Hi friends! It’s Lauren here, with your Farm to School topic for January.
You must know I love riddles by now, so here’s your next one:
What do they do by day? They creep and crawl and work away. What do they do by night? Under the moon they dance and sway. Then – QUICK – underground before the light of day… Who are they?
If you guessed WORMS… you got it!
As we settle into winter, it may look like there is not much happening on the earth around us. There may be a layer of snow, and all of the plants seem to be at rest until they can come back up in the spring. However, the soil beneath our feet is quietly alive with invisible helpers. Earthworms are huddled very deep beneath the frost having tunneled almost 6 feet under. Why don’t they freeze? They are enfolded in a protective outer gooey layer and a leafy debris blanket of protection until they begin farming the soil again next spring. Worms are a very important part of the soil regeneration process and we like to call them Soil Heroes!
Red Wigglers are a type of earthworm that can live indoors. They can help us become soil heroes throughout Vermont’s winter if we care for a worm farm, where they make vermi-compost (worm poop!). All we need to give them is some healthy soil, food scraps, and leaf litter. When the worms eat food and plant waste, they break it down into super nutritious worm compost. We can then add this to our soil, reminding us that Healthy Worms = Healthy Soil = Healthy Humans.
We can then use this healthy soil to grow microgreens at home or in the classroom. Microgreens are the sprouts from vegetable and some flower seeds that are harvested before they have matured into a fully grown plant. When veggies are sprouted and eaten as a microgreen they can give your body up to 40X more nutrients than eating the whole plant! Check out the steps below to grow your own microgreens and join us on the team of Soil Heroes.
Growing Microgreens at Home
Follow these simple steps to grow some microgreens at home. Want to create a fun and rewarding project with your family? Donate your ready-to-harvest microgreens to your local food shelf to share that nutrient boost with others in need.
Materials needed: A cup or tray • Organic soil • Seeds (broccoli, peas, sunflower, mixed greens, etc.) • Small bowl with water • Fine mesh strainer • Towel or lid • Spray bottle
- Soak your seeds in a bowl of water overnight – this will speed up the germination process.
- The next day, drain water from the seeds using a fine mesh strainer.
- Spread a halfinch of very moist soil in your tray. Then take your seeds and evenly sprinkle across the soil.
- Gently press the seeds into the soil using a flat hand, making sure not to press too deep, leaving seeds on the soil surface.
- Cover your tray with a towel or other lid to block out the light for a day or two.
- Peek at your seeds each day to look for a white root tip that will start to poke out of the shell. Once this happens, remove the covering and bring them out into the daylight by placing on a sunny windowsill or a well lit room.
- Check back each day to watch them grow, misting with water to keep the soil damp.
- Harvest the sprouts when they are a few inches tall.
Lemon Maple Vinaigrette
You can also try out this delicious, tangy Lemon Maple Vinaigrette to drizzle over your microgreens, on a salad, or over a bowl of grains like rice or quinoa.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- Pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a jar, cap tightly with a lid, and shake well to combine.
Thanks for following along friends! Enjoy that nutrient boost from your microgreens and don’t forget that we can all be Soil Heroes. See you next month!
Red Wigglers Image: https://bigredworms.com/product/red-wiggler-worms/