I just love microgreens. They add a burst of flavor and nutritional value to any dish, they’re easy to grow indoors in just a few simple steps, and best of all, they’re incredibly delicious!
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in indoor gardening, and one of the most popular trends in this space is growing microgreens.
Microgreens are young, edible plants harvested just a few days after germinating. They are packed with nutrients and offer a unique and delicious flavor to dishes. With their popularity on the rise, many people are now interested in growing them indoors.
In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of growing microgreens indoors and answer some common questions, like whether it’s worth it to grow your own microgreens and if you can grow micro greens all year round.
So, let’s dive into the world of microgreens and discover why they might just be the perfect addition to your indoor gardening journey.
What are microgreens?
Microgreens are young, edible plants that are harvested shortly after they sprout. They are not a specific type of plant but rather any edible plant that is harvested at the cotyledon or first true leaf stage.
They are also known as seed leaves because they are generally the first leaves to emerge from a seed. Microgreens offer an array of flavors and nutritional benefits, making them a popular addition to salads and other dishes.
One of the great things about microgreens is that they come in a wide variety of flavors and textures, so you can experiment and find the ones that you like best.
Unfortunately, micro greens can be expensive, especially when purchased at the store. This is primarily because they must be grown in a controlled environment and harvested at their peak of freshness.
Additionally, since microgreens are typically sold by weight rather than volume, they tend to cost more per pound than larger produce items.
Therefore, if you want to enjoy microgreens on a regular basis, growing them yourself is the most cost-effective option. Not only will you save money, but you can also be sure that your greens are always fresh and nutritious.
12 Reasons why you should start eating microgreens
There are many health benefits when you grow microgreens indoors, some of which include the following:
- Rich in vitamins and minerals: Microgreens are rich in vitamins A, C, E, K and B complex vitamins as well as calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
- Increased nutrient density: Because they are harvested early, microgreens have a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals than their mature counterparts. Studies have shown that microgreens can contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts. If we take the micro sprouts of broccoli, for example, recent studies have found that 15 grams of these sprouts contain 30 times more antioxidants than 150 grams of mature broccoli.
- Improved digestion: The high fiber content of microgreens helps keep digestive systems functioning properly and aids in nutrient absorption.
- Reduced risk of heart disease: Certain types of microgreens contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improved cardiovascular health.
- Improved immunity: Microgreens are rich in Vitamin C, which helps the body fight infections and keep your immune system strong.
- Reduced inflammation: Some microgreens contain compounds that can help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
- Increased energy levels: The high levels of vitamins and minerals in microgreens can help boost energy levels and provide sustained energy throughout the day.
- Improved vision: Certain types of microgreens contain lutein, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your eyes from age-related damage.
Overall, growing microgreens indoors is a great way to enjoy the health benefits they offer while also saving money in the long run. With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy fresh microgreens all year round and reap the rewards of their many health benefits.
What Type of microgreens can I grow indoors?
There are many different types of microgreens that you can grow indoors, each with its own unique flavor and nutritional benefits. Here are some popular options:
- Arugula: Arugula microgreens have a spicy, peppery flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and iron.
- Broccoli: Broccoli microgreens have a mild, nutty flavor and are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.
- Sunflower: Sunflower microgreens have a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C, and D, as well as iron, magnesium, and other minerals.
- Wheatgrass: Wheatgrass microgreens have a slightly sweet, grassy flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iron, calcium, and other nutrients.
- Beet: Beet microgreens have a mild, earthy flavor and are high in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and calcium.
- Pea: Pea microgreens have a sweet, delicate flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as protein and fiber.
- Basil: Basil microgreens have a sweet, aromatic flavor and are high in vitamins A and C, iron, and magnesium.
- Cabbage: Cabbage microgreens have a mild, sweet flavor and are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and protein.
Radish microgreens are often considered the easiest to grow. They quickly germinate and mature, taking only 5 to 7 days from seed to harvest. They can be grown in soil or hydroponically, making them a versatile choice for indoor gardening.
Additionally, radish microgreens have a delicious, slightly spicy flavor and are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
What do I need to grow microgreens indoors?
