Microgreens are selected vegetables and herbs that are harvested as seedlings—usually 2-3 weeks after sowing when they reach 2-3 in. tall. Growing microgreens is possible any time of the year; they add a bit of freshness especially during winter when grown on a sunny window sill.
- You may start with a single kind of pre-packaged seeds, a mix of specific greens, or a mesclun salad mix. Popular microgreens include amaranth, arugula, basil, beet, broccoli, cabbage, endive, kale, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, peas, radishes, spinach, tatsoi, and watercress.
- All young, immature greens are packed with a nutritional and flavorful punch. Add to salads, sandwiches, garnishes, or stir-fries. Experiment with different ones to find those you like best.
- Vitamins and minerals are more concentrated in microgreens than in mature, leafy crops and require less time and effort before a quick harvest.
- Some seed mixes include several different colors and textures of greens.
- Popular blends may be a zesty and spicy blend, herbal, or Asian, for example. Many blends are formulated to sprout at the same time.
- Growing microgreens at home is less expensive than purchasing them.
How to Grow
- Grow microgreens indoors in pots or trays that are a few inches deep; outdoors, in beds or in containers. Be sure that all containers have adequate drainage.
- Grow outdoors year round except in cooler regions where winters are too cold.
- Grow indoors in bright sun in an eastern-, western-, or south-facing window after germination.
- Presoak large seeds 6-12 hours or so to speed up germination. Plant in a purchased soil mix in containers; outdoors plant in loose soil amended with 3-4 in. of compost.
- Sow seeds 1/8 in. deep. Mix seeds with fine sand to help with even distribution.
- Water regularly with a spray mister to avoid disturbing seeds. Maintain moist, but not wet, soil. Overwatering causes seeds to rot. Frequent watering is usually necessary in bright light.
- Provide 6-8 hours of sunlight in every season as soon as sprouts appear. Or use fluorescent or specialized grow lights over growing trays with lights 6-12 in. above greens or as specified by the manufacturer. Use a timer on bulbs for 12-16 or more hours of light.
- Fertilize only if there is inadequate organic matter in your garden bed. Consult content label of a purchased mix for its fertility. Add a light dose of granular organic fertilizer if needed.
- Cover microgreens outdoors with a floating cover to protect cole crops such as broccoli or kale if cabbageworms are a problem.
- Consult seed packets for times to germination after planting. True leaves follow the initial, simple-looking seed leaves and are miniatures of leaves of the mature plant.
- Harvest microgreens after they develop their first set of true leaves and are 2-4 in. tall.
- Snip small clusters of stems with scissors a little above the soil level; rinse before eating. No continued growth will follow after harvest.
- Leave short stems and roots in the soil as organic matter and plant another crop.