How do you grow microgreens indoors? What are microgreens anyway? And what do you do with them?
By the end of this post, you’ll know all about growing microgreens and when to harvest them. Your only problem will be deciding what seeds to grow.
What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are young vegetable seedlings with leaves that are approximately 1-3 inches tall. They are usually harvested 7 to 21 days after germination once the first true leaves have emerged.
They have delicious, aromatic flavors that are similar to their grown-up vegetables but more concentrated. In fact, if you let them continue to mature, microgreens will grow into young seedlings and then into the real plants.
Microgreens are very high in nutrients. Healthline tells us they are a great source of antioxidants and rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper. In fact, studies have shown that microgreens can actually have higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants than their mature veggie counterparts.
Microgreens are technically not sprouts. Sprouts don’t have leaves, microgreens do. Sprouts also have a much shorter cycle of growing to the harvest of 2 to 7 days.
Microgreens are bigger than sprouts but smaller than baby greens. Like baby greens, only their stems and leaves are edible. You can buy them already grown and bring them home to consume, or you could grow them yourself and snip the harvest when you’re ready to use it.
It’s easy to grow microgreens. They yield a delicious crop for you to grow and enjoy right in your home. Even on a sunny windowsill.
Types of Microgreens
Microgreens can be grown from many different types of seeds. The most popular are from the following plant families. They all sound delicious to me!
- Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish, arugula
- Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory, radicchio
- Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, fennel, celery
- Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek
- Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa, swiss chard, beet, spinach
- Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber, squash
What You’ll Need For Growing Microgreens
You’re about ready to learn how to grow microgreens indoors. You’ll need to get a few items ready before you start planting the seeds.
- Potting mix that is a soilless seed starting mix
- Watering can
- Container 3” peat pots or other
- We got these 3″ peat pots from Amazon
- We use this vermiculite from Amazon, it’s less than $20
- Seeds of your choice
- Plant labels – we use plastic spoons and write the name with a permanent marker
- Plastic wrap
- Bright sunlight
- Heating pad or seedling starter heat mat
- We found this seedling heat mat at Amazon
How To Get Started Growing Microgreens
Growing microgreens is easy! Here’s what you need to know to get started.
- To get started, put the seed starting potting mix into a large bucket or container.
- Moisten the seed starting mix with warm water. Blend the potting mix with the water until the mix is thoroughly moistened and damp.
- Fill the containers with the moistened seed-starting mix. Do not pack it down in the containers but leave it fluffy. This will help with drainage as the seeds develop.
- Sprinkle the seeds over the surface. You’ll want to sow the seeds more thickly than the packet instructions will tell you. Leave perhaps a ¼” between the seeds.
- Cover the seeds with vermiculite. Vermiculite is a miracle addition to your growing efforts. It absorbs water and releases it slowly which will keep the potting mix damp but not too wet. Be sure to read the seed packet for directions on planting depth which will tell you how much vermiculite to use.
- Label the plantings. We use a plastic spoon and write the names with a sharpie marker. This has worked in the outdoor vegetable garden too. Plastic spoons are inexpensive. They can easily be pushed into the ground. And they keep the plant names all season.
- Place the containers on a drip tray or saucer. This will help protect your surfaces from water damage.
- Water lightly as needed to keep the potting mix and vermiculite evenly damp. If it’s too wet, the seeds won’t grow. If too dry, the seeds will die.
- Cover with plastic wrap or domed lid. This will maintain humidity and help promote the seeds to germinate.
- To help the seedlings get a fast start and encourage their best growth, you can place the tray on a heating pad or a heat mat that is designed for seed starting.
The Seeds Are Growing!
After the seeds begin to germinate and grow, you can remove the plastic wrap and the heat source.
Place the containers in an area that receives bright sunshine or on a sunny windowsill.
Water the microgreens from the bottom of the containers.
The water will absorb into the potting mix from the bottom and help keep your seedlings healthy and happy.
Ready to Harvest Your Microgreens
You are actually growing microgreens now.
When your microgreens are at the size you desire, you are ready to harvest them!
This is easy to do. Just snip the greens above the soil surface. Rinse them and eat.
Keep your microgreens refrigerated in an air-tight container until you’re ready for them. They will last about a week in the fridge.
Growing Microgreens Wrap-Up
How do you grow microgreens indoors? Microgreens are so easy to grow, you can even harvest them from a sunny windowsill.
You’ll discover that once you are growing microgreens, they’re delicious and very nutritious. If you grow them yourself, they can be an inexpensive addition to your diet. They can add variety and provide many benefits.
What will you make with your microgreens? We love to use them on sandwiches, salads, wraps, and smoothies. Yum!
If you want to learn more about growing vegetables in containers, here’s a post with some information for you.