Growing & Eating Microgreens

Posted by Hilary & Christopher Mueller on

Growing Microgreens

Growing Microgreens is a wonderful way to eat fresh, homegrown food all year round! 

Quick growing, space efficient, nutrient dense and enzyme rich; Microgreens make a lot of sense in the gardening "shoulder-season". They are especially satisfying during the Winter months, when we are just itching to be surrounded by and eating green things. ⛄

Growing microgreens is easy and they add a lush aesthetic to your kitchen too!

So, what exactly are Microgreens? 

Truly, the plants themselves are no different from the broccoli, kale, beet, radish, chard, etc. that we all grow in our gardens. The difference is how and where they're planted, as well as when they are harvested.

Microgreens are typically grown indoors and very densely seeded, so that they grow as a thick "lawn" in the container. Instead of allowing the plants to grow to their "normal" harvest stage, Microgreens are harvested when very young; only a few inches tall and just a couple of weeks old.

Most vegetables that are grown for their leaves or stems can be grown as a Microgreen. This includes cabbage, beets, kale, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, lettuce, mizuna, spinach, radish, broccoli and many others. Peas, lentils & mung beans can be grown for shoots too.

 What shouldn't be grown as a microgreen?

Plants in the nightshade family, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants should never be grown for microgreens as their leaves and stems are toxic. Also, although many legumes can be be used for microgreens, some beans, like kidney beans, are incredibly toxic when raw (more on that here...) Please use caution if you are uncertain.

 

Growing Microgreens

How to grow Microgreens 

As with everything that becomes "trendy", companies will do their best to convince you that you absolutely NEED to buy a plethora of things to succeed. Complicated hydroponic kits, "eco-friendly" (but single-use) microgreen mats, complicated shelving units with energy intensive grow-lamps... These are all deemed essential.

Our philosophy is a bit different: Keep things simple and maintain the Earth by using what you already have on hand.

Containers

You can grow Microgreens in any type of water tight container. Raid your recycling bin. Use a Tupperware container whose lid has gone missing. Use a loaf pan that will fit perfectly on your window ledge. The key is to make sure the container is clean. Wash it as though you'd be eating off it, because technically, that's what you'll be doing. Our friends The Carbon Zero Twins are experts in repurposing things for indoor growing. In fact, they grow Microgreens too! You'll love their sweet video about growing Brown Lentil Shoots.

Growing Mediums

As alluded to above, there are endless products promoted for growing microgreens on. Most common are mats spun from hemp, coconut fibre and sometimes even plastic. Did you know though, that you could just use soil? 💡

You definitely don't want any earthworms in the mix, but you can use soil right out of your garden to grow your microgreens. You can either toss this soil into your backyard compost after each grow, or you can compost the used soil (and the microgreen roots) in your kitchen for the next batch. Read more about reusing soil over at Microgreens Corner.

Step-By-Step Guide To Growing Microgreens

1. Soak seeds at room temperature over night (8-12 hrs).

2. The next day, thoroughly moisten growing soil. Spread soil to 1cm in bottom of container.
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3. Spread soaked seeds along soil surface. Aim for an even, single layer, but it's not vital. Seed densely; it's perfectly fine if the seeds are touching each other.
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4. Cover the container & set aside. Covering the container keeps the moisture at an ideal level.

5. When the majority of seeds have sprouted (this takes a few days), move to a window so they can green up. Keep the lid off from here on in.
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6. Gently water them a bit every day.

7. At 7-10 days (for most types), roots will be well established & leaves will be bright green.

8. Most people harvest microgreens at around 2 weeks, when they are between 1-2 inches tall.
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Just like with succession planting in the garden, it's good to get a few rounds of Microgreens going. It takes 14 days for most to grow, so if you plant new seeds, in a second container, once every week, you should have your microgreen needs covered. Have fun! xo
Microgreen Seeds

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