Embarking on a journey to grow your own nutrient-rich and flavorful greens at home has never been easier with microgreens! These tiny, edible seedlings offer an abundance of health benefits and pack quite a punch in both taste and nutritional value.
Perfect for the novice gardener or someone looking to maximize space, growing microgreens is a simple yet gratifying endeavor that can be achieved in even the smallest living quarters.
- Microgreens are young seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs that offer an abundance of health benefits, pack a punch in both taste and nutritional value, and can be easily grown indoors.
- Beginners should start with easy-to-grow microgreens like radish, broccoli, and pea shoots which have a fast-growing cycle and require minimal maintenance.
- Necessary materials for growing microgreens include seed trays or containers, quality seed-raising mix, organic microgreen seeds free from fungicides and other chemicals, and optional grow lights to optimize growth conditions.
- A step-by-step guide to growing microgreens involves preparing the seeds by soaking them in water before planting them in moist soil-filled containers. The plants need adequate light (preferably indirect sunlight or artificial LED light if necessary) and regular watering. Harvest your 1–2 inches-tall microgreens when they’re ready for use.
What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are the young seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs, typically harvested when they reach a height of around 2 inches, which are packed with nutrients and delicious flavor.
Definition And Types
Microgreens are the young and tender seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs that have been harvested before they reach full maturity. Typically, these nutrient-dense greens are picked when their first set of leaves, known as cotyledons, have developed fully but just before the emergence of their true leaves.
There are numerous types of microgreens available for cultivation at home, ranging from staple garden plants like lettuce and radish to more exotic options such as beet or even red amaranth.
Many microgreen varieties belong to the Brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, kale), while others originate from various botanical families, including legumes (pea shoots) or aromatic herb families (coriander).
Microgreens are celebrated for their impressive range of health benefits, making them an excellent addition to any diet. As a 2012 study revealed, these tiny seedlings pack a powerful punch, containing four to six times more nutrients than their fully mature counterparts.
Each variety of microgreens offers unique advantages for overall well-being. For instance, broccoli and kale microgreens contain cancer-fighting properties, while sunflower greens promote heart health by providing essential fatty acids.
Radish microgreens help with digestion and boast anti-inflammatory effects thanks to their high levels of vitamin C and potassium.
5 Types Of Microgreens For Beginners
Beginners should start with easy-to-grow microgreens like radish, broccoli, and pea shoots. These microgreens have a fast-growing cycle and require minimal maintenance.
Radish microgreens make an excellent choice for beginners due to their quick growth and slightly spicy flavor. These tiny, nutrient-dense greens feature pale green stems that pack a punch in both taste and health benefits.
Starting your indoor edible garden with radish microgreens can be incredibly rewarding, as they typically take just over a week to emerge above the soil line. Prioritize using organic seeds soaked for 4-6 hours before planting in shallow containers with drainage holes.
With ideal temperatures ranging between 60-75°F and daily misting of water, these flavorful greens will thrive and soon become a regular part of your dishes – whether added to salads, sandwiches, or used as garnishes on various culinary creations.
Broccoli microgreens are a popular choice for beginners as they are easy to grow and require ample sunlight and proper soil moisture. These microgreens belong to the Brassica family, which includes cabbage, kale, mustard, and other leafy greens.
They are quick-growing and can be harvested in just 7-10 days after sowing. Organic broccoli microgreen seeds are recommended for faster germination and harvesting.
To grow these nutrient-dense greens at home, use a growing tray or container filled with organic potting soil or coconut coir as seed raising mix. Water your plants regularly but avoid over-watering them to prevent mold growth.
Pea microgreens are an excellent choice for beginners looking to grow their own nutritious greens at home. These tiny plants have a sweet and delicate flavor that pairs well with salads, sandwiches, or even as a topping on smoothie bowls.
Before planting, soak your pea seeds in warm water for 8-12 hours to speed up the germination process. Once soaked, spread them evenly on an organic seed-raising mix and cover them lightly with soil.
Keep the newly planted tray in a sunny location or under grow lights and provide consistent moisture by misting regularly.
Necessary Materials And Tools For Growing Microgreens
To successfully grow microgreens, you will need seed trays or containers, quality seed-raising mix, and of course, microgreen seeds; while grow lights are optional, they can help optimize growth conditions – read on to learn more about each item and how to use them.
Seed Trays Or Containers
Seed trays or containers are an essential part of growing microgreens. They provide a space for the seeds to germinate and grow before being harvested. There are many types of seed trays available, including plastic trays with drainage holes, biodegradable peat pots, and even repurposed egg cartons or takeout containers.
