How to Orach Microgreens Indoors
Tasty and nutritious, orach microgreens are very easy to grow, and they an be grown at any time of the year, even indoors in the winter! Orach microgreens refer to the small edible leaves of very young garden orach (Atriplex hortensis), harvested and eaten before they grow past the first seedling stage. You don't need much for growing orach microgreens: just some high quality seeds (Magenta Magic and Fire Red varieties are great if you are new to indoor gardening), a shallow container, fine potting soil, water, and sunlight. The attractive young orach seedlings are delicious in all kinds of salads that can benefit from their mild spinach flavor and high pro-vitamin A content. To grow your first crop of micro-orach indoors, follow these step-by-step growing instructions:
- First, buy orach (sometimes spelled orache) seeds. You can go for either a purple variety (such as Magenta Magic or Fire Red) or a green leaf variety. Next, fill a tray or another shallow container with one inch of sterilized, fine-textured potting soil. Gently tap the orach seeds into the soil.
- After sowing the orach seeds, place the container in a warm, sunny room or on a sunny windowsill. If you are worried that your orach microgreens may not get enough naturally occurring light, consider purchasing a grow light which emits artificial light designed to stimulate plant growth.
- Check the development of your orach microgreens daily and water as needed to keep the soil mix moist but not flooded. Preferably, you should water the soil mix in the morning as this ensures the water is fully absorbed by the soil and roots. A spray bottle filled with cool water is ideal for watering.
- Both green and red/purple orach microgreens usually take about 20 days to grow, but environmental conditions can shorten or extend the growing period. Orach microgreens are harvested by cutting off everything except the very bottom of the stem. Orach microgreens can be eaten immediately or refrigerated in a plastic bag for use within a few days.
- Both green and red orach boast a mild spinach flavor. Orach microgreens are commonly used in salads (red orach microgreens are a real standout in green salad mixes), but they can also be used to liven up sandwiches or crackers. As an added benefit, micro orach is rich in many nutrients, and it has been reported to contain even more pro-vitamin A than spinach!