Eat what you can grow: Microgreenfarming now catching up in Bengaluru.

Jul 31,2023

Times of India, Bengaluru News, Updated: Jul 23, 2023, 10:13 IST  

BENGALURU: Trapped in the concrete jungle, many Bengalureans are turning to microgreen farming to grow their own food by soaking in the joys of sowing seeds, watering plants and harvesting.

Dr. Renuka Verma from Hebbal says nothing gives her more delight than looking at sprouts popping out of green moong and methi seeds. The 48-year-old dentist took to farming before the Covid-19 pandemic and uses her homegrown microgreens for salads and in baking.

Simran Oberoi from Old Airport Road grows mustard and radish microgreens and mainly uses them in salads, dressings, spreads and dips. "I've tried growing a very small quantity of sunflower and basil," she says.
Tending to baby plants that do not require soil and can be grown in wet tissue papers is the perfect stress buster for many.

Anamika Bist, 50, an NIFT graduate who worked in the retail sector for 21 years, ran a community and microgreen farm at Sampigehalli for five years. "I used to grow more than 15 varieties of microgreens. Hardly anyone knew about these baby greens when I started growing them. People used to get confused with sprouts and microgreens. started giving free workshops during the pandemic and even launched DIY (do it yourself) kits for people to grow them at home to boost immunity," she says.

Anamika, who shut down her farm during the second wave of Covid, still grows microgreens for her family in her kitchen garden. "I grow radish, peas and sunflower... time favourite. I use my microgreens for salads, sandwiches, pesto and for garnishing. My family and friends are addicted after seeing the benefits. Also, different colours of microgreens make the food visually appealing."

Microgreens can be grown even in an office cubicle. Some like moong can be harvested in a week. Studies have also found that microgreens have 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts.

"Keep the seeds in the dark until they germinate and then expose them to sunlight. If you've grown sprouts, you already know how to germinate. Just do the same thing in a tray with cocopeat, soil mix or even tissue paper, and water them," explains Vinod Chakravarti, an urban farmer who has helped over 5,000 households in growing microgreens. "It's not mandatory for you to use any additional manure...The seeds have enough nutrition to grow till the microgreen stage," adds Chakravarti, who was vice-president of a large mutual fund firm, heading operations and sales in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Microgreen farming can be a beautiful family-bonding activity, says Nidhi Nahata, nutritionist and founder of Justbe a whole foods, plant-based vegan eatery based in Bengaluru. "You can use them in salads, smoothies and cold-pressed juices. We have started putting microgreens in desserts too," says Nahata.