One option is using small fruit or veggie punnets as mini greenhouses for your microgreen seeds. These can be easily found at farmers’ markets or grocery stores.
Make sure to poke drainage holes in the bottom if they don’t have any already. Another consideration when choosing a container is its size – smaller trays will require more frequent watering, while larger ones may need additional lighting if not placed near a window with sufficient sunlight.
Seed-raising mix is a vital component for growing healthy and thriving microgreens. This specialized blend of soil provides essential nutrients for the seeds to germinate and grow into edible seedlings.
A good rule of thumb is to fill your container 3/4 full with seed-raising mix to achieve an ideal depth of 2-3 cm.
Organic microgreen seeds are recommended as they tend to have faster germination rates than non-organic options. Once you’ve selected your seeds, gently sprinkle them on top of the seed-raising mix or cover small seeds with a thin layer before watering carefully every day as needed.
Choosing the right microgreen seeds is key to a successful DIY gardening project. Organic microgreens seeds are highly recommended, as they tend to germinate and grow faster and produce healthier greens.
When shopping for microgreen seeds, make sure you select ones that are fungicide-free and have not been treated with any chemicals or pesticides. Some popular types of beginner microgreens include radish, broccoli, pea shoots, arugula, and cabbage.
Each has its unique flavor profile and nutritional benefits—radish adds some tanginess to salads, while broccoli boasts high levels of sulforaphane—a potent antioxidant that helps protect against cancer cells in the body.
Grow Lights (optional)
Grow lights can be helpful in growing microgreens, although they are not necessary. These lights provide an artificial source of light that helps the plants grow better by increasing their access to photosynthesis.
LED grow lights are more energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan than fluorescent ones. They should be placed 2-4 inches above the microgreens for optimal results.
Grow lights also extend the growing season for microgreens and help prevent leggy growth, where stems become too long and weak due to insufficient sunlight exposure. If you’re interested in using grow lights, keep in mind that they require more space and electricity consumption than natural sunlight does.
Step-by-Step Guide To Growing Microgreens
To start growing microgreens, first, prepare your seeds by soaking them in water for a few hours and then draining them; next, gather necessary materials, including seed trays or containers, seed-raising mix, microgreen seeds, and grow lights (if desired); then sow your seeds in the prepared container filled with moist soil; provide light and water regularly to promote healthy growth; finally, harvest your microgreens when they reach 1-2 inches tall.
Step 1: Preparing Your Seeds
Before you start growing microgreens, the first step is to prepare your seeds. Choose high-quality, organic microgreen seeds for faster germination and better yields.
Soak the seeds in water for 2-4 hours before planting to help improve germination rates.
It’s important to choose a fine seed-raising mix with enough nutrients and texture to support healthy growth. Homemade mixes containing ingredients such as coconut coir or vermiculite can provide additional nutrition while promoting good drainage and aeration.
When using soil, ensure that it is free of contaminants and fertilizers that may harm your plants.
Step 2: Preparing Container And Seed Raising Mix
When it comes to growing microgreens, choosing the right container and seed-raising mix is crucial. You want a clean container with drainage holes that will allow excess water to flow out easily without drowning your seeds.
Plastic trays or recycled containers work well for beginners who are just starting out. As for your seed-raising mix, you can either purchase a pre-made mix from the store or make one yourself using coco peat, vermiculite, and perlite.
To prepare your container, simply fill it about 3/4 full with your chosen seed-raising mix – ensuring that the tray feels like a moist sponge but not too wet nor dry so that air reaches every part of it, including between grains of soil which helps in moisture retention while still allowing oxygen circulation – before sowing your seeds evenly over its surface area.
Step 3: Sowing Your Seeds
Now that you have your container and seed-raising mix ready, it’s time to sow your microgreen seeds. Begin by evenly spreading the seeds over the surface of the soil or growing medium.
Once you’ve distributed the seeds, lightly press them into the soil with a fork or spoon. Then cover them with a thin layer of additional seed-raising mix, ensuring that they are not buried too deep in the soil.
Mist gently with water, making sure not to displace any of your seeds. Different microgreens have different preferences for watering frequencies, so make sure to research each variety before you begin caring for them.
By following these simple steps and taking care when sowing your seeds, you’ll be well on your way toward successfully growing delicious and nutrient-dense microgreens at home!
Step 4: Providing Light And Water
Once your microgreens have been sown, they’ll need proper light and water to thrive. Place your tray of seeds in a bright location with natural sunlight for 4-6 hours each day or under grow lights if you’re growing them indoors.
To keep things easy, use a spray bottle filled with filtered or purified water to mist the surface of the soil once a day. Alternatively, you could monitor soil moisture levels by sticking your finger about an inch deep into the soil.
