Sofia from Turku is a seasoned Plantui user

What kind of gardener are you?
I’m actually a horticulturist by training, but I would really regard myself as a gardening hobbyist. I’m mostly interested in functional gardening. We have recently moved to our own house, with great potential for small farming. Previously, while living in the city, I cultivated plants on a balcony, on raised beds, and on allotment plots. And of course in my Plantui!

When did you get your first Plantui?
In February 2015, six years ago!

Can you tell us about your current or most recent cultivation projects?
Currently, I am growing chilies, peppers, and eggplant, as well as experimenting with honeydew melons in the Plantui device. To get them to germinate, I might have to move it above the fireplace (as it requires a lot of heat), but then transfer it back to the device. My intention is to transplant them to soil later and then to the greenhouse in the summer.

Who do you share your crops with?
With my family, and particularly the children. The eldest boy, who’s four years old, is himself really excited about growing plants. The younger one, who turns three in the spring, is very excited about harvesting the delicious treats. For my husband, herbs go down really well in dishes, and he enjoys the radish microgreens just as they are.

How does the Plantui device help you in the kitchen?
I’m guaranteed a good harvest and aromatic herbs! My favourite varieties at the moment are all the basils as well as the microgreens.

What do you use the plants for? Do you use the Plantui crops in a specific recipe?
I’m certainly no chef, however with fresh herbs, even dishes just thrown together get a boost in flavour. I think Thai basil fits ridiculously well in a cheese omelette, giving it an exciting taste. The microgreens provide a wonderful zesty seasoning on top of pureed vegetable soup.

Do you have more than one device or Plantui accessory?
Unfortunately, I went and gave the older device to my sister. Now that I have more space, I miss it. On the other hand, I am glad that now her family, and especially my godson, get pleasure from the Plantui. You see, my sister won’t ever part with it, because it’s “Absolutely awesome!”
I have a Plantui 6, a microgreen tray for sprouting, a 12-slot Pre-Grow Tray for pre-growing plants, and a couple of extra height blocks. The boosting light block is next on my wish list.

What is the best thing about your Plantui?
For a green-fingered person, the device spoils you with endless possibilities. I get fresh and tasty herbs even in winter. Before, I hadn’t used the Plantui device as much in the summer because I was growing things outdoors, but now I’ll be sure to grow even microgreens in the summer. They are a great addition to salads and absolutely wonderful on sandwiches!

Have you done any of your own experiments?
My current ones are perhaps most worth mentioning. Next to the light of the Plantui device I’ve been growing cat grass, as well as using it to keep stored-bought potted salads fresh.
I’m also thinking about experimenting with plant cuttings in the Plantui. Maybe I’ll try that next?

Has any project ever gone especially well? Or have there been any memorable moments?
Everything seems to be successful in a Plantui and every moment is a special moment!

Any special message to potential Plantui users?
Please take my recommendation, which comes with years of experience! With all the accessories, Plantui offers so many ways to grow things. It’s easy to do your own experiments. Plantui lets you see the wonder of growth, from seed to harvest, which is such an amazing thing to follow with your children. Just yesterday we marvelled at the roots growing through the capsule. Plantui would also be a great thing for kindergartens, schools and perhaps even nursing homes. Watching things grow is educational, inspiring and therapeutic!

Asian Greens: Tatsoi, Pok choy, Komatsuna, Mizuna

You may have noticed those plants with weird names in Plantui Plant capsule selection: Tatsoi, Pok choy, Komatsuna, Mizuna. Asian greens might seem a bit mysterious, but are absolutely worth trying. Oriental vegetables have a long history. The selection of different vegetables and their varieties is huge, and they are essential in Asian cookery. Here in Europe we should get to know especially the leafy greens because of their health benefits.

The greens of the cabbage family (which scientific genus Brassica) are especially interesting for urban gardeners. Those plants work very well in hydroponics and make a big yield without requiring much space. Leafy greens are highly nutritious but low in calories. They are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Researches seem to show that the glucosinolates in the plants of the cabbage family may have anti-carcinogenic properties. And let’s not forget aesthetics: these greens are very pretty with their shiny green leaves and decorative appearance.

Leaf Mustards: Fringed Red, Red Giant and Wasabina

Asian greens are a good choice for those who can’t wait to see the results of their gardening. These leafy vegetables germinate and grow quickly making a big yield, but they should also be harvested quickly. Unlike many herbs, the Asian greens shouldn’t be left growing for months. They make long roots and will be hard to remove from the device if left growing for too long. A quick cycle suits them best: grow for six to eight weeks, enjoy the harvest and then make a fresh start.

For continuous harvest, pick the biggest or outer leaves of the rosette. You can use the leaves in cooking in many ways: fresh in salads or on a sandwich, or very shortly cooked for soups, stews or stir-fries.

Click to read more about the characteristics of Tatsoi, Pok choy, Komatsuna, Mizuna and Mustard Wasabina.

If you like gardening books, I’ll recommend Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook by Joy Larkcom. It’s a magnificent guide for anyone who wants to know everything about Asian vegetables.

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