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Sub.: Invitation of Research Papers for XLVI Indian Social Science Congress
1. Agriculture Science
19. Linguistics Research
Greetings to Indian Social Academy (ISSA) and Bharathidasan University (BDU)!
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Growing Microgreens at home
Microgreens grown on a kitchen
is the need to engage in a healthy lifestyle, which involves taking
care of our health with regular mindful swimming and maintaining a
healthy raw vegan diet.
Given the circumstances, with the arrival
of the spring, many are reviving the idea of “Victory Gardens” and are
investing in their home garden to grow their own fresh vegetables, while
re-discovering the beneficial de-stress effects of gardening. If you do
not have space for a garden, believe that you do not have a “green
thumb,” or are discouraged by your previous gardening experiences, do
not despair! Microgreens may provide you a new opportunity.
recommended amount of vegetables in a 2,000-calorie diet is 2½
cup-equivalents of vegetables per day. Vegetables are a rich source of
many nutrients that are critical for our health including; dietary
fiber, pro-vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin B6,
folate, thiamin, niacin, and choline, as well as essential minerals like
potassium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, and manganese.
are nutrient-dense tiny greens that may be grown in limited space, in a
relatively short time, even on a windowsill or in your kitchen. Given
their high nutritional value and the variety of species that you can
grow, microgreens have the potential to provide you with nutrient-dense
greens, and the de-stressing experience of working in your home garden.
of Microgreens to learn more about what microgreens are, how they are
used, the species that are suitable to grow as microgreens, and where to
The ABCs of Microgreens
young and tender edible greens produced by sprouting the seeds of a
variety of vegetable species and herbaceous plants, including aromatic
herbs and wild edible species.
on the species selected and the growing conditions microgreens can be
harvested from 7 to 21 days after germination, when the cotyledon leaves
have fully developed, and the first true leaves have emerged.
should not be confused with sprouts which are produced germinating
seeds that have been soaked in water, often in the dark, and for which
the edible portion is constituted by the whole sprout including the
seedling, the radicles, and often what remains of the seeds. In the case
of microgreens, the edible portion is constituted by single shoots with
the cotyledon leaves and/or the first true leaves which are harvested
cutting the young seedlings at the base right above the growing medium.
used by chefs of fine restaurants to garnish and sign their plates,
more recently microgreens have gained great popularity for their
nutritional properties gaining the appellative of ’superfood’.
Microgreens are in fact a great source of fibers, essential minerals,
vitamins, and antioxidant compounds. Microgreens are normally consumed
raw and can be used to prepare salads, appetizers, and sandwiches or to
accompany any meat or fish dish, and even as a topping for your pizza,
providing bright colors and intense taste to any dish.
their size and short growth cycle, microgreens can be grown in a tiny
space with very limited inputs, without the use of fertilizer or of any
spraying, and may be comfortably grown at home on a window ledge, on a
porch or balcony, and even on a shelf in the kitchen.
What species are suitable to grow as microgreens?
edible plant species can be used to produce microgreens. Among the
standard vegetable species, the most popular ones are those belonging to
the broccoli family (Brassicaceae) such as broccoli, radish,
cauliflower, arugula, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, mizuna, cress,
broccoli raab, etc. which are characterized by a very short growth cycle
(7–8 days maximum) and by the typical pungent taste of cole crops which
is primarily due to their content of glucosinolates, natural compounds
considered anti-cancer per excellence.
are produced also using the seeds of aromatic herbs such as basil,
cilantro, dill, chives, and cumin, or using the seeds of some wild
edible species such as borage (Borago officinalis L.), wild chicory
(Cichorium intybus L.), common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Weber),
sea asparagus (Salicornia patula Duval-Jouve), etc.
cases, mixes of different species are used with the purpose of obtaining
specific color or taste combinations. When mixes are used it is very
important to balance the seed density as well as to make sure that seeds
of different species or cultivars will germinate and grow at the same
All these species characterized by very different shape,
color, and taste are an expression of our rich agrobiodiversity and
largely vary for their content of minerals and phytonutrients. The
inclusion of a mix of these species in the diet in the form of
microgreens may provide a variety of colors and nutrients for a weekly
healthy diet as recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for
What species are not suitable to grow as microgreens?
common vegetable crops like tomato, pepper, eggplant, and potato are
not edible at the seedling stage and are not suitable to produce
microgreens because they contain alkaloids which at high levels are
toxic for humans. If using wild species, it is very important to
recognize the plants from which seeds are collected because many
spontaneous species contain toxic compounds while they may look like
edible plants. Therefore, if you are not a plant expert refrain from
using wild plants to produce microgreens. Also, you should exclude any
species for which you may have an allergic reaction.
Seed Source and Seed Density Calculation
are the basic ingredient for growing microgreens. The following
instructions will provide basic information on where to source seeds,
seed quality, and a step-by-step guide to calculate the amount of seeds
needed for a given growing area.
Where to source seeds for microgreens?
seed companies in the US have a specific seed catalog for microgreens.
It is enough to search online for “microgreens seeds” and you will find
multiple options. Most of the seed companies offer quick shipping
options and some of them sell also microgreens growing kits which
include seeds, growing trays, growing media, and the instructions to use
It is important to use seeds of high quality
characterized by good germinability, that have not been treated with
chemicals or coated in any way, and that are specifically marketed to
produce sprouts and microgreens which should guarantee that they have
been produced and processed following high food safety standards and
regulations to avoid any microbial contamination.
