I must confess I would never have thought to buy tiny sprouts to add to my salad if it wasn’t for my super nutritionally minded daughter. She got me hooked on microgreens. We were shopping at the Ocean Pines Farmers and Artisans Market on Saturday. That’s where we met Terry Jordan. She’s there every week with her tasty, fresh microgreens and beautiful, bouquet-ready cut flowers from her farm in Parsonsburg, Longridge Gardens.
I was interested. Is it difficult to grow microgreens? How is it done? What plants work best?
Terry is full of microgreen know-how. Sunflowers are the easiest to sprout. Arugula and cilantro are more difficult. Even though we think of them for summer recipes, they are not fond of heat. In fact, she says, they grow very well all winter in the passive-solar tunnels in her garden. Terry has two tunnels which raise that growing space from zone 7B to 8B: a 16 X 20 foot tunnel for microgreens and a 20 X 49 foot tunnel for flowers. The flower tunnel she calls “Margaritaville.” Like her tunnels, the other parts of her property have names. There’s the “Far Out” garden and the “Far Far Away” garden. These names make a lot of sense if you are a fan of Shrek.
Terry has been growing beautiful things for nineteen years on her five acre farm. She previously had a long career caring for the horses on the U.S. Equestrian Team. A crushed ankle put a halt to that career. Having to suddenly re-think what she would do, she turned to gardening. She knew from childhood she’d always had a green thumb. Before the Covid 19 pandemic, she was busy 24/7 growing microgreens for local restaurants. Needless to say that’s on hold this year.
The easiest way to get microgreens is to buy them from Terry at the market. But, if you’re a DIYer, they can be grown at home with a little know-how and the right amount of light. Terry sells packets of seeds. She also mentioned Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a reliable source for larger quantities.
The web is replete with step-by-step guides and YouTube videos on the subject. One good source is the Micro Gardener’s Easy guide to growing microgreens.
The other reason I visited Terry in Parsonsburg was to buy one of her beautiful bouquets and to take a stroll through her flower beds. The names of the flowers she uses twist on the tongue and enchant with their beauty and fragrance: ligularia, baptisia, crocosmia, peony, calla lily, allium, ranunculus and not to forget Gerber daisies. They bloom the longest into the early winter. Her skill in creating stunning arrangements shows why brides choose her for their special occasion.
It was a 95 degree day, but Terry was out weeding when I arrived. I said, what is the hardest part of your business? The heat, she answered.