If it feels dry, add some more water.
Step 5: Harvesting Your Microgreens
Once your microgreens reach the desired height of 1-2 inches, it’s time to harvest them. Using sharp scissors or a knife, cut the greens at soil level and rinse them thoroughly before consuming.
Different varieties will have different harvest times (some may be ready in as little as seven days), so monitor your plants closely.
One tip for maximizing yield is to consider regrowing your microgreens after harvesting the first round. Depending on the variety, you may be able to get multiple harvests from a single planting by leaving some of the stems intact during cutting or trimming above the cotyledon leaves instead of below them.
Tips For Care And Maintenance
Water your microgreens from the bottom to prevent getting water on the leaves, which can lead to mold and fungal issues; ensure they have access to adequate lighting by placing them under grow lights or near a south-facing window; regularly check for pests and diseases, using organic remedies such as neem oil if necessary.
Consistently moist soil is essential for healthy microgreen growth. Watering should be done daily as needed, but over-watering should be avoided to prevent root rot.
One useful technique is bottom watering, which involves placing the growing tray in a shallow container of water and allowing the soil to absorb moisture from the bottom up.
Another helpful tip is to use a spray bottle to gently mist your microgreens rather than pouring water directly onto them. This prevents disturbance to delicate seedlings while also ensuring an even distribution of moisture throughout your tray or container.
Remember, larger seeds like mung beans, wheat, peas, beetroot, and sunflowers can become easily drowned if not drained and rinsed after pre-soaking before planting them in your growing medium.
Microgreens require ample sunshine or exposure to grow lights for optimal growth. Different types of microgreens have unique light requirements, and it’s crucial to understand how much sunlight they need to thrive in your home garden.
Pea shoots need 10-12 hours of sunlight daily or heavily misted soil, while arugula microgreens are more tolerant and require at least 7-8 hours of indirect sunlight daily.
Radish microgreens need a sunny window with ample indirect light, making them an excellent choice for growers without access to artificial lighting sources. Remember that artificial light sources like fluorescent or LED lights can also be used if natural sunlight is not available.
Managing Pests And Diseases
Managing pests and diseases is crucial when growing microgreens at home. Prevention is key, so it’s important to sterilize the soil or growing medium before planting to avoid the spread of diseases.
Overcrowding should also be avoided, as this can increase the risk of pest infestation and disease.
One effective way to control pests and diseases is by using organic insecticides or pesticides; they work just as well without harming beneficial insects in your garden.
Proper lighting, temperature, and humidity levels must be maintained to prevent these issues from spreading further.
How To Harvest And Store Microgreens
Harvest microgreens when they have grown their first set of true leaves, using scissors to snip them just above soil level.
When To Harvest
To ensure that your microgreens are at their peak flavor and nutritional value, it is important to harvest them at the right time. Generally, you should wait until your microgreens have developed their first true leaves before harvesting them.
At this stage, they will be about 2 inches tall and will have a more robust flavor than when they were just seedlings.
It’s important to note that different types of microgreens may have slightly different requirements for optimal harvesting times, so make sure to do some research on the specific variety you are growing.
As a general rule of thumb, however, it’s best to err on the side of caution and harvest your microgreens a little earlier rather than later since leaving them too long can lead to yellowing or wilting.
Proper Harvesting Techniques
In order to maximize the flavor and nutritional value of microgreens, proper harvesting techniques are essential. When it comes to cutting your microgreens, you’ll want to use a sharp knife or scissors and cut at or above the soil level.
Be sure to rinse your microgreens thoroughly before eating them and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Different types of microgreens may have different harvesting times, so it’s important to do some research on each variety’s specific needs.
The best time to harvest your microgreens is in the morning when they’re crisp and full of moisture.
Storing Your Microgreens
Storing your freshly harvested microgreens is an essential step to ensure that they remain fresh and usable for as long as possible. Microgreens are highly perishable, and it’s important to store them properly to extend their shelf life.
To store your microgreens, first, remove any excess moisture by gently patting the leaves with a paper towel. Wrap the dry microgreens in a separate paper towel and place them into an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag.
Store the container or bag in the refrigerator at a temperature between 35-40°F.
Remember, always thoroughly wash your microgreens before consuming them!
How To Eat Microgreens
Add a burst of flavor and nutrition to your meals by tossing microgreens into salads, blending them into smoothies, or using them as a garnish for dishes like soups or sandwiches.
Incorporating microgreens into salads is an excellent way to add flavor and nutrition to your diet. Here are a few ideas for incorporating microgreens into your salads:
- Simple Salad: A basic salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and a handful of pea shoot microgreens.