The best seed
companies will provide information on the quality of the seeds reporting
a lot number, the average number of seeds per pound, germinability,
date of germination test, and eventually some recommendations on the
optimal germination and growing conditions and an indication of the
number of days required from germination to harvest.
you have defined what microgreens species you would like to grow, it is
important to define the optimal seed density and calculate the amount
of seeds needed for a given growing area. To do this properly, you will
need a few basic information:
Area of your growing tray, container, or mat
Optimal seed density for the species selected
Average weight of your seeds
make calculating seed density for growing microgreens easy, we have
developed a Microgreens Seed Density Calculator . This is a very simple
Excel application tool that allows you to select the species you would
like to grow from a drop-down menu. The calculator will define the
optimal seed density for the species you selected based on our small
database, and after you enter information on the germinability of your
batch of seeds (optional), and on the size of your growing tray or
container (required) the calculator will define the suggested amount of
seeds needed for a single growing tray or container.
calculator offers the possibility to calculate the area for square,
rectangular, and circular planting containers or growing trays.
Calculations are based on the average seed weight measured for each
species in previous experiments. Average seed weight may change from
batch to batch for a given species however we assume that the variation
is relatively small within the same species.
If you prefer to do the calculations on your own here is a simple step-by-step guide for your calculations.
1. Measure the size of your growing trays/containers and calculate the growing area using the following formulas:
For growing trays or containers with a square or rectangular shape: Area of a rectangular container = Width × Length
Example: 5 in. × 6 in. = 30 sq. in.
For growing trays or containers with a circular shape: Area of a circular container = π × diameter2 ÷ 4
Example: 3.14 × 7 in. x 7 in. ÷ 4 = 38.5 sq. in.
Define the optimal seed density for your species (number of seeds per
square inch). Since seeds have different sizes the amount of seeds
required for a given planting area varies accordingly. Species that have
larger seeds like pea and sunflower produce larger shoots and should be
seeded at a lower density. Instead, species with smaller seeds like
broccoli and other brassicas develop relatively smaller shoots and
should be seeded more densely. As a general rule, the optimal seed
density ranges from 2 seeds per square inch for larger seeds up to 12
seeds per square inch for the smaller seeds (from 1 to 6 seeds per cm2
if you prefer the metric system).
Knowing the optimal number of
seeds per unit area, the total optimal number of seeds per tray is
calculated by multiplying the optimal number of seed per square inches
for the area of the planting tray. For example, assuming an optimal seed
density of 2 seeds per square inch, a planting tray of 30 sq. in. the
total number of seeds per tray needed is calculated as follows:
Total optimal n. of seed per tray = optimal seed density × area of the tray
Example: 2 seed/sq. in. × 30 sq. in. = 60 seeds
At this point is important to know and take into account the
germinability of your batch of seeds. The germinability is usually
expressed as the percentage of seeds that are viable and will germinate
and is an important seed quality parameter. If seeds are characterized
by a low germinability level, the total optimal number of seeds
calculated in the previous step should be adjusted considering the
actual seed germinability.
For example, assuming we want a final
density of 60 seeds per tray and the seeds have a germinability of 90%
the actual seed number we need will be calculated according to the
Adjusted total n. of seeds = Total optimal n. of seeds ÷ % of germinability
Example: 60 seeds ÷ 90 × 100 = 66.7
additional number of seeds will compensate for the number of seeds that
may not germinate thus assuring, in the end, you have the optimal shoot
4.Once you define the total number of seeds per tray,
instead of counting the seeds, by knowing the average seed weight it is
possible to determine the equivalent amount of seeds per tray by weight
or volume. Knowing the weight of 1,000 seeds or the average number of
seeds per pound (this information is generally provided by the seed
company) it is possible to calculate the average seed weight and then
the amount of seed per tray. For small trays, it is easier to use the
number of seed per gram.
Assuming we have pea seeds and each
pound contains on average 3,000 seeds, with a simple transformation we
can calculate the number of seeds per gram.
Example: 3,000 (seeds/lb) ÷ 453.592 (g/lb) = 6.6 seeds/g
this point knowing that we need 66.7 seeds per tray and each gram has
6.6 seeds it is possible to calculate the amount of seed per tray in
Example: 66.7 ÷ 6.6 = 10.1 g per tray
the volume of 10.1 g of seeds with measuring cups you could approximate
the amount of seed per tray using measuring cups.
Gioia, F. and Santamaria, P., 2015. Microgreens-Novel fresh and
functional food to explore all the value of biodiversity. Bari:
Di Gioia, F., Renna, M. and Santamaria, P., 2017.
Sprouts, microgreens and “baby leaf” vegetables. In Minimally Processed
Refrigerated Fruits and Vegetables (pp. 403-432). Springer, Boston, MA.
Gioia, F., Petropoulos, S.A., Ozores-Hampton, M., Morgan, K. and
Rosskopf, E.N., 2019. Zinc and Iron Agronomic Biofortification of
Brassicaceae Microgreens. Agronomy, 9(11), p.677.