Sprouting, Micro-greens, and Zone Changes

Reading fellow bloggers I heard about a new USDA hardiness zone map.  What is a hardiness map?  Hardiness zones are one of the keys to knowing what plants will be successful or not in your area.  Basically, the map tracks how cold it gets in your area.  In my zone (5b) we can get as cold as -15 to -10 degrees, so in combination with when the temperatures arrive it determines what you and I can grow.  So when you look at seed catalogs and want to buy plants often the seed companies will tell you in what zones plants will thrive.

With the new map my zone has not changed, but many others have.  I wanted to share this, and encourage you to share this with others.  Go to the USDA website to check out what your hardiness zone is, and if it changed.

The NY State Hardiness Zone Map. Steuben County Still Located In 5b.

On Saturday I attended the first part of the Steuben County Cooperative Extension’s 2012 Sustainability Workshop.  The morning session was about starting backyard poultry.  I have been thinking about adding a few chickens, but do not have experience with poultry.  Learning the basics was very helpful, and learning from experienced people’s mistakes was a big help too.  A local farmer also talked about heritage breed chickens, which was really interesting.  Maybe in the next couple of years I will add chickens to the Cohocton River Rock Micro Farm.

The afternoon session was about heirloom seeds, sprouting, and micro-greens.  I remember sprouts being a popular fad sometime in the 80’s and I thought they were okay, but I think there was always some waste because the were so many in one box. I only remember buying thin in a box.  This session I was able to learn how to grow sprouts at home.

The Sprout Seeds In The Jar

I put about 1/2 a tablespoon into the jar and covered them with water overnight. In the morning drain them and rinse with lukewarm water. Place them in a dark place and lay the jar on its side.

The jar on its side

You rinse at least twice a day.  Keep them in the dark until they are 1 1/2 inches long.

I am keeping my sprouts in the dark under a towel on the kitchen counter

Then give them some sun to green up.  Keep rinsing them at least twice a day. When they are ready to eat I will put them into the refrigerator for up to a week. Food safety is very important, so rinsing is very important.  We use cheese cloth to cover the jar lid so you can rinse and drain the seeds easily.  I am growing Red Russian Kale and Fenugreek.  I am looking forward to a healthy, fresh, and green snack this winter.

The Cheesecloth Keeping The Sprouts In the Jar

We also got the opportunity to plant some Micro-greens.  Micro-greens are basically sprouts that are grown in the soil.  I started them on Saturday and hope to eat them soon.

The Micro-greens Well Watered And In The Sun

Sprouts and Micro-greens are very nutritious and can add a lot of fresh garden flavor to your Winter eating.  If you try to grow these make sure your buy from a seed company that tests their seeds for salmonella and other food borne diseases.

If you live in our area I encourage you to check out the other Sustainability Workshops the Steuben Cooperative Extension is offering, you will find me there.  Click here to learn more.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.


11 thoughts on “Sprouting, Micro-greens, and Zone Changes

    1. I think hardiness zones and frost free & first frost date go hand in hand. Hardiness zones are important to me because I grow strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a variety of herbs. I also overwinter garlic so I need to know the varieties that will handle 5b. My primary vegetable seed source is also my primary for fruits and garlic, so those hardiness zones are important to a garden. David I hope that answers why all those dates are important for me.

  1. I, too, would love to add a chicken or two, but I’m too chicken! 😉 It’s scary to think of doing something new, and a chicken is scarier than a plant because I’ve killed a lot of plants, so I’m used to that. But I would feel bad if a chicken suffered. Your workshop sounds like it was interesting and useful.

    1. Hi Holley. I feel much the same way, I do not want to hurt a poor chicken as I learn. I would recommend contacting your local Cooperative Extension office when you want to try chickens. They would give you some great information and help make sure no chickens are harmed :).

  2. What an interesting workshop, and thanks for the link and tips, especially about seed companies. I read a few blogs by people who raise chickens, which I find really interesting. Don’t know if i could ever do it, but I’d love to know someone who did. My zone didn’t change, btw.

    1. I find it interesting to see what zones changed and what zones did not change. I may be closer to the next zone now. I have been cautious about chickens. Trying to learn as much as I can before I start.

    1. I learned that there are lots of different breeds of chickens. Maybe you just need to find the right bred, and no roosters. A complete zone change is very interesting. I think we have more data every year, but that is a big change. I only heard about the new map by chance, that is why I wanted to pass it along.

  3. Just wanted to let you know that I left you a Versatile Blogger Award too! I enjoy reading your blog and I’m looking forward to seeing how your crops to this year. 🙂

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