Microgreens are simply greens that are harvested when they are quite young—generally when they are approximately an inch tall. These little greens can pack a big nutritional and flavorful punch. You can add microgreens to salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries. Experiment with different mixes, adding the varieties you like best. If you have shopped for microgreens, then you know they are not cheap. The good news is it's easy to grow microgreens, indoors or outside. They grow well in garden beds or containers. And they provide you with a quick harvest for not much work.
What Can You Grow as a Microgreen?
You can grow any salad green or herb as a microgreen. It's easy to start with a pre-packaged seed mix, and there are even specific microgreen mixes.
Here are a few popular varieties to grow as microgreens:
- Beet greens
- Radish greens
- Lettuce (any)
Microgreens are very easy to grow. You can grow them in the ground, in a raised garden bed, or in a container outdoors or inside on a sunny windowsill.
If you're 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 inch to 1/4 inch apart. Remember, you'll harvest them very young, so they don't need a lot of room. Once the seeds are scattered over the area, cover them with about 1/8 inch of soil and water to evenly moisten the soil.
If you're planting in a container, choose a pot that is at least 2 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 to moisten the soil, and place your container in a spot where it will get at least four hours of sunlight. For indoor growth, a south-facing window is best, but an east- or west-facing one will do as well.
Don't let the soil dry out. And remove any weeds that pop up, so the tiny greens don't have to compete with them for water and nutrients. If you have rich soil in your garden bed, you won't need to fertilize. For containers, mixing in a bit of granular organic fertilizer to the soil before you plant is ideal if your potting mix doesn't already contain fertilizer.
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, consider adding 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.
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—they have no way to generate new growth.
The good news is you can plant another crop after harvesting by simply scattering fresh seeds and covering them with soil. You don't even need to remove the old roots; they are good sources of organic matter.