How to Grow Microgreens

Small microgreens clustered in long brown gardening container

The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Project Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Microgreens are simply greens harvested when they are quite young—generally when they are approximately an inch or two tall. These little greens pack a flavorful punch and can be added 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 with minimal work.

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are simply the seedlings of edible greens, including vegetables and herbs, harvested when they are very young—approximately an inch or two tall.

Why Grow Your Own Microgreens?

Growing microgreens is a great gardening project for beginners and it's fun to watch them peek up from the soil. Kids will enjoy helping and watching them grow, too. While you can find these tasty morsels in the grocery store or markets, they can be expensive to buy and these packaged greens don't last very long in the fridge. Microgreens are easy to grow and take up a little space, such as a window sill. You snip off what you want to use and enjoy it fresh right from your own garden. 

Tips

Add fresh microgreens to salads, sandwiches, and stir-fries. They're great on pizza, too.

What Can You Grow as a Microgreen?

You can grow any salad green or herb as a microgreen. It's easy to start with pre-packaged seed mix es including specific microgreen mixes.

Here are a few popular varieties to grow as microgreens:

  • Mustard
  • Kale
  • Endive
  • Arugula
  • Beet greens
  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi
  • Radish greens
  • Watercress
  • Mizuna
  • Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Lettuce (any)
arugula microgreens

The Spruce / K. Dave

Before Getting Started

Begin by deciding what you want to plant for microgreens. Select one or two types of seeds when you are first starting out. Good choices include broccoli, lettuce, radish, cauliflower, spinach, basil, or cilantro,. Next, select the area and containers you will plant them in. Choose a nice sunny spot. Then determine the growing medium you want to use. An even mixture of potting soil and peat moss helps hold moisture in the soil, or a seed starting mix also works well. 

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Planting tray or small pots, or garden bed
  • Small trowel or garden rake
  • Sharp knife or scissors

Materials

  • Seeds
  • Growing Medium (Potting Soil/Peat Moss/Seed Starting Mix)

Instructions

Microgreens are very easy to grow. You can grow them in the ground, in a raised garden bed, in a container outdoors, or inside on a sunny windowsill.

Materials and tools to grow microgreens

The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Planting Microgreens in a Raised Garden Bed

  1. Prepare the Garden Bed

    Prepare the garden bed with your choice of growing medium. This can include a seed starting mix, potting soil, or a mix of potting soil and peat moss. Make sure to leave room to put a thin layer of soil on top after planting the seeds. Loosen the soil and rake it smooth.

    Raised garden bed filled with potting soil and spread with small garden rake

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

  2. Scatter Seed Mix

    Scatter your seed mix on the soil 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.

    Microgreen plant seeds scattered in raised garden bed

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

  3. Cover Seeds and Water

    Once the seeds are scattered over the area, cover them with about 1/8 inch of soil. Water with a spray bottle or mister to evenly moisten the soil.

    Spray bottle moistening soil with water over planted microgreen seeds

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Planting Microgreens in a Container

  1. Select and Prepare 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.

    Growing medium mixed inside long brown garden container

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

  2. Plant Seeds

    Scatter the seeds so that they are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart, and cover with 1/8 inch of soil.

    Microgreen seeds added to potting mix in long gardening container

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

  3. Water and Container Placement

    Water with a spray bottle or mister 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.

    Spray bottle adding water to covered microgreen seeds

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

Care and Maintenance

Don't let the soil dry out. Mist daily, keeping the soil moist but not wet. You should see sprouts pop up in about three to seven days. Remove any weeds, so the tiny greens don't have to compete 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 fertilizer before you plant is recommended if your potting mix doesn't already contain fertilizer.

Microgreens grow for such a short period 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.

Tip

Remove any weeds that pop up, so the tiny greens don't have to compete with them for water and nutrients.

Harvesting

The first leaves you'll see are seed leaves. They don't look like the true leaves of the plant. The best time to harvest microgreens is when they've developed the first set of true leaves, about 10 days to two weeks after planting. To harvest, snip the microgreens just above the soil level.

You won't 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.

microgreens ready for harvest

The Spruce / K. Dave