After schools shifted to an online teaching mode, 17-year-old Nisha Pathak was worried about her increase in screen time. To avoid spending too much time looking at computers and to keep herself active, the Class 12 student of Neeraja Modi school, Jaipur, Rajasthan, took up farming.
“I wanted to keep myself engaged in activities that did not require looking at a screen. Apart from that, I wanted to grow the veggies and distribute them to underprivileged families living near my home,” says Nisha, adding that she learnt how to prepare seeds and plant them from a gardener in her community premises.
Initially, she grew vegetables like potatoes, onions and tomatoes. The harvest was distributed among underprivileged families who were living in neighbouring areas and were unable to procure fresh vegetables regularly.
Nisha realised that growing vegetables would take a few months. However, she wanted to provide a nutritious alternative to the families who could not afford vegetables regularly. She decided to grow microgreens and conducted workshops for underprivileged women, so that they could grow them at home.
“I did not want to burden them with extra expenses by asking them to buy containers or pots to grow the microgreens. As a sustainable solution, I decided to recycle empty milk packets to grow them,” says Nisha, in an interview with The Better India.
To date, she has conducted workshops for 10 underprivileged women and even took virtual workshops for 35 neighbours.
Here’s how you can grow microgreens in milk packets:
Things you will need:
- An empty milk packet
- Potting mix
- Fenugreek or mustard seeds.
Step 1: Soak a fistful of fenugreek or mustard seeds, in a bowl of water overnight.
Step 2: Thoroughly wash and dry a milk packet.
Step 3: Using a pair of scissors, pierce a hole at the bottom of the packet to drain excess water.
Step 4: Fill 3/4th of the milk packet with organic potting mix.
Step 5: Evenly spread the soaked seeds and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
Finally, sprinkle some water and place it in a space that does not receive direct sunlight. Continue spraying water every day and within seven days the microgreens will be ready to be consumed.
Once the leaves are harvested, you can repeat the process in the same milk packet. However, you need to remove the top layer of soil and add fresh potting mix.
These tiny leaves are packed with more nutrients than fully-grown vegetables and do not need to be cooked.
“They can be sprinkled over dishes as a garnish and consumed fresh,” says Nisha.
Edited by Yoshita Rao