Microgreens, as with many other plants, go through a life cycle in which they start as a seed and in the end will produce seeds of their own. Follow along as we learn about the smallest to the largest version of a kale plant.
Seeds are little storage house that contain the starting energy to sprout and take the plant through the first few stages of growth. Place kale seeds in a moist soil medium for 3-4 days and they will have transformed from seeds into sprouts. If you looks closely you can see the shell of the seed on the sprout.
Sprouts are the very first stage of a plant's growth. With just enough moisture and warmth the seed is transformed into a little sprout. The emerging cotyledon (first emerging leaves) leaves fully develop during this stage. This is the point in which some people enjoy eating them. Sprouting kits make short work of growing these satisfyingly savory sprouts. Although if you want a little more green with a longer stem, you may opt for microgreens.
This is the stage at which the plant start to develop their true leaf. This is also the point at which microgreens are typically harvested. At this stage, the plant has the very most nutrition densely packed into tiny plants. If you let them grow for even longer, they will turn into baby greens.
Baby (Leafy) Greens
During this stage, the plant continues to develop its' true leaves, by producing more of them and growing larger. If harvested at this stage you will still be eating a young and tender plant. The photo on the right shows this well, although they are on their way to full maturity.
This is this stage at which the plant is full and mature. This is the time you would want to harvest if you were looking to get the end product of the mature plant. For instance, once Kale start to get around the size in the photo on the right, you can start harvesting it. You can also wait until it is a bit larger so your plant will grow larger faster, then if you were constantly pruning it for salads. If you let this kale grow into the next year you may be lucky enough to see it flower.
At the end of a long season or when the sun gets to be too hot for the plants, the plants in your garden may start to flower. This is not the end of the world. It can actually be good if you think about the pollinators it will attract. If you let it go long enough, the flowers will eventually turn to seed and the process can start again. Did you know that Kale will not flower for the first year it is planted. It will only flower and then turn to seed after being on its' second year.