Growing microgreens is an easy year round activity that requires low input and super tasty outputs. This article will walk you through the seven steps for growing microgreens successfully at home. You’ll need a small amount of soil (I use an sterile, organic potting mix), some USDA Organic Seeds, and a growing container. Somewhere warm for germination and somewhere light for green and growth. Add water and you have everything you need for healthy winter (or summer) greens.
Step One: Good Quality Soil
Fill a tray with 1-1.5″ of good quality potting soil and tamp down with your hand or a flat piece of wood or cardboard. The container can be anything wide and shallow, from garden center bought to upcycled plastic salad boxes!
Step Two: Organic Seeds
Sow your seeds (lots of choices here: buckwheat, sunflower, salad greens and more!). Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the soil. Sow quite densely to get a good crop. Gently press the seeds into the soil to get good seed to soil contact (don’t bury them!). The density of sowing will be something you get a feel for as you practice, it really depends on how large you will let your microgreens get before harvesting.
Step Three: Water and Wrap
Lay damp paper towels over your seeds. This creates a moisture blanket to aid quick germination. Give your trays a good soaking using a sprayer or shower-header watering can. It is important that your seeds and soil stay moist for the germination stage. Note: you could cover with soil, but the paper towel is quick and easy and has the bonus that you can peek under to check your seeds progress.
Step Four: Cover and Wait
Cover your trays. This is where the salad boxes come in super useful: you can just put the lid back on! Garden centers also sell special clear lids. Either way, this helps speed germination by trapping heat and moisture.
Step Five: Germination
Germination speed depends on many factors including seed type, heat and moisture. Keep peeking under the paper towel to check on the progress and make sure the soil doesn’t dry out. Once you see a good amount of seedlings popping up you are ready to remove the paper towel and expose the seedlings to light.
Step Six: Light
Light will make your microgreens turn green and grow dense and healthy. A lack of light will force them to go thin and ‘leggy’ as they reach out to find light. A sunny windowsill or porch can be great locations. Grow lights are an option if there is no natural light. At this stage the plastic lid should be removed to allow air circulation, but take care to make sure the soil doesn’t fully dry out.
Step Seven: Harvest
Microgreens can be harvested any different stages and this is largely personal choice. You certainly want to harvest them before they get to big because the amount of soil and space isn’t enough to keep the larger plants healthy. Once harvested they can be rinsed, dried gently with paper towels and stored in the refrigerator in a zip lock bag.
Written by Chris Smith