Growing Microgreens

Microgreens are the small shoots of plants; Basically, younger versions of plants you're likely familiar with like Swiss chard, arugula, basil, broccoli, mustard greens, and more. Microgreens are harvested after the first set of true leaves appear, so they never mature to a full-sized plant.

Learn more about true leaves.

Why Grow Microgreens? 

In addition to being easy to grow, they require no special equipment, virtually no space, and they pack a nutritional punch. In fact, recent research shows microgreens contain exponentially more nutrients than their mature versions

I hear from people who feel overwhelmed by gardening and growing vegetables - they worry about the space and time they need to devote to plants, or they're apartment dwellers and don't think they have any place to grow nutritious food. In fact, microgreens are the perfect crop for apartment dwellers who have one sunny window. Microgreens are the least intimidating thing I grow - they don't require much attention and I don't have to worry about perfectly spacing seeds or thinning seedlings when it's time. I grow them under grow lights indoors because I have them, but a sunny window will do. We're soon approaching the longest day of the year too, so you've got LOTS of sunlight to take advantage of.

I recently grew three different kinds of microgreens: Spicy Mix, Rainbow Chard, and Mild Mix

How to Grow Microgreens

You can use almost any container -- old pie tins, reused Styrofoam take-out containers, peat pots, or what I use - seed-starting trays.

  1. Dampen your soil. You can use seed-starting mix. (I use Espoma's seed starting mix. You can also mix your own seed-starting mix.

  2. Add about 1-2 inches of soil to your container.

  3. Scatter seeds as evenly as possible across the container.

  4. Add a thin layer of soil and cover with plastic wrap.

  5. Spritz the top layer with water to moisten well.

  6. Put the tray next to a sunny window or under grow lights. (If temperature is a concern, use a heat mat underneath.)

  7. When seeds start to sprout remove the plastic wrap and allow the greens to continue to grow.

  8. Keep soil moist throughout their growth using a spray bottle or light watering can.

The length of time it will take until harvest will depend on the seed. Refer to the seed packet instructions for details. Microgreens are ready to harvest after the first true leaves appear. To harvest microgreens, cut about an inch above the soil line and rinse the greens. I put my microgreens in a shallow bowl lined with a paper towel and toss occasionally over a few hours to try to dry them out before putting them in a plastic bag and refrigerating them.

Microgreen seeds vary in size - some are smaller than others.

Microgreen seeds vary in size - some are smaller than others.

Don't forget to label your microgreens. I'm growing two kinds in the same tray, so I keep them labeled.
One of my grow light systems.

One of my grow light systems.

Rainbow Chard Microgreens
Cut about an inch above the soil when harvesting microgreens.
I put microgreen cuttings directly in a strainer and wash them right from there.
Air dry washed microgreens and dry them in a shallow bowl lined with a paper towel.

Air dry washed microgreens and dry them in a shallow bowl lined with a paper towel.

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine