How to Grow Microgreens: The Perfect Way to Garden in Your Kitchen

Seed-Starting Guide: Light Requirements for Seedlings | Home for the Harvest

Microgreens are one of the easiest and healthiest edible plants to grow at home. They can be harvested a week after planting rather than waiting the months it takes to harvest most vegetables. Once you learn how to grow microgreens, you’ll have them growing in your kitchen all the time!

Make sure to grab your free printable instructions at the end of this post so you’ll remember all the details.

How to Grow Microgreens | Home for the Harvest Gardening Blog

What are Microgreens?

Microgreens are the tender shoots of baby vegetable plants. These miniature versions of select edibles have a delicate flavour and are packed with nutrients. Microgreens are quickly becoming a mainstay in restaurants as customers look for healthy fresh options. You might have seen microgreens mixed into a fresh salad or perched on top of a plated dish.

Grow Microgreens - Home for the Harvest Gardening Blog

Microgreens are very similar to sprouts but are grown with soil and light rather than just water. I no longer grow sprouts, due to the potential for bacteria growth. The damp, closed air environment in which sprouts are grown is a potential breeding ground for bacteria. Microgreens have a lower risk of bacteria than sprouts because they are grown in an open-air, soil-based environment similar to an outdoor garden.

Microgreens after Germination | Home for the Harvest Gardening Blog

How to Grow Microgreens at Home

Fortunately, microgreens are easier to grow at home than most vegetables. They also cost very little once you have the supplies. Once you get set up and learn how to grow microgreens, you can have a year-round source of healthy vegetables growing on your kitchen counter. You simply sprout vegetable seeds in sterilized soil, allow the plant to grow into a little shoot, and then harvest when they are a few inches high.

Once you’ve learned how to grow microgreens, you’ll love using them in the kitchen. Toss in some microgreens with a store-bought salad for an instant gourmet facelift. They are also perfect in sandwiches and tacos. Microgreens can also be included in smoothies, a stir-fry, or placed on top of a bowl of soup. I even place them on top of cooked fish for a pop of colour.

How to Grow Microgreens | Home for the Harvest

How to Grow Microgreens

Supplies: Growing Microgreens

  • Tray: Seed-starting trays or repurposed take-out trays. If you don’t want to use plastic, you can use a single baking tin or pyrex dish (between 1″-2″ deep). Having a lid or cover for the tray will help with germination.
  • Mesh Strainer: metal or plastic. Ensure the holes in the strainer are smaller than the seeds, so as not to wash out any seeds.
  • Seeds: Certified Organic, Pathogen-Free Sprouting Seeds. Start with large seeds such as peas, sunflower, buckwheat, or wheatgrass (peas are my favourite!). I like Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds (Canadian). Botanical Interests in the US sells a nice collection of microgreen seeds so you can test different types.
  • Soil: Sterile seed-starting mix. Choose an organic potting soil that does not have chemical fertilizers mixed in.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: 3% hydrogen peroxide solution (sold at drugstores and grocery stores).
  • Light: Sunny patio/window, or a plant light; If you have a very sunny window or patio free from pests, your microgreens may grow well without any additional light. If you don’t have such a space, or would like bushier microgreens, use a fluorescent light or a compact LED plant light.
  • Water: Filtered water is best. If using tap water, allow it to sit on the counter in a container for several hours to off-gas the chlorine. I use this Berkey Water Filter for all of our kitchen water.
  • Spray Bottle: Misting bottle full of filtered water.
  • Knife: Sharp chef’s knife (or scissors if greens will be used immediately).

If you’re just starting, you may want to consider simply buying a microgreens kit such as this beginner kit or this full kitchen garden tray kit. It may be more economical than buying all the supplies separately.

Growing Sprouts with Sprouting Seeds | Home for the Harvest Gardening Blog

Steps: Preparing the Seeds and Planting the Microgreens

  1. Measure out your seeds. Pour enough seeds into the tray so that the seeds cover about half the available area. The seeds should be almost touching each other, but not quite. Set the seeds aside.
  2. Sanitize all your supplies and your work area. I use my dishwasher’s sanitize setting to sanitize the tray, mesh strainer, and knife.
  3. Treat your seeds to combat pathogens/fungus. I follow the University of California method, in which seeds are immersed in a mixture of warm water and drugstore hydrogen peroxide for 5 minutes. There is an excellent, step-by-step overview of the process on page 2 of these instructions. Ensure you don’t let the seeds sit in the solution for too long, and be sure to rinse them thoroughly following treatment.
  4. Following treatment, soak the seeds in the tray for 6-8 hours in filtered water.
  5. Pour seeds into the mesh strainer, rinse, and set aside to drain.
  6. Fill the tray with sterile soil mix until soil is about 3 cm (1 inch) deep. This amount of soil doesn’t have to be exact. Using less soil is cheaper, but using more soil will raise up the greens and make them easier to harvest. Gently compress the soil mix in the tray as you fill it to create a flat planting surface.
  7. Water soil with filtered water so that the soil is moist but not dripping wet.
  8. Evenly distribute the rinsed seeds onto the moist soil surface.
  9. Lightly compress the seeds into the soil.
  10. Cover the tray with the lid. If your tray has no lid, cover the t ray with another tray or with clear plastic wrap. It is possible to grow microgreens without any sort of lid, but the lid can help with the germination process.

Grow Microgreens - Home for the Harvest Gardening Blog

Steps: Care and Maintenance for Growing Microgreens

  1. Once or twice per day, lift the lid and check on your seeds. If the soil has become dry at all, mist the seeds with filtered water to keep them moist.
  2. When the seeds have germinated and you can see a little sprout, remove the lid/covering and place the tray in a sunny warm indoor area, on the patio, or under a plant light.
  3. As the greens grow, ensure the soil is moist but not overly wet. Pour off any excess water to prevent fungus problems.
  4. Check the seeds daily for growth and soil moisture.  Harvest just as the second set of leaves appear (7 to 14 days after germination). Experiment with different ages of microgreens to find the stage that you like best.
  5. To harvest, cut the microgreens with a sharp knife right above the soil line. Only use scissors if the microgreens will be used within a few days.
  6. Wash the greens by fully submerging in cold water.
  7. Spread the greens onto a clean towel to dry.
  8. To store, wrap them in paper towels and place in an airtight container or bag in the fridge.
  9. The used soil can be composted, and you can start all over again!

Since there are a lot of steps to growing microgreens, I’ve put together a set of printable instructions for you. Download your copy using the form below. Save the cheat sheet on your computer or print it out and put it on your fridge!

Microgreens Printable Instructions

Basil microgreen label

Enter your info to subscribe and get your printable instructions!

Powered by ConvertKit

Would you like to connect with other gardeners on Facebook? Join the free Organic Gardening group, and share your gardening questions, photos, and stories in the daily threads :) Everyone is welcome!

How to Grow Microgreens | Home for the Harvest

Have you tried growing your own microgreens? Have you taught your friends and family how to grow microgreens? What varieties of microgreens are your favourite to eat? Share your questions and stories in the comments section below!

Microgreens Printable Instructions

Basil microgreen label

Enter your info to subscribe and get your printable instructions!

Powered by ConvertKit

Recent Content