This is a step-by-step tutorial how to grow microgreens at home all year. It takes minimal supplies and ready to harvest in less than 7 days.
Step by Step Tutorial How to Grow Microgreens at Home
I have always loved the idea of growing my own fruits and vegetables indoors, so when my son suggested growing microgreens at home, I said, “Why not.” The results were amazing.
So, if you have ever thought about growing microgreens yourself, but don’t know how to begin, here’s a simple step by step tutorial full of tips and tricks.
What Are Microgreens?
To begin, microgreens are just that, the green part of a young plant, meaning that it is above the ground, rather than the sprouts or seeds, which you would normally find under the surface of the soil.
You’ll find that they also go by a number of “other” names like MicroGreens, Micro Greens, even Micro-Greens, but anyway you spell it they are nutritionally sound and packed with an abundance of vitamins and heart-healthy nutrients.
In fact, a study that was conducted by the Maryland College of Natural Resources (AGNR) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found the nutrients in microgreens to be “four to 40 times” higher than the plants they produce. It’s definitely something to consider when pondering the upside of growing your own microgreens.
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Where Can You Grow Microgreens?
What’s even more enticing is that you can grow microgreens in a variety of locations. So whether you own your home or condo, or rent an apartment, as long as you have a sunny sill to hold the growing container, you’re good to go.
Did You Know? Growing microgreens is a great family activity. Not only will you be able to share with your children the joy of planting and harvesting something delicious to eat, they’ll also learn the plant cycle, that is so important to our planet Earth.
Better still, you can grow microgreens indoors all year, so that you can keep your fridge stocked with the freshest and cheapest microgreens available–and you grew it yourself.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that microgreens have a short shelf life. So once you harvest the greens, you can only store them up to five days in the refrigerator.
Which means for those folks wanting to grow a “field of greens” (no pun intended), you’ll have to eat quite a lot. Because at a certain point, even microgreens can no longer be harvested and will have to be either transplanted in your outdoor garden or ugh! tossed in the compost bin or trash. Now that’s not a great scenario, especially when you put the time and effort into growing them.
For folks who don’t feel comfortable going this “homemade” route, there are microgreen kits available. Everything is included.
So my recommendation is to start out small in the beginning to see how much your family will consume on a weekly basis. Besides, it really doesn’t take long to grow microgreens. The average time from start to finish is approximately seven to ten days max.
How to Avoid Microgreens Salmonella and E. coli
Now, some folks may be a bit squeamish because they worry that microgreens may harbor salmonella or E. coli.
The truth of the matter is that no one can make a promise that this won’t ever happen–but it rarely occurs if you follow the careful preparation and presoak instructions listed below.
However, it goes without saying, the key to avoiding any sort of contamination is to make sure that your planting vessel, the implements you use to sew the seeds, to the scissors you use to cut the microgreens are clean from the start.
Additionally, make sure you also use fresh soil for each planting. That way, you’ll stave off any bacteria and germs from showing up in your planting bed.
Which Microgreen Seeds to Grow Indoors?
Microgreens come in a variety of flavors and blends that you can grow indoors. Here are just a few of options when choosing microgreen seeds:
Growers also use a mix of two or more to make a “blend” of seeds. Just make sure that you purchase certified organic non-GMO sprouting seed mixes.
By the way, these are the seeds (see image below) I use for growing microgreens at home. My son found these on Amazon. It is a delicious salad mix. And, best of all, a one pound bag will last you a long time and many enjoyable harvests.
Tutorial for Planting Microgreens Indoors
Here’s the step by step process how to grow microgreens indoors at home.
Skill Level: Easy
What You’ll Need:
- shallow growing tray and drip pan
- hydrogen peroxide
- organic planting soil
- microgreen seeds
- small hand trowel
- aluminum foil
Prepare Your Microgreen Seeds
1. Presoak your seeds. Start with a clean bowl and add 1/4 cup of microgreen seeds.
2. To this add 1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide.
3. Next, add 1 2/3 cups of water. (Tap or distilled water will do).
4. Cover with aluminum foil and place bowl in a dark space for 12 hours.
To Plant Microgreen Seeds:
5. After 12 hours, drain and rinse the seeds well. Set aside.
5a. Seeds before rinsing.
5b. Rinsed seeds.
6. Into the planting tray, fill with organic potting soil, 1/2 of the way up the side.
6a. Organic Potting Soil recommended for planting.
6b. Planting container.
7. Using a flat spatula or plate, evenly press down the soil.
8. Next, sprinkle the soil with water and be sure to dampen well.
9. Distribute seeds evenly over the surface of the soil, making sure that the seeds are in a single layer. (Author Note: I used a straight spatula to help me do the task.)
10. Sprinkle again with water and make sure that the seeds are damp. (No need to cover the seeds with soil.)
11. Wrap planting tray with aluminum foil and again, place the tray in a darkened space, room temperature. Some suggested places are in the basement, a closet, or storage room–not in the garage, especially if the temperature is below 60 degrees F (too cold) or above 90 degrees F (t00 hot).
12. Then, water the tray at least 2x per day–one time in the morning, one time in the evening. Be careful not to overwater. A spray bottle helps with this task.
13. Keep the planting tray in the dark for 2-3 days.
14. Afterwards, remove the tray from the dark area. The seedlings will have a grayish tinge because of the lack of chlorophyll. This is normal. Once the seedlings get some sunshine, the leaves will turn green.
15. Make sure you place the tray in a sunny spot. A southern exposure is preferred for maximum results, although any sunny spot will do. However, keep the plants away from any cold drafts.
15. After, 3-4 days, the seedlings will have grown to approximately 1-3 inches max. At which time, you can start to harvest your microgreens.
To Harvest Your Microgreens:
16. With a clean pair of scissors cut the microgreens 1/3 – 1/4 above the base of the stem. Avoid pulling up any soil in the process, so as to not contaminate your harvest.
17. Then, place the cut microgreens in a covered container. You can store your microgreens in the refrigerator 2 to 5 days.
An alternative way to harvest your microgreens is to cut only what you will need for that day’s meal(s). You can leave the rest of the microgreens uncut until you are ready to use them. However, be sure to use them before the plant matures. This means from the time you start the presoak to full harvest, 7-10 days or 1 – 2 inches of green stems.
18. Dispose of the soil so that there won’t be any chance of contamination. Also, you’ll want to do this because the potting soil quickly becomes a mat of roots with a bunch of decomposing plant matter. And, it’s very difficult to replant afterwards. (Author’s Note: We compost the used soil in our gardens, which could always use more soil and nutrients, anyway.)
19. Finally, clean the planting container and refill with fresh organic potting soil. Repeat, starting with Step #1.
How to Use Your Microgreens
From a culinary point of view, microgreens can be used in a variety of recipes and are delicious in:
• Main Entrees
So, now that you know how to grow microgreens at home, you can see it really isn’t difficult to do. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and give it a try yourself. Happy Gardening!
And, for more great ideas on planting, indoors or out, be sure to check out: Garden with Wisconsin Homemaker.