How to Grow Microgreens

by Daisy

How does a crop that goes from seed to harvest in only ten days sound?

If you’re an impatient gardener like me and you check your garden the day after you sow it in the secret hope that your plants have grown, oh, knee-high, then this could be just your thing.

It’s microgreens.  I first discovered them in the seed rack at the garden center and was smitten by the gorgeous colors and textures of the photo on the packet.  But what was it exactly?  Plant in trays and harvest in a week and a half? Wait a minute.  Is it mesclun?  Mixed lettuce?

Not exactly.  Microgreens are the seeds of vegetable and herb plants grown just to the stage of their first few baby leaves.  Super-high in nutrients, they’re harvested by snipping the stems just above the soil and enjoyed fresh in a variety of dishes.

If you’ve ever encountered microgreens, chances are it was in an upscale restaurant.  Chefs appreciate microgreens for their beauty, their variety, and the intense flavor punch they deliver.

Seldom available in supermarkets, and at eye-popping prices when they are, growing your own is definitely the way to go.  Fortunately, it’s criminally easy to do.

What you need:

soiless planting mix
spray bottle

Purchase a packet of a microgreens blend or select individual packets and blend your own or sow separate containers of each seed.  Good choices include lettuce, arugula, broccoli, celery, radish, beet, chard, herbs, and asian greens.

A soiless mix without fertilizer makes a good planting medium.  Moisten the medium in a separate container, blending well to allow the water to absorb fully.

Clear-lidded plastic “clamshell” containers saved from take-out make excellent mini-greenhouses.  Poke a couple of ventilation holes in the top. Fill it about 1 inch deep with the moist planting medium.  Use a fork to smooth the surface evenly.  I love this part.  I feel like a tiny farmer.

Sow the seeds about 1/8” to 1/4” apart.  Gently tamp the seeds down.

With your sprayer, mist the seeds and close the container or cover with plastic wrap.

Place in a sunny window and wait.

As soon as the next day you may begin to see some activity.

You can pop open the top or remove the plastic wrap as the plants become established.

Mist with water as the soil begins to feel dry.

When the plants have a few leaves, take your scissors and harvest the tiny bounty.  Rinse gently and store as you would lettuce in a crisper.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

bushidoka May 28, 2010 at 7:23 am

Here is a video I did on doing the same thing in mason jars.

Mat May 28, 2010 at 9:06 am

How do you eat these? Just pop them in with a salad?

Tomato Lady May 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

Mat–Here are some ideas:
toss with a subtly-flavored vinaigrette and serve over fresh mozzarella and sliced tomatoes
as an artistic topknot atop a tender filet
mixed into a salad of mixed lettuces for extra zing
as garnish for canapes and other appetizers
on sandwiches instead of sprouts

katie May 28, 2010 at 10:15 am

This is such a good idea! My kids are small (so we don’t run super high on patience) and I think they’d really enjoy this. We’re going to try it. Thanks!

Laurie in Arkansas May 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm

That is so cool! Like sprouts except fully green!So am I right in assuming that you only get one snip out of each plant and then you have to replant?

Tomato Lady May 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Laurie–Yep, it’s once and done.

Alice May 28, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Thanks TL. I can do this and feel like I am gardening once again.

JavaLady May 29, 2010 at 6:53 am

Awesome. I will DO this. Since I didn’t get in a real garden this year (hanging my head in shame) this sounds wonderful. I am tired of sprouts. Thanks !!

Tanya Walton May 29, 2010 at 11:16 am

I sow all sorts of different salad and herb leaves and cut them from quite tiny to quite big…depending on my impatience and what I’m cooking so maybe i already grow the micro greens?!?!?!

Handful June 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Perhaps this will tide me over for a few more days. We planted corn and beans two days ago and, alas, none for supper tonight.

Checking the garden is the first thing we do when we wake up! I know I will have some sugar snap peas by tomorrow! Wait, it has been 4 hours – I gotta go… 😉

Sandra May 30, 2012 at 5:15 am

Hi. What is soiless mix? I have seedraising mix or potting mix? I haven’t heard of ‘soiless mix’. Thankss.

Daisy May 30, 2012 at 5:24 am

Sandra–Potting mix/seedraising mix is what we’re talking about. It’s sterilized so you don’t get any “volunteer seedlings” or any pathogens for your baby plants.

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