How-To

How to Grow Microgreens

Video by Carol Collins. Edited by Kara Demos.

If you would like to start growing your own fresh vegetables, why not start with microgreens? They are easy to grow, incredibly tasty, and highly nutritious. Microgreens are the edible leaves and stems of herbs and vegetables that are harvested at the earliest stages of growth, often just a few weeks after planting. These lovely little greens can be grown indoors any time of year, but they are especially appealing in winter, when fresh garden veggies are in short supply. In this step-by-step video, we will show you how to plant, tend, and harvest microgreens.

The best microgreens are herbs or greens that are traditionally grown full-sized. Here are some varieties that germinate quickly and are easy to grow:

  • Cabbages of all kinds
  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Peas
  • Sunflower
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Basil

 

Materials for growing microgreens

  • Clean, untreated seed
  • Organic, compost-based soil
  • Shallow containers with drainage holes
  • Jars for soaking the seed
  • Spray bottle or mister

 

Instructions for growing microgreens

  1. Find containers with drainage holes. You can plant in almost any shallow container, as long as it has good drainage. If needed, add drainage holes before filling.
  2. Pre-soak seeds as needed. Many seeds will germinate more quickly and evenly if they are soaked in water before planting. Soak daikon radish, pea, sunflower, kale, and broccoli seeds for 8 to 12 hours. Tiny seeds like basil, sorrel, and arugula do not need to be soaked in advance.
  3. Drain the water after seeds have soaked. Allowing the seeds to sit in their jars for another day before planting will make them easier to handle.
  4. Moisten the soil. Mix in just enough water that the soil forms a ball when squeezed. The soil should not feel soggy.
  5. Fill each container to about one inch below the rim. Gently tap to settle the soil, and pat the surface smooth.
  6. Spread seeds liberally across the soil surface. Do not cover the seeds with soil. This will help keep your greens clean.
  7. Use a spray bottle, mister, or the mist setting on your hose to wet the seeds. This will settle the seeds into a single layer and improve soil contact.
  8. Cover the newly planted containers for two to three days. Use a cardboard box or overturned nursery tray to help conserve moisture and provide the darkness most roots need to get a good start.
  9. Move seedlings into the light. A bright windowsill will work fine, or you can place your seedlings under a fluorescent shop light hung about 6 inches above the plants’ leaves.
  10. Watering from below works best. You will likely need to water your microgreens every day or two until they are harvested. The best way to do it is to set containers into a shallow basin of water for about 20 minutes. Water will wick up into the soil, while the leaves will stay clean and dry. Move the containers back to a dry tray after watering.
  11. Harvest by snipping stems. Most greens will be ready to eat 8 to 11 days after planting. Microgreens can be eaten at any stage, so experiment to see when they taste best to you. Harvest by snipping stems and lifting the greens away, leaving the soil and lower stems behind.

 

Learn more

Starting Fall and Winter Vegetables from Seed

Great Veggies to Grow for Italian Cooking

Build a Cold Frame

Herbs for the Windowsill

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