- Spring Salad: A refreshing salad made with arugula microgreens, sliced strawberries, toasted almonds, goat cheese crumbles, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.
- Asian-Inspired Salad: Combine shredded carrots, daikon radish microgreens, edamame beans, and sliced cucumbers to make an Asian-inspired salad. Top it off with a flavorful sesame ginger dressing.
- Beet Salad: Mix beetroot microgreens with roasted beets, goat cheese crumbles, and candied walnuts for a sweet and earthy salad.
- Caesar Salad: Add cilantro microgreens to a traditional Caesar salad for added flavor depth.
These simple yet delicious salad ideas are just the beginning when it comes to incorporating microgreens into your diet. With their vibrant colors and fresh flavors, microgreen salads are sure to become one of your go-to meals!
Smoothies are a great way to incorporate microgreens into your diet. Here are some tips on how to make a delicious and nutritious microgreen smoothie:
- Choose your microgreens carefully. Some good options for smoothies include pea shoots, sunflower greens, and wheatgrass.
- Add some fruit for sweetness and flavor. Bananas, strawberries, and blueberries are all popular choices.
- Boost your nutrition with some healthy fats and protein. Good options include chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and nut butter.
- Experiment with different liquid bases. Almond milk or coconut water can add creaminess, while green tea or fruit juice can add extra flavor.
- Blend until smooth and creamy, adjusting the thickness with more liquid as needed.
- Serve immediately for the best taste and nutrition.
Keep in mind that microgreens are nutrient-dense foods that can be easily incorporated into your diet in many other ways besides smoothies – salads, soups, sandwiches etc. To get the most out of your growing efforts – eat them fresh!
Microgreens are a great way to add color and flavor to your dishes. Here are some ideas for using microgreens as a garnish:
- Salads: Add a handful of microgreens on top of your favorite salad for an extra burst of flavor and nutrients.
- Sandwiches: Use microgreens in place of lettuce or other greens to add texture and crunch.
- Soups: Sprinkle microgreens on top of soup just before serving for a fresh and colorful touch.
- Omelets: Top off your morning omelet with a few sprigs of microgreens for added flavor and nutrition.
- Appetizers: Microgreens make great toppings for bruschetta, crostini, and other appetizers.
Remember, it’s best to add microgreens to your dish just before serving so they don’t wilt or lose their flavor. With so many types of microgreens available, the possibilities for garnishing dishes are endless!
Microgreens Seed Suppliers And Resources
Recommended seed suppliers for microgreens include Johnny’s Selected Seeds, True Leaf Market, and High Mowing Organic Seeds.
Recommended Seed Suppliers
If you’re thinking of growing microgreens at home, it’s important to use high-quality seeds. Here are some recommended seed suppliers that provide organic and non-GMO seeds:
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds: offers a wide variety of microgreen seeds, including arugula, broccoli, radish, and more.
- True Leaf Market: provides organic seeds for popular microgreens like pea shoots and sunflower greens.
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: offers a diverse selection of unique microgreen options like purple basil and red orach.
- Botanical Interests: provides an array of non-GMO microgreen seeds, including kale, cilantro, and mustard greens.
- Seed Needs: specializes in affordable heirloom seeds for many types of microgreens, such as chives and sorrel.
By selecting any of these trusted seed suppliers, you can ensure that your microgreens will be healthy and delicious!
Online Resources For Microgreen Growers
For those who want to start growing microgreens, there are a variety of online resources available:
- Microgreen Seed Suppliers – Many online retailers specialize in providing high-quality organic microgreens seeds, such as Johnny’s Selected Seeds and True Leaf Market.
- YouTube Channels with tutorials – Channels like “Epic Gardening” and “Onyx Family” offer instructional videos on setting up and caring for your microgreen garden.
- Microgreen Communities on Social Media – Joining Facebook groups or following Instagram accounts like @microgreens_farmer can provide helpful tips and advice from experienced growers.
- Online Courses – Platforms like Udemy and Skillshare offer courses specifically focused on growing microgreens at home, which can be helpful for beginners looking to learn more.
Remember that starting with the proper equipment, media, seeds, and knowledge is key to success when it comes to growing microgreens. By utilizing these online resources, you’ll have access to a wealth of information that can help you become a successful microgreen grower in no time!
Troubleshooting Common Microgreen Problems
If you encounter issues like mold, uneven growth, or yellowing leaves when growing your microgreens, don’t worry – our guide includes troubleshooting tips to help you overcome these common problems.
Mold And Fungal Issues
Mold and fungal issues can be a significant problem when growing microgreens. Overwatering, poor drainage, high humidity, and temperature levels can all contribute to the growth of mold and fungus on the surface of your plants.
