgrass is best consumed when it's juiced and can be mixed with a variety of other beverages.
An excellent addition to a smoothie, wheatgrass pairs well with frozen fruits to make a nutrient-packed breakfast or snack.
Apart from being consumed as a drink, fresh wheatgrass can also be used in salads and other dishes, imparting a unique, fresh flavor and increasing the nutritional profile of your meals.
Having just explored the fascinating world of growing wheatgrass microgreens, you might be wondering, 'What more can I learn and grow in the world of microgreens?'
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7 Wheatgrass Microgreens Recipe Ideas
Start your day with a refreshing and nutritious smoothie. Blend a handful of wheatgrass microgreens, a banana, some frozen berries, a spoonful of honey, and a cup of almond milk. This smoothie is packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
Wheatgrass microgreens are perfect for making fresh green juice. Simply juice the wheatgrass along with some fresh fruits like apples or pineapples for sweetness. Adding a touch of ginger can provide a refreshing zing.
Add a healthy twist to your regular pesto by incorporating wheatgrass. Blend wheatgrass, fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese to create a unique, nutritious sauce. This pesto is perfect with pasta, sandwiches, or as a flavorful topping for grilled vegetables.
Wheatgrass Salad Dressing:
For a light, tangy salad dressing, blend wheatgrass with olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. This simple dressing adds a fresh, earthy flavor to any salad.
Add a handful of wheatgrass microgreens to your favorite soup. They blend perfectly with vegetable or chicken broth-based soups, contributing a fresh, nutritious element.
Toss wheatgrass microgreens into a stir-fry at the last moment, allowing them to wilt slightly but still retain their vibrant green color. They complement stir-fried veggies, tofu, or chicken quite well.
For a fun and healthful twist, sprinkle a handful of wheatgrass microgreens over your tacos before serving. The wheatgrass adds a touch of freshness and an added nutritional boost.
Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating wheatgrass microgreens into your meals.
These microgreens not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of dishes but also significantly boost their nutritional value.
Experiment with these ideas and discover the versatility of this fantastic superfood!
5 Health Benefits of Wheatgrass Microgreens
Due to their nutritional content, they provide many antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular and cancer-preventing benefits.
Wheatgrass also offers a good amount of dietary fiber, which helps control body weight and regulate metabolism.
1. Kills Cancer Cells
Due to the high number of antioxidants found in wheatgrass, one study found that wheatgrass induced cell death in cancer cells and decreased the number of leukemia cells by up to 65%. (1)
2. Decreases Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar can cause many health problems, such as fatigue, and thirst, and can eventually lead to vision problems and other major health problems.
Luckily, wheatgrass was found in multiple studies to lower blood sugar. (2)
3. Prevent Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury and infection, but when the inflammation is prolonged it can cause chronic inflammation which has been connected to many diseases in the body.
Wheatgrass is rich in chlorophyll, which is a potent anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation in cells. (3)
4. Promote Weight Loss
Wheatgrass contains thylakoids which were found in one study to slow down the emptying of the stomach and release hormones that decrease hunger. (4)
5. Prevent Oxidative Stress And Cell Damage
Oxidative stress has been associated with many health problems and may even be the cause of disease in the body.
The only way to prevent oxidative stress is by eating antioxidant-rich foods such as wheatgrass and other leafy greens.
This will prevent oxidative stress from harming your cells and will ultimately prevent disease. (5)
Wheatgrass Microgreens Nutritional Chart
The nutrition in wheatgrass microgreens is amazing just like any other microgreens and includes the following:
Minerals per 100g of (FW)
Vitamins per 100g of (FW)
How long does it take for Wheatgrass microgreens to grow?
Wheatgrass typically takes around 7-10 days from seed to harvest, although this can vary slightly based on environmental conditions. Its fast-growing nature makes it an excellent choice for beginners or those looking for quick results.
How should I store my harvested microgreens?
Once harvested, wheatgrass can be stored in a refrigerator to maintain its freshness. Ensure it is thoroughly dried before storing, as excess moisture can lead to premature spoilage. For maximum longevity, store your wheatgrass in an airtight container or bag within the refrigerator.
Can I reuse my growing medium?
Coconut coir, the recommended growing medium for wheatgrass, can be composted and reused. However, it's important to ensure it is free from any disease or pests before reuse. Generally, for the healthiest plants and best results, a fresh growing medium is advised.
Final Thoughts on Growing Wheatgrass Microgreens
Growing your own wheatgrass microgreens is a rewarding and nutritious endeavor.
Not only do you get to watch the fascinating growth process, but you also reap the benefits of having a fresh supply of this superfood at your fingertips.
Whether you're new to the world of microgreens or an experienced grower looking to expand your selection, wheatgrass is an excellent choice due to its fast growth rate, easy care requirements, and multiple harvests.
Why not take the plunge and start your own indoor microgreen garden today?
You'll be amazed at the difference it can make in your meals and your health.
If you're interested in learning more about microgreens check out our comprehensive Microgreen eBook.
This step-by-step eBook will teach you everything you need to know about growing microgreens, including which varieties are easiest to grow and how to care for them.