First, I must tell you that I am super excited, because if you are reading this post, it means that you have an idea and a desire to grow your own food. To somehow become a little bit more self-sufficient. Even if this is just a small part of what you will grow on your own, you will see how blissfully happy you will become. Knowing that you have grown something by your own hand, with seeds and soil that are preferably organic, is extremely fulfilling. I remember when we (my partner Boštjan and I) were growing our first batch of microgreens, how excited we were, just like kids waiting for presents under the tree. Our eyes were so big as we patiently watched the first seeds split open to push out tender sprouts. Lovely, beautiful small plants.
Space for growing
If you are a bit anxious on where you will grow your microgreens, let me calm you. In my entire career in microgreens, which is now already 5 years long, I have never heard from any customer who was not able to find a good spot or place to grow them on their own. Having a sunny windowsill is perfect, but really anywhere on a kitchen countertop (to have them near your cooking area), out on the balcony, under a skylight, or in any other room where you have a bit of shelf space for the trays, will work just as well. We use small trays, approx. 13 x 18 cm (5 x 7 inches), which are ideal for windowsills.
Windowsill is perfect for our small trays to grow microgreens at home.
You are probably searching all over the internet to get as much information on microgreens as you can. Back then I was the same. I was so happy to read any and all literature that I found on the topic. But then I realized that there really is a lot of different information and techniques available on the internet at times, the best way to choose the right one, is to simply try for yourself and see what suits you best. In order to help you choose, I can tell you that in our case, our main objective was always to SIMPLIFY, and yes, I know you are probably thinking on the same lines. So let me help you start. I will tell you what we are using and what other options are out there.
- Growing medium – We swear by soil. We tried several options like rockwool, coco fibres, different types of soil and the bottom line was that organic soil for seedlings worked the best. Here is one, you can try.
- Trays/containers – in general in the USA, commercial growers use 10˝-20˝ (33-45 cm) trays, like this ONE for microgreens. But from our experience, we noticed that smaller trays are more convenient for home growing. You can easily find a space for them if you have smaller trays. Instead of throwing away the packaging that fresh fruit and mushrooms come in, you can reuse them as growing trays (*picture below). We use small trays (13 x 18 cm – 5.12˝ x 7.09˝). Another advantage of smaller trays is that you can grow more varieties at the same time, and our chefs love it. (For those interested in microgreens as a business, we will discuss this further in a separate blog post). Trays should have drainage holes on the bottom so that you can water your beauties from below. Just punched holes into containers with some stanley knife or screwdriver.
You can reuse several containers.
- Seeds – I cannot stress how important it is to have good, quality, preferably organic seeds. Perhaps this is THE most important thing, when you want to grow microgreens on your own, right after the perfect growing medium. So have a look through our general post HERE, where we have listed the best suppliers of quality seeds from around the world. I am sure you will find some suppliers that will fit your needs. For home growing, it is better to buy in smaller quantities, so that you get fresh seeds every order. Store them in dark, cool and dry place to ensure high germination rates. For beginners and home use, we suggest plants that are easy and fast to grow and have superior taste. Although we all have different tastes, here is our selection. Broccoli, red Russian kale, mustard, garden cress, radish, pea, sunflower (the seeds of the latter two need to be presoaked).
4. Tools – Basically you need just a few tools for home fun. A spray bottle to mist seeds in the beginning, any type of cover (e.g. a cloth, another tray without drainage holes, paper towels…), anything that will help in preserving moisture during the day. Finally, when your microgreens are ready, you will need good scissors or a knife for harvesting them. The best thing about home growing is that you don’t need to harvest your entire tray at once, but you can cut as much as you need, and leave the rest to keep growing. For deeper look into needed supplies read this post.
Basic equipment for homegrowing microgreens.
Step by step action
- Cover the bottom of the container/tray that has drainage holes with the potting soil. Flatten and level the soil gently with your hand.
- Spread the seeds as evenly as you can on top of the soil so they are close but not touching or layered. Use a spray bottle to generously mist the soil.
- Microgreens need a warm dark place to germinate. The best is to use a second growing tray (but you can also use a wet cloth or paper towel), turn it upside down, and place it on top of the first tray creating a mini dark room for the seeds, then wait until the seeds are sprouted. Room temperature is perfect for germination. Mist the seeds with the spray bottle everyday as they should never dry out.
- Around 2-3 days later, the first results can be observed. The seeds split and microscopic roots appear. These are called root hairs and are most visible just before watering. Many people confuse these root hairs for mould, but they are not. At this point the seeds should remain covered.
- When your plants have grown (approx. 1˝, 2-3 cm) and begin to shed their hulls they are ready for light, so you can move them to a well lighted location. If they are exposed more to sunlight, you should water more frequently. Room light will usually do quite nicely. Put the upper part of the container under the tray with soil and fill it with water. This is the best way to water the microgreens. Do not overdo it, and always pour off any excess water that collects in the drip tray.
- After about 7 to 10 days, your little microgreens should be ready to harvest. Using scissors cut the small greens just above ground level (together with the stems). Microgreens can be eaten immediately, or you can refrigerate them and use within a few days. Properly packaged, they can last for several days in the fridge.
Fresh microgreens should be used raw due to their delicate nature and sensitive nutrients. Mix them in with cooked dishes right before serving. Cooking them is not recommended in order to preserve all the delicate nutrients. Follow the link to get some ideas of how to use your microgreens. And if you will want to deepen your knowledge with growing microgreens, then ckeck out our online courses.
Our gift kit for homegrowing microgreens.
Want to learn more?
If you have any questions about the information cited in this post or about microgreens in general, please leave a comment below or reach out to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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