If you are a beginner and want to grow food at home, organically, try growing microgreens. Microgreens are a quick and easy source of nutrition that you can grow indoors as well as outdoors. Microgreens are simply greens and herbs that are harvested when they are quite young—generally when they are approximately an inch tall. They may be tiny, but microgreens are huge in trend, found everywhere from grocery shops to plastic-wrapped at supermarkets. You can recycle old plastic boxes for growing them in your kitchen by a window in 2 to 3 weeks. They need minimum attention and input.
If you have shopped for microgreens, you know they are not cheap! They provide you with a quick harvest in approx days.
Planting – How To Grow Microgreens
The soil is kept moist and, once the seeds germinate, they’re ready to harvest in a week, possibly more during the dead of winter. Slower germination, like coriander — a delicious microgreen and possibly better as such than when allowed to fully mature — may take ten days to two weeks. Use the best organic seed you can find. Organic sprouting seed is ideal. We don’t need to tell you what a wonderful activity growing microgreens is for the budding young gardeners in your family.
Microgreens are very easy to grow. You can grow them outside, in a garden bed, or in containers inside on a sunny window side.
In Garden Bed – Outside
If you are planting microgreens in a garden bed, loosen the soil and rake it smooth. Scatter your seed mix so that the seeds are about 1/8- to 1/4-inch apart. We can harvest them very young, so they don’t need a lot of room. Once the seed is scattered over the area, cover it with about 1/8 inch of soil and water gently but thoroughly.
In A Container – Indoor
If you’re planting in a container, choose a container that is at least two inches deep and as large in diameter as you want. Fill it with a good quality organic potting mix, and smooth the soil. Scatter the seeds so that they are about 1/8- to 1/4-inch apart, and cover with 1/8 inch of soil. Water gently but thoroughly, and place your container in a spot where it will get at least four hours of sunlight. If you’re growing them indoors, a south-facing window is best, but an eastern or western-facing one will do as well.
What Can You Grow as a Microgreen?
You can grow any lettuce, salad green, or herb as a microgreen. It’s easy to start with a pre-packaged seed mix, and you can look for specific microgreen mixes, or simply choose a mesclun mix to grow as microgreens.
Here are a few popular varieties to grow as microgreens:
In either case, do not let the soil dry out, and be sure to remove any weeds so that the tiny greens don’t have to compete with them for water and nutrients. Since you’ll be harvesting the greens so young, you don’t need to fertilize them while they’re growing. If you have plenty of organic matter in your garden bed, that will be perfect.
For containers, mixing in a bit of granular organic fertilizer to the soil before you plant will work fine. This is especially true if you plan on using the same soil for several plantings of greens.
Microgreens grow for such a short period that they are rarely bothered by pests and diseases. However, if you are growing brassicas in your mix (mustard, kale, etc.) and cabbage worms are a problem, you may want to cover your microgreens with a floating row cover to protect them.
The first leaves you’ll see are seed leaves. They don’t look anything like the actual leaves of the plant. The best time to harvest microgreens is when they’ve developed the first set of true leaves, which is generally about 10 days to two weeks after planting.
To harvest, simply snip the microgreens just above the soil level.
Unlike mesclun or baby greens, you won’t be able to get additional harvests from one planting of microgreens. Because the plants haven’t had much time to develop—and you’re snipping off everything except the very bottom of the stem—the plant has no way to generate new growth.
The good news is that you can plant another crop after harvest by simply scattering fresh seed and covering it with soil. You don’t even need to remove the old roots; they are good sources of organic matter.