To get started growing microgreens, you will need a few essential supplies.
1. Microgreen Seeds:
Choose seeds that are specifically labeled for microgreens. These are often sold in bulk and can be found in online seed catalogs or at your local garden center. Be sure to choose seeds labeled as organic and non-GMO for the healthiest microgreens.
We recommend buying from High Mowing Organic Seeds, which has more than 700 heirlooms, open-pollinated and hybrid varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower seeds.
2. Growing Medium:
You will need a growing medium to plant your microgreens. A soilless seed starting mix is ideal, but you can also pick any other sterile potting soil, like vermiculite or coconut coir. Choose a medium that is clean, sterile, and free from contaminants.
You will need containers to plant your microgreens in. These can range from peat pots and growing trays to ceramic pots, as long as they have drainage holes and are the right size for your microgreens. You should also ensure your containers have drainage holes and are the appropriate size for your microgreens.
4. Humidity Dome of plastic wrap:
A humidity dome (or plastic wrap) creates a mini-greenhouse effect and retains moisture. This will help your microgreens seeds germinate faster and grow better.
5. Light Source:
Microgreens need adequate light to grow, so you will need a light source. You can use natural light from a windowsill or artificial light from grow lights.
6. Watering Can or Spray Bottle:
You will need to water your microgreens regularly, so you will need a watering can or spray bottle to moisten the growing medium.
7. Scissors or Harvest Knife:
You will need to harvest your microgreens when they reach the appropriate size, so you will need a pair of scissors or a harvest knife.
8. Heat Mat:
Heat mats are generally optional, but they can help speed up the germination and growth of your microgreens. Heat mats are particularly useful if you live in an area with cold winters, as seeds need a temperature of around 70-85°F to germinate.
So if your home is on the cooler side, a heat mat can help you get your microgreens up and running faster. Heat mats are relatively cheap and easy to find online or at garden centers.
If you do not want to bother too much and want to get an Indoor Microgreen Grow System, then I recommend Leath with their Fieldhouse system. With the right supplies and a little bit of knowledge, anyone can get started growing microgreens indoors! Have fun and enjoy your homegrown microgreens!
How do you start indoor microgreens – In Soil or Water?
The best indoor microgreen setup is one that meets your specific needs. An effective indoor microgreen setup should provide adequate light, ventilation, and a comfortable growing temperature.
Some people ask whether it is better if microgreens grow in soil or water. It really depends on your preferences and growing conditions. Growing microgreens in soil is a popular choice as it is similar to traditional gardening, making it easier for beginners.
Soil provides adequate drainage and can retain moisture better than hydroponic systems. However, hydroponic systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their ease of use and the fact that they don’t require additional soil or containers.
The only downside of hydroponics is that you need to pay close attention to the water levels for your microgreens to thrive. Ultimately, the choice between growing in soil or water is up to you and depends on your individual needs and preferences.
Regardless of which method you choose, when you grow microgreens at home, you get a rewarding experience.
Not only can you enjoy fresh, nutritious greens all year long, but you also know that you grew them yourself! Start your own indoor microgreen garden today and reap the benefits for years to come!
By following the steps below, you can easily get started and grow microgreens at home.
How to grow microgreens in soil
Growing microgreens in soil is a popular choice as it is similar to traditional gardening. Here are the steps for how to grow microgreens in soil:
Step 1 – Prepare Soil Mix:
Fill containers approximately one-third full of a quality soilless potting mix or a combination of soil and compost.
Step 2 – Add Microgreen Seeds:
Spread the microgreen seeds evenly over the surface of the soil mix and gently press them into it with your fingers or a spoon.
Some types of microgreens, such as peas and radishes, do better when pre-soaked in water for a couple of hours before planting. However, it is not necessary to soak other types of microgreens beforehand.
Step 3. Cover the Seeds:
Cover the seeds with a thin layer of additional soil mix. This helps keep the seeds in place and encourages even germination.
Extra Tip: Keep your indoor garden well-ventilated to ensure your microgreens stay healthy and strong. Proper air circulation will help prevent any diseases or pests from attacking your crops. Additionally, make sure you water your microgreens regularly and keep the soil evenly moist at all times. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy a bounty of delicious homegrown microgreens!