If left unchecked, it can cause damage to your entire crop and even affect your health negatively. Mold appears as white or black spots on the surface of microgreens, while fungal growth takes the form of gray or brown patches.
To prevent mold and fungal growth, clean trays should be used with sterilized soil or seed-raising mix that is not overcrowded. Proper ventilation around plants using fans for air circulation helps too.
One of the most common problems beginners encounter when growing microgreens is uneven growth. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including improper lighting, over-watering, or overcrowding of seeds.
To solve this problem, it’s important to ensure that your microgreens are getting enough light and water while also being spaced out properly in their container. Additionally, using an organic seed-raising mix and high-quality organic seeds can help promote faster and more even germination.
Leggy microgreens are often a result of insufficient light or overcrowding. When growing microgreens, it’s essential to provide adequate light to avoid this common problem.
If you’re using natural sunlight, make sure your plants receive at least six hours of indirect sunlight per day, or invest in grow lights if necessary. Overcrowding is another issue that leads to leggy seedlings.
Proper care and attention can help prevent leggy microgreens as well as other common problems, such as root rot caused by overwatering and lack of drainage.
Using a fan to improve air circulation around your plants is also recommended to keep them healthy throughout the growing process. Remember that different types of microgreens have unique requirements, so be sure to research each variety before planting their seeds.
Yellowing leaves in microgreens can be indicative of several problems, including overwatering, nutrient deficiencies, and pH imbalances.
Overwatering can cause root rot and result in yellow leaves, while nutrient deficiencies such as nitrogen deficiency can lead to pale green or yellowish leaves.
To address this problem, it’s recommended to adjust the watering frequency and add fertilizers if necessary. Tap water should be avoided since it may contain harmful chemicals for your plants.
Regular testing of the pH level is essential to avoid nutrient imbalances that could contribute to yellowing leaves.
By addressing these issues effectively and consistently monitoring your plants’ health through careful maintenance practices, you’ll ensure the healthy growth of your microgreens with vibrant green foliage instead of sickly yellow tones caused by suboptimal conditions.
The Benefits Of Growing Microgreens At Home
Growing microgreens at home has many benefits, including providing a cost-effective and sustainable source of nutrient-dense greens, reducing your carbon footprint by growing your food, and serving as an enjoyable hobby that can improve mental health.
Growing and consuming microgreens provide various health benefits. These tiny plants are packed with nutrients, making them a great addition to any diet.
They contain high levels of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium. Microgreens also have antioxidant properties that help reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Incorporating microgreens into your meals can improve digestion and boost your immune system. Additionally, growing microgreens at home allows you to ensure they’re free from harmful pesticides and chemicals often found on store-bought produce.
Growing microgreens at home has several environmental benefits. One of the most significant advantages is their low carbon footprint, as they require minimal space, water, and no pesticides compared to traditional agriculture.
By growing your microgreens at home, you can reduce the carbon emissions associated with the transportation and packaging of store-bought produce. Moreover, sustainable practices such as composting and using organic potting soil can be used to grow microgreens.
In addition to that, cultivating microgreens promotes biodiversity by increasing plant diversity in urban areas while preserving land for wildlife habitats.
Growing microgreens at home can be a cost-effective way to incorporate fresh, nutrient-rich greens into your diet. With just a few seeds and basic materials, you can grow an abundance of microgreens in the comfort of your own home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought greens.
The cost savings are especially noticeable when considering organic microgreen seeds, which are recommended for faster germination and harvesting. Additionally, since microgreens can be harvested and eaten within just one to three weeks, you won’t have to worry about wasting any produce – simply grow what you need when you need it.
A Fun And Rewarding Hobby
Growing microgreens at home is a fun and rewarding hobby that offers numerous benefits to your health and well-being. Not only do microgreens provide an abundance of fresh nutrients, but they also offer endless opportunities for creativity in the kitchen.
Moreover, tending to these tiny seedlings can be a relaxing and therapeutic activity that brings a sense of satisfaction as you watch them grow into vibrant edible plants.
By getting your hands dirty in soil or hydroponic water systems, you not only gain practical gardening skills but also contribute towards sustainable living by reducing food waste and carbon footprint.
Growing microgreens at home is an easy and rewarding experience that anybody can enjoy. With just a small amount of space, some basic materials, and high-quality organic seeds, you can create your own indoor edible garden that provides nutrient-rich greens all year round.
Whether you’re interested in adding flavor to salads or smoothies, garnishing dishes with tender shoots, or simply exploring the benefits of urban gardening, microgreens provide a delicious and biogenic food source that is perfect for beginners.