Microgreens are a great source of nutritional value and taste. They can easily be grown at home for a fraction of the cost within a limited area and some simplest equipment. Growing microgreens at home is an excellent idea for urban gardeners with only a sunny window or balcony.
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What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are edible mature greens harvested with scissors in less than a month following the germination. The baby plants are harvested when they are about 2-inches tall. The stem and the first set of leaves can be eaten. Microgreens are often confused with sprouts.
Microgreens vs. Sprouts
Microgreens and sprouts are harvested in the early stages of growth, which is several weeks after seeds begin to sprout. This is the reason they are typically referred to as one. But they’re not the same.
In comparison to sprouts, microgreens provide higher nutrition value and have more antioxidants. They are a great source of Vit A, B, C (ascorbic acid), E as well as iron. However, they take more time to grow. They are an excellent source of protein and provide similar benefits to those found in microgreens.
Benefits of Growing Microgreens
According to a research study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, microgreens possess significantly more carotenoids and vitamins than their mature counterparts. Microgreen leaves have greater nutritional density than mature leaves’ nutritional levels.
- Microgreens are the perfect solution for urban life and those who don’t have space or time for the garden. You can grow microgreens in the smallest space, highest yield-to-space ratio.
- You will get nutritious, fresh, organic produce at the most negligible cost, time, and effort.
- All you need is adequate lighting (e.g., an indoor well-lit bench) and a tray or suitable container that is shallow, water, and the right growing medium.
- You can use fresh microgreens in soups, salads, sandwiches, and garnishes during the summer or winters. In the summer months, subtropical microgreens such as lettuce and spinach can be a great alternative to salad ingredients.
- You can plant microgreens inside sunny window sills or kitchen tables or even outdoors on your porch, balcony, or shade home with no need to have an outdoor garden.
- Microgreens are a nutrient-dense food. They contain digestible vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that provide a wide variety of nutritional health benefits.
- Microgreens can be grown in any climatic condition.
- Microgreens have a soft, crunchy texture that can be used in garnishing to impart flavor and color.
- Numerous varieties of microgreens can regenerate and produce multiple harvests.
Also read – Health Benefits of Sprouts
How to Grow Microgreens at Home?
To grow microgreens at home, you will need a few supplies, such as:
There is no absolute rule about growing microgreens at home. You will need an initial microgreen tray. There are many microgreens growing kits available on Amazon.
There are specially-designed containers with removable lids. You can also begin with the plastic containers. However, solid plastic trays with drainage holes are the best to ensure long-term growth. A 1-inch-deep tray is sufficient to support the growth of microgreen plants.
One of the most viable options to consider is the kind of gardening medium to choose for growing microgreens at home. You can use pot soil or opt for non-soiling mediums, such as coconut coir. If you are considering the soil option for your microgreens, we recommend Ugaoo and TrustBasket potting soil, available on Amazon.
Certified Organic Seeds
We highly recommend choosing certified organic seeds for microgreens. It is the safest and most efficient choice. Buy in bulk to lower costs, but the best practice is to test a handful of kinds before you commit to purchasing a considerable amount of seeds. We recommend that it is available on Amazon.
There are numerous low-cost and reliable lighting options available on Amazon to choose from. A quality LED setup can provide enough light to sustain an indoor microgreen plant.
Remember that an open, sunny window facing south is the best location to begin experimenting with growing microgreens. A minimum of 4-8 hours of direct lighting is required to ensure the healthy development of baby plants.
Fluortronix is the most popular grow light and can be purchased on Amazon.
Spray Bottle or Watering Can
Use the watering can to soak the tray soil from below. However, each setup differs slightly and requires trial and error before you can find the perfect option suiting your needs.
The salad greens, leafy veggies or herbs, and edible flowering plants can also be grown as microgreens. However, some varieties are better than others. We recommend starting with the same type of seeds like broccoli, cauliflower, mustard, cabbage, buckwheat, and sunflower for beginners. You can easily cultivate various seeds in multiple containers and then mix them.