Step 4 – Add Water:
Lightly water the containers with a mister or fine-spray bottle until the soil is evenly moist but not soggy. You should not need additional nutrients at this stage, as the potting mix should provide adequate nutrition for your microgreens.
Step 5 – Cover Containers:
Cover containers with plastic wrap, a humidity dome, or another suitable cover to keep the soil moist and encourage even germination. You can remove the cover when the microgreens seeds sprout.
Step 6 – Place Containers in a Sunny Windowsill:
Place your containers in an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. You can supplement natural light with grow lamps to ensure your microgreens get enough light.
Step 7 – Final Steps:
Keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy, and cover the containers with a layer of plastic wrap or lid to trap moisture and prevent the soil from drying out.
Caring for Your Microgreens Garden
Water your microgreens regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. If necessary, you can add a weak nutrient solution every few weeks to ensure your microgreens are getting enough nutrition.
Additionally, rotate or move your containers around occasionally if they are in an area that gets direct sunlight all day long. This will help prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.
Indoor microgreens need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day or supplemental lighting from grow lights. You may need to move your containers around periodically to ensure they get adequate light throughout the day.
LED Grow lights should be placed at a distance of 12 – 18 inches from your microgreens. The exact distance will depend on the type and intensity of light you are using.
In general, the closer the light source is to your plants, the more intense the light will be. However, keeping the lights far enough away is important, so they don’t burn or dry out your plants.
Once your plants have sprouted, you can add a weak liquid fertilizer every few weeks to give them an extra nutrient boost. Use fertilizers designed specifically for microgreens or dilute a general all-purpose fertilizer according to the instructions on the label.
Microgreens should be harvested when they have developed their first set of true leaves. This usually takes 7-14 days depending on the variety.
The easiest way to harvest microgreens is to use scissors or kitchen shears. To ensure that your microgreens continue to produce new growth, you should only harvest the top portion of the plant and leave enough stem at the base so it can regrow. This is known as “cut-and-come-again” harvesting and is a great way to get multiple harvests from one planting.
Alternatively, you can pull up the entire plant from the root with your fingers, which is known as “thinning”. Thinning should only be done if there are more plants growing in one container than you need.
Once your microgreens have been harvested, they will stay fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator if they are kept moist and wrapped in paper towels or an airtight container.
If you plan on using them sooner, it is best to harvest and consume them the same day. After harvesting, the microgreens should be washed thoroughly with cold water before eating.
Troubleshooting Common Problems When Growing Microgreens
If your microgreens are not growing as well as you would like, it could be due to various factors. Here are some of the most common problems and how to fix them:
If your seeds aren’t germinating, it could be caused by old or poor quality seeds. Try using fresh seeds from a reputable company and ensure that your soil temperature is at least 70°F (21°C) for best results.
If the leaves of your microgreens are yellowing or discoloring, it could be due to too much light or not enough moisture. Move your containers to a location with indirect sunlight or increase watering.
If your germinated seeds are not growing as quickly as expected, it could be due to poor soil nutrition or too much shade. Add a weak liquid fertilizer every few weeks and ensure that your plants get at least 6 hours of direct light daily.
If your microgreens are wilting, it could be due to too much heat or not enough moisture. Move your containers to an area with indirect sunlight and increase watering as needed.
Pests or Diseases:
Common pests and diseases that can affect microgreens include fungal diseases, bacterial diseases, insect pests, mold, and mildew.
To prevent these issues, keep your growing area clean and well-maintained, use clean water and growing medium, and avoid overwatering or overcrowding your microgreens. Natural pest control methods like neem oil or insecticidal soap can also effectively control insect pests.
Growing your own microgreens can be a rewarding experience that provides fresh, nutrient-rich greens year-round. Microgreens are easy to grow and require minimal time and effort. With the right environment, seeds, soil, water, and sunlight, you will have homegrown microgreens in no time.
Once you start growing your own microgreens, you will better understand the process and be able to experiment with different varieties.
Share your experiences in the comments and connect with other home growers for tips and advice.