What do you need to grow microgreens at home?
Growing microgreens at home can become an obsession with greenhouses, hydroponics and all the bells and whistles.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to start there! And better yet, you don’t need to have the bells and whistles to be able to grow microgreens at home and enjoy the taste of those zippy little pieces of green!
As a mom of two two-legged kids and four four-legged kids (chaos!), a full-time job, growing business and more scrapbooking and card-making supplies than I could ever use up (but no such thing as too many stamp sets!), sadly I just don’t have the time to worry about a production line assembly to get microgreens into everyone in the house (two legged and four legged alike!). I need a simple way to prepare, grow, harvest, and then stick them into yummy recipes for the fam at chow time.
That’s why I wrote this simple guide on what you need for growing microgreens at home to get you started quickly and easily. Whatever your chaos, we’ve got you covered! There’s only four things you need to grow microgreens at home. Let’s go through them each (or click here for the full infographic).
Choosing the right seeds for growing microgreens
No-brainer right? You need some seeds 😉
Make sure you choose good quality seeds. If they’re old they may not grow well. Some seed companies also say that you should soak their seeds overnight, or for an hour, or just rinse with water before you plant. I prefer things to be as easy as possible and usually just take the seeds and pop them into the soil to grow. I don’t really want to mess around with rinsing and soaking. So far, any microgreen seeds that I’ve planted at home have grown even when they said to rinse or soak them first (so yeah, I didn’t rinse or soak them is what I’m getting at here!).
Flavor is going to be important, so make sure you choose seeds depending on what you want to use the microgreens for. If you’re growing them to dehydrate and put in capsules to take as a supplement, you probably don’t need to worry so much about the taste. But if you’re looking to add some tangy tastes to your soups, salads or even your morning smoothie, you’ll want to do some research to see what the best microgreens are for each of them.
You may be looking for health benefits, like adding some microgreens for heart health to your soup (good for the soul, good for the heart!). Or adding zippy radish microgreens to your regular lettuce salads. Or adding some barley grass microgreens to your smoothies for an added energy kick. Mixes are a great way to get a variety. Just ask my son, he’ll sit down with a bag of microgreens and eat them straight out of the bag ‘straight’! (Pic of Aidan here)
The best part of growing microgreens – the planting!
Now that you have the seeds ready to go, it’s time to get dirty! You’ll want to start with some kind of tray and growing medium. Simply put, you need something to put the seeds into, and something to put that something in so you don’t have a mess on your counter! (Although if you have cats, they’ll probably love it!).
For a growing medium, it’s common to use hemp mats or simple planting soil. I prefer to use planting soil. I’m sure hemp mats are great but every time I’ve tried to use them, I tend to get mold along the bottom.
You won’t need too much soil to grow your microgreens. Use about an inch in the bottom of the tray and pack lightly. Sprinkle your chosen microgreen seeds over the soil, and cover with a light layer of soil. You can pack it lightly, but make sure you don’t pack the soil too much. You want to make sure the seeds can push their way to the surface!
How much water does it take to grow microgreens?
Once you’ve covered your seeds you will want to water your tray. I prefer to use a spray bottle or a watering can to sprinkle the water over the soil. The first time I planted microgreens I used just a cup of water which quickly pushed the top layer of soil out of the way and drowned my seeds! So a word of warming if you will be using a regular cup or pitcher make sure you pour VERY slowly!!
Microgreens grow best in minimal light until they germinate. A fancy way of saying that the shoots start to break through the top layer of soil. If you are using planting trays you can stack them for a couple days or put a towel over them to block the light.
Once your micro green shoots start to come up through the soil remove the covers. Let those microgreens soak up some light and reach the skies! Okay, they really only grow a few inches but you get the picture 🙂
While your microgreens are growing you will want to keep them watered. Watch for over-saturation though (remember the mold? You don’t want that!).
How soon can microgreens be harvested?
After 7-14 days (depending on the type of microgreen you’re growing), your microgreens will be ready for harvest! Simply take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut the tiny shoots as close to the soil as you can. For microgreens like barley grass, you can cut and let it grow for 2-3 more clippings before having to re-seed. Most other microgreens are one harvest only.
Once you’ve harvested your microgreens, wash them gently and store in the refrigerator. I love to use a salad spinner, easy peasy! You can also rinse in a colander (make sure the holes or small or your microgreens will be down the drain in no time!), and pat dry. Store in a sealed container in your refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy!
Here’s one of our family faves:
Here’s a quick recap, put all together as a Quick Start Guide to Growing Microgreens at Home.