How to Grow Microgreens Indoors
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What Are Microgreens? | Microgreen Basics
Deciding what food to grow in your house or apartment? Microgreens (sometimes also called sprouts) are a great option.
Microgreens are closely-clustered small edible seedlings. You grow them on a small flat of soil, and then harvest them as you need.
Microgreens are great additions to salads and can also be sprinkled atop soups and sandwiches, or even used as a garnish. They’re very fun and easy to grow in your home or apartment.
If you’re looking to add just a small dose of healthiness to your foods, microgreens are a great place to start.
In fact, the tastiest and most popular microgreen types come from some of our most beloved vegetables and greens!
Common microgreens you can grow:
- Asian greens microgreens (bok choy, tatsoi, etc.)
- Beet microgreens
- Buckwheat microgreens
- Pea shoot microgreens
- Popcorn shoots (corn microgreens)
Why Should I Grow Microgreens? | Microgreen Benefits
There’s a lot of appeal to growing microgreens.
But if you’ve never heard of them before, what’s the point of growing them?
For one, they’re easy to grow. They also don’t take up a lot of space.
Secondly, they don’t create a mess. If you grow them correctly, they can also be a nice decorative touch to your home, apartment, or other dwelling.
They’re also beautiful additions to food. With just a pinch, you give a touch of fancy flair to your meals.
But best of all: they’re amazingly healthy.
Microgreens are great sources of fiber, but they’re most notable for being nutrient-dense.
There’s more vitamins, minerals, and healthy phytonutrients per weight of microgreens than in the full-size vegetable!
Benefits to growing microgreens:
- Easy to grow
- Not too messy
- Decorative for indoor growing
- Beautiful food garnishes
- Very healthy and nutrient dense
What You Need to Grow Microgreens | Microgreen Growing Kit
Intrigued by microgreens? You only need a few tools to get started.
You’ll of course need seed to grow from. You can pick from any of the microgreen choices described earlier, though there’s definitely other options.
You’ll also need a container. A flat, wide, and shallow container is best, like a seed flat or tray.
Make sure whatever container you have has small holes for adequate drainage.
Soil is important, too. Purchase a soil type that’s as fine as possible. This is so sprouts can easily push up through as they grow.
For the actual planting process, getting something like a spice shaker can be really helpful for planting your seeds.
Keep in mind that seeds all come in different sizes. Any shaker will need holes that are big enough to scatter your seed, but not too big that they pour out too quickly.
You may also need a grow light, though this always necessary. If you have a nice windowsill by a large south-facing window with plenty of sun, your microgreens will do well right there.
Otherwise, if light is lacking, find yourself a grow light.
You can opt for a shop light. Just make sure bulbs you install are full-spectrum, so your microgreens meet their photosynthesis requirements.
Microgreen growing tools checklist:
- Plenty of chosen microgreen seed (at least one pound recommended)
- Shallow, wide, and flat container (like a tray) with good drainage
- Very fine soil (you can grate thicker soil through a screen if desired)
- Small spray bottle
- Small fan (recommended but optional)
- Spice shaker for seeding (recommended but optional)
- Grow light (optional, recommended if you don’t have large south-facing window)
- Clean kitchen scissors (for harvesting)
How to Grow Microgreens | Microgreen Growing Instructions
Have all your microgreen-growing ducks in a row? Then you’re ready to get started!
To have delicious, tasty, and healthy home microgreens right at your table in no time, follow these growing instructions carefully.
Step 1 – Prepare Your Container
Take your chosen microgreens container and fill it with soil. The soil level only needs to be about 1 inch thick at the most.
Again, make sure that the soil you are using is very fine, almost like a powder in some cases.
Make sure the container is evenly lined with soil all throughout—no shallow spots. Shaking the container lightly before seeding can help for even distribution.
Note: the dryer the soil, the better. Drainage is especially important. Your sprouts are going to be very crowded together, which will amplify moisture and increase disease risk.
Step 2 – Scatter Seeds
Place your chosen seeds and scatter them as thickly as possible over the very top of the soil.
Seeds should not be “piled” on top of each other, or in clumps. Try to lay out the seed, no matter its size, in one single layer atop the soil and as closely as possible.
As a rule of thumb, smaller seeds can handle really close clustering much better. Larger seeds may need more emphasis on that uniform single layer approach.
This is where something like a spice shaker can help for easy distribution. If you’re confident otherwise, scattering the seed by hand or with a spoon atop the soil is alright.
Always make sure that the seeding is nice and thick. This ensures that sprouts will grow in nice dense clumps at a small size for easy harvesting.
If using larger seeds (like beets, chard, or buckwheat), sprinkle another thin layer of soil on top of them so they get the moisture they need to germinate.
Step 3 – Spritz and Spray
Once your seeds are spread around the container, lightly spray them and the soil of the whole container lightly with your spray bottle.
Make sure soil is nice and moist, but not waterlogged.
Step 4 – Let There Be Light (and Air)
After everything is planted and gets its first spray, set your microgreens tray or container wherever it will get ample light for photosynthesis.
Again, a large south-facing window with plenty of sunshine is best.
Otherwise, set up your grow light. Make sure to place tray as close to the grow light as possible underneath it, as long as bulbs don’t give out too much heat.
Whether by a window or under a light, it’s recommended to set up a small air circulation fan about 4 feet away to keep air moving, which prevents disease.
This isn’t required, though. Be watchful that the fan doesn’t completely dry up your setup, either.
Step 5 – Watch Them Grow, Harvest, and Enjoy
Spritz microgreens tray multiple times each day, just enough to completely moisturize soil. Let it dry out a bit before spraying again to avoid waterlogging.
In a week, you’ll see seeds start to sprout. In about two weeks, greens will be ready to harvest! These times will depend on the type of microgreen you grow.
Sprouts should grow up thickly once they really get going. After first leaves are unfolded, water them less—just once or twice per day.
To harvest, gather a small cluster of sprouts at their tops, and snip them at stems just above the soil. Remove any dirt or roots that accidentally come with.
Lightly rinse in a bowl of water, then dry for a bit in a colander. Afterwards, sprinkle them on your desired dish and enjoy!
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