If you’re looking for how to grow your own microgreens at home, then microgreens might just be the perfect solution for you! Microgreens are young, edible seedlings that are packed with flavour and nutrients, and they’re easy to grow right on your windowsill or kitchen countertop. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to sandwiches to smoothies.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to start growing your own microgreens at home. From choosing the right seeds and growing medium to caring for your plants and harvesting your greens, we’ll cover all the basics to help you get started. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a complete novice, growing microgreens is a fun and easy way to bring fresh, healthy greens into your home all year round. So let’s get started!
Definition of Microgreens?
Microgreens are young, edible plants that are harvested just a few weeks after germination, usually when the first true leaves have developed. They are often considered a specialty crop and are typically grown in trays or containers indoors under controlled conditions, such as on a windowsill or under grow lights. Microgreens are known for their vibrant colors, distinctive flavours, and high nutritional value, making them a popular choice among health-conscious consumers and chefs alike. Examples of common microgreens include arugula, kale, radish, and basil.
What You Need to Get Started: How To Grow Your Own Microgreens At Home
To get started growing microgreens at home, you’ll need a few basic supplies. Here are the essentials:
- Seeds: Choose high-quality seeds specifically labelled for microgreens. You can find these at most gardening stores, online seed suppliers, or even at some grocery stores.
- Growing medium: Microgreens can be grown in soil or soilless mediums such as coconut coir, vermiculite, or hydroponic mats.
- Containers: You’ll need containers or trays to hold the growing medium and seeds. Plastic or wooden trays with drainage holes work well.
- Water: You’ll need a source of clean water to keep your microgreens hydrated.
- Light source: Microgreens need adequate light to grow properly. A sunny windowsill or grow lights can provide the necessary light.
- Spray bottle: A spray bottle is useful for misting your microgreens and keeping them hydrated.
- Scissors or harvest knife: You’ll need scissors or a harvest knife to cut your microgreens when they’re ready to harvest.
With these basic supplies, you’ll be well on your way to growing your own delicious and nutritious microgreens at home.
Choosing the Right Seeds: How To Grow Your Own Microgreens At Home
Choosing the right seeds is an important step in growing microgreens. Here are some factors to consider when selecting seeds for your microgreen garden:
- Seed type: Look for seeds that are specifically labelled for microgreens. These are typically selected for their flavour, colour, and nutritional value.
- Germination rate: Choose seeds with a high germination rate, as this will increase your chances of a successful harvest.
- Growth rate: Different seeds have different growth rates, so consider how quickly you want your microgreens to mature when selecting your seeds.
- Flavour: Choose seeds with a flavour that you enjoy, as this will ensure that you’ll be satisfied with the end result.
- Nutritional value: Look for seeds that are high in nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, to maximise the health benefits of your microgreens.
- Availability: Choose seeds that are readily available, as this will make it easier to restock when needed.
Some common types of seeds used for microgreens include arugula, broccoli, radish, sunflower, and wheatgrass. Consider experimenting with different seed types to find the ones that you like best. You can purchase microgreen seeds from gardening stores, online seed suppliers, or even at some grocery stores.
Planting the Seeds: How To Grow Your Own Microgreens At Home
Once you have selected your seeds, it’s time to start planting. Follow these steps to plant your microgreen seeds:
- Fill your container or tray with your chosen growing medium. The medium should be moist but not waterlogged.
- Scatter the seeds evenly over the surface of the growing medium. You can use a small spoon or your fingers to spread the seeds.
- Gently press the seeds into the growing medium. You can use the back of a spoon or your hands to press the seeds down.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of growing medium. The layer should be just enough to cover the seeds but not too thick.
- Mist the surface of the growing medium with water using a spray bottle. This will help keep the seeds moist during the germination process.
- Cover the container or tray with a lid or plastic wrap to create a mini greenhouse environment. This will help to keep the seeds warm and moist.
- Place the container or tray in a warm, well-lit area. Microgreens need bright light to grow, so consider placing them near a sunny window or under grow lights.
- Mist the seeds with water once or twice a day to keep them moist.
Within a few days, you should start to see the seeds germinate and tiny sprouts emerge from the growing medium. At this point, you can remove the cover and continue misting the microgreens daily. As they grow, you may need to thin them out to prevent overcrowding. Simply snip away any excess growth with scissors, leaving the strongest seedlings to continue growing.
Caring for Your Microgreens: How To Grow Your Own Microgreens At Home
Caring for your microgreens is relatively simple, but it does require regular attention to ensure that they grow strong and healthy. Here are some tips for caring for your microgreens:
- Watering: Microgreens need consistent moisture to grow properly. Use a spray bottle to mist the surface of the growing medium daily to keep it moist but not waterlogged.
- Light: Microgreens need bright light to grow. If you are growing them indoors, place them in a sunny window or under grow lights. Keep the lights on for 12-16 hours per day.
- Temperature: Microgreens prefer a warm, stable temperature of around 65-75°F (18-24°C). Avoid placing them in draughty areas or near heating or cooling vents.
- Fertiliser: Microgreens do not require fertiliser, but you can use a weak, diluted solution of organic fertiliser if you want to boost their growth.
- Harvesting: Microgreens are typically ready to harvest within 7-14 days of planting, depending on the type of seed. Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut the microgreens just above the soil line. Rinse them under cool water and pat them dry before using them.
- Maintenance: Keep an eye out for any signs of mould, disease, or pests, and remove any affected plants immediately to prevent them from spreading. Clean your growing containers between each batch of microgreens to prevent contamination.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your microgreens grow strong and healthy, and provide you with a steady supply of fresh, nutritious greens to enjoy.
Harvesting Your Microgreens: How To Grow Your Own Microgreens At Home
Microgreens are typically ready to harvest within 7-14 days after planting, depending on the type of seed. Here’s how to harvest your microgreens:
- Wait until the microgreens have reached a height of 1-3 inches (2.5-7.5 cm), and the first true leaves have emerged.
- Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the microgreens just above the soil line. Be careful not to damage any nearby plants.
- Rinse the microgreens under cool water to remove any dirt or debris.
- Pat the microgreens dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.
- Store the microgreens in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Microgreens are best consumed within a few days of harvesting, as they tend to lose their flavour and nutritional value over time. Use them in salads, sandwiches, smoothies, or as a garnish for your favourite dishes.
Growing your own microgreens at home is a fun, easy, and affordable way to add fresh, nutritious greens to your diet. With just a few basic supplies and some quality seeds, you can grow a variety of microgreens right in your own kitchen or backyard. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to choose the right seeds, plant and care for your microgreens, and harvest them when they are ready. By growing your own microgreens, you can enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own food and the health benefits of adding fresh greens to your diet. So, what are you waiting for? Start growing your own microgreens today!
Q1. Do I need special equipment to grow microgreens at home?
No, you do not need any special equipment to grow microgreens at home. You can use any shallow container or tray to plant your seeds, such as a plastic container, a pie dish, or a baking tray. You will also need a growing medium, such as soil or a soilless mix, and some seeds. Additionally, you may want to use a spray bottle to mist the seeds, a cover to create a mini greenhouse environment, and a grow light if you do not have access to bright sunlight.
Q2. Can I use any type of seed to grow microgreens?
While you can technically use any type of seed to grow microgreens, some seeds are better suited for this purpose than others. Look for seeds that are labelled as microgreen seeds, as these have been specifically selected for their flavour, texture, and nutritional value when grown as microgreens. Some popular microgreen seeds include arugula, broccoli, kale, mustard, and radish. Avoid using seeds that have been treated with chemicals or pesticides, as these can be harmful to your health.