Microgreens: A Solution to the Supermarket Vegetable Shortage Crisis

In recent months, many consumers have noticed a shortage of fresh vegetables in their local supermarkets. From lettuce and tomatoes to carrots and broccoli, it seems like no vegetable is immune to this problem. While there are a variety of reasons for this shortage, including supply chain issues and extreme weather conditions, it has left many people searching for alternative sources of fresh produce.

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One such alternative is microgreens, a term used to describe young vegetable and herb seedlings that are harvested when they are just a few inches tall. Despite their small size, microgreens pack a powerful nutritional punch and can be grown year-round in small spaces, making them a promising solution to the current vegetable shortage crisis.


As urban farmer and microgreens expert, Robyn Jasko, explains:


“Microgreens are like the superfood version of vegetables. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, and because they’re harvested so young, they’re incredibly tender and flavourful. Plus, they can be grown in small spaces, making them a great option for anyone who wants to grow their own fresh produce but doesn’t have a lot of outdoor space.”


What are microgreens?

If you’re new to the world of microgreens, you may be wondering exactly what they are and how they differ from other types of young vegetables. 


Here’s a breakdown:


Definition: Microgreens are young vegetable and herb seedlings that are harvested when they are just a few inches tall. They are typically grown in soil or a soil substitute, and are harvested after they have developed their first true leaves (usually around 7-14 days after planting).


Differences from sprouts and baby greens: While microgreens are similar in some ways to sprouts and baby greens, there are some key differences. Sprouts are typically grown in water and harvested within just a few days, before they have developed any true leaves. Baby greens, on the other hand, are harvested a few weeks after planting, once they have developed more substantial leaves.


Types of microgreens: There are many different types of microgreens, each with their own unique flavour and nutritional profile. Some popular varieties include arugula, pea, broccoli, cabbage, cilantro, kale, radish, and sunflower.


Nutritional benefits: Despite their small size, microgreens are packed with nutrients, including vitamins C, E, and K, as well as minerals like iron and calcium. According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, some microgreens can contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts. As registered dietitian nutritionist, Sharon Palmer, RD, explains:


“Microgreens are a concentrated source of nutrients, making them a great addition to any diet. They’re also incredibly versatile – you can use them in salads, smoothies, sandwiches, and more – which makes them a great way to add variety to your meals.”


How microgreens can help with the vegetable shortage crisis?

Given the current shortage of fresh vegetables in supermarkets, it’s worth considering how microgreens can help to fill the gap.

Here are a few reasons why microgreens are a promising solution:


Year-round growth: One of the biggest advantages of microgreens is that they can be grown year-round, indoors or outdoors, in small spaces like a windowsill or countertop. This means that even if traditional vegetables are in short supply due to seasonal changes or supply chain issues, microgreens can still be a reliable source of fresh produce.


Faster growth and higher yields: Unlike traditional vegetables, which can take weeks or months to grow to maturity, microgreens can be harvested in as little as 7-14 days after planting. Additionally, because they are grown densely and harvested at a young age, microgreens can provide a much higher yield per square foot of growing space compared to traditional vegetables.


Complementary flavours and nutrients: Microgreens can also be a great addition to meals featuring traditional vegetables. Their unique flavours and textures can add variety and interest to dishes like salads, sandwiches, and soups. Plus, because they are so nutrient-dense, adding a handful of microgreens to a dish can boost its nutritional profile significantly.

In our opinion microgreens are a great way to supplement your diet with fresh produce, especially if you’re struggling to find traditional vegetables at your local supermarket. And because they grow so quickly and in such a small space, they’re a great option for anyone who wants to grow their own food but doesn’t have a lot of time or outdoor space.


How to grow microgreens at home?

If you’re interested in growing your own microgreens at home, it’s surprisingly easy to get started. 

Here’s what you’ll need:


Equipment and materials: To grow microgreens, you’ll need a few basic supplies, including a shallow container or tray, a growing medium (like potting soil or coconut coir), and seeds for your chosen variety of microgreens. You’ll also need a spray bottle for watering, a source of light (like a windowsill or grow light), and a pair of scissors or a sharp knife for harvesting.


Step-by-step instructions: To grow microgreens, begin by filling your container with your chosen growing medium, and then sprinkle your seeds evenly over the surface. Cover the seeds lightly with a thin layer of growing medium, and then mist the surface with water using your spray bottle. Place the container in a warm, sunny spot, and water it regularly to keep the growing medium moist. In about a week, you should start to see sprouts emerging from the soil. Once the sprouts have developed their first true leaves, they’re ready to be harvested with a pair of scissors. Rinse them under cold water, pat them dry, and then use them in your favourite recipes. Each microgreens variety will require slightly different way of growing for the best results. 


Tips for harvesting and using: When it comes to harvesting your microgreens, it’s best to do so when they’re young and tender, before they become too woody or fibrous. Use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to snip off the tops of the plants, leaving the roots intact in the growing medium. Rinse the microgreens under cold water, and then pat them dry with a paper towel. From there, you can use them in a variety of dishes, from salads and sandwiches to smoothies and soups. Just remember that because they’re so delicate, it’s best to add them to your dishes at the last minute, to preserve their flavour and texture.

Growing microgreens at home is a great way to get fresh, nutrient-dense produce on your plate, without having to rely on the supermarket. And because they’re so easy to grow, even in small spaces, anyone can do it.



In conclusion, microgreens are a promising solution to the current vegetable shortage crisis in supermarkets. With their year-round growth, fast growth and high yield, and unique flavour and nutrient profile, microgreens are a great way to supplement your diet with fresh produce. And with their ease of growing at home, they’re accessible to anyone, regardless of space or time constraints.

Microgreens are a win-win for anyone looking to address the current vegetable shortage crisis. They’re a reliable source of fresh produce, they’re easy and fun to grow at home, and they add a delicious and nutritious pop of flavour to your meals. So why not give them a try?

So whether you’re an experienced gardener or a total beginner, we encourage you to explore the world of microgreens and discover all the delicious and healthy possibilities they have to offer.

2 thoughts on “Microgreens: A Solution to the Supermarket Vegetable Shortage Crisis”

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