If the environment is suitable for microgreens, they can also be planted outdoors in the garden, in the shade. As with all seedlings, microgreens are fragile, and they need to be protected from extreme weather conditions, dry winds as well as hungry pests in your garden. You can grow the following seeds as microgreens:
Microgreens require about 4 hours of sunlight daily for their growth. In the winter months, some may need even more. Greens that are pale and leggy signify that you are not getting enough sunshine. Also, light needs can be met with a grow light.
Also read – Guide to Grow Sprouts at Home
Step-By-Step Instructions to Grow Microgreens at Home
Once you have your supplies organized, starting the process of growing microgreens at home is easy. These steps will make sure you succeed.
Secure a Suitable Location
Clean up the area and make sure that the area is safe by misting or spillage from drainage holes. Ensure that your microgreens get at least 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight.
Prepare Growing Trays
If you reuse a container to grow microgreens, ensure it is clean and dry. If the container does not have a drainage system, you can poke several drainage holes in the bottom. Place soil in the trays and then even out the soil by moving or pressing cardboard over the soil’s surface.
Prepare and Sow Seeds
It is crucial to soak the seeds before planting. We recommend soaking the seeds overnight or a couple of hours prior to planting. Sprinkle seeds evenly across all the surfaces and sprinkle a tiny amount of growing medium or soil on top of it.
Press Seeds into the Soil
The process of pressing and inserting seeds into the soil can help establish good soil contact, absorbing more water and promoting growth and germination. If you use trays of identical dimensions, you can place them on top of each other and apply a uniform pressure over the entire soil surface.
Cover the trays. Use stackable trays to create a moist-dome effect. Some seeds don’t require light to germinate. All they need is moisture. Therefore, stacking trays won’t be an issue.
Make sure to water the trays every day that are exposed or on a sunny window with spray bottles. It is crucial to ensure that the seeds remain moist but not so wet that they germinate. After germinating microgreen seeds, we recommend spraying the seeds once or twice daily.
When the microgreens reach about an inch tall and have an actual set of leaves, they are ready to be harvested. Use sharp scissors to cut the microgreen stems just above that soil line.
To serve, wash the microgreens in water, then dry them with cloths as well as a salad spinner. Take them in, serve immediately to get the most flavorful taste, and sprinkle them on soups, salads, sandwiches, and main meals. The remaining microgreens can be stored in bags of plastic in your fridge.
Microgreens Growing Kits
If you want to grow microgreen at home, GUTBasket growing kits are good option. It is easy adding water to the tray. Relax and enjoy watching your microgreens develop.
Microgreens Growing Tips
- The most frequent issue encountered in microgreens is the fungus. The excessive spraying of water on the plant surface can trigger mold growth. It can end up ruining the baby plants. So we recommend opting for the bottom method of watering. Make sure to use a tray with drainage holes, and then let the water percolate into a tray below.
- Washing microgreens reduces their short shelf lives. So the best way to store microgreens is only to cut what you need. Also, make sure to cut at a height above the soil so that there is no need for rinsing. This is among the most appealing aspects of making your own microgreens at home—no more need to think about the harmful chemicals or fertilizers residues.
- After you have harvested microgreens, treat them as cut flowers while storing them. Cut the end of stems and then place it in the fridge to be used for future use. Microgreens kept in this manner will last for up to a week.
Microgreens – Frequently Asked Questions
When to harvest microgreens?
The microgreens will be ready for harvest in around 2 to 3 weeks, depending on your chosen seeds. Check for the first group of true leaves as an indication of ready microgreens. Grab a pair of scissors and trim the microgreen leaves just below the soil level.
Do microgreens need lots of light to grow?
No. Microgreens can grow indoors even in winter’s chilly temperatures and dim light conditions. In colder climates, they require an extended period of growth, usually up to 2 weeks, while warmer climates may produce microgreens within 5 to 7 days.
Which microgreens are the healthiest?
Broccoli sprouts are among the most nutritious microgreens you can grow at home. They are loaded with both sulforaphane and glucoraphanin, which can prevent cancer. They’re high in vitamins and minerals.