During Lockdown I have done some sprouting – growing corn shoots, beansprouts, wheatgrass and pea shoots on the windowsill to use as salad and stir fry ingredients. We didn’t really rate the corn shoots and wheatgrass (and the leftover seeds are destined to go through the mill!), but the beansprouts and pea shoots are old favourites we sprout from time to time. The benefits of sprouts are that you get a large amount of nutrition from a small space, in a small amount of time.
If you think that sounds like something astronauts could use, then you’re in good company. Microgreens are being investigated as space crops! Growing plants in space is a little trickier than it is on Earth, because water behaves differently in microgravity. So ensuring that water is evenly distributed to plants, and doesn’t drown them, is a challenge that needs to be overcome with suitable flight hardware.
In the latest edition of The Microgreens Show, Dr Christina Johnson from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center explains more about why NASA is investigating microgreens for space crops.
Christina mentions her Facebook page, which is called I Wish I Could Study Space Biology. And last year she produced a poster about her research, which you can download as a PDF file: Microgreens for Human Nutrition in Spaceflight explains more about the nutritional benefits of growing microgreens in space.