Easy-to-grow microgreens big on flavor and nutrition

Easy-to-grow microgreens big on flavor and nutrition

Add fresh flavor to your meals year-round with microgreens. These easy-to-grow greens need minimal space and no special equipment for a flavorful and nutritious harvest in little more than a week. Use them on salad, soup, pizza or omelettes, in stir fries, or as a snack. These tiny seedlings are packed with more nutrition than their mature counterparts.

Add a bit of spice to soup and sandwiches with radish and mustard microgreens. Try red cabbage, chard, beets, and amaranth for some added color. Sunflowers’ somewhat nutty flavor makes it perfect for snacking.  Let some of your pea microgreens grow a bit taller to use in stir fries.

Fill a shallow container with a two-inch layer of moist potting or seed starting mix. Sprinkle seeds over the soil surface and lightly cover with potting or seed starting mix. Water gently for good seed-to-soil contact. Continue to water often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Reduce your workload and keep the planting mix consistently moist by covering freshly planted containers with plastic. Once the greens break through the soil, remove the cover and move the container to a sunny location or under artificial lights.

Increase the fun and success with a microgreen growing kit like the Organic Herb and Microgreens Grow Kit from Gardener’s Supply (www.gardeners.com). This setup is the perfect size for a countertop or other small space. The full-spectrum light is adjustable so you can raise or lower it as needed for short microgreens or taller herbs. Or skip the growing mix and mess with a Jute Microgreens Starter Kit. Set the jute mat in the shallow tray, add seeds, and water. Then compost the jute mat after harvesting your greens.

Follow the planting directions on seed packets. You typically need two to three tablespoons of seeds for an 11-inch by 21-inch tray. Buy enough seeds to make additional plantings every week or two to ensure a constant supply. Microgreens, like most vegetables, taste best and are most nutritious when eaten fresh. And these tasty bundles don’t last long in storage.

Microgreens are ready to harvest once the plant forms the first set of true leaves. These are the leaves that resemble those of the mature plant. This takes anywhere from seven to 14 days, depending on the room temperature and type of microgreens.

Use scissors to clip the greens off at ground level.  Once you harvest all the greens, it’s time to replant. Save money and be kind to the environment by composting used planting mix and reusing containers. Convert shallow fast-food containers into planting trays. Disinfect these or other planting trays before using them for subsequent plantings.  Just soak the containers in a 10 percent bleach and water solution for 10 minutes. Then rinse in clear water before planting.

Gardening doesn’t get much easier than this. You’ll enjoy the fresh flavor all winter as you wait for the outdoor growing season to begin.


Melinda Myers (www.melindamyers.com) has written more than 20 books and hosts a DVD series on gardening. She also has a syndicated TV and radio program.



Grow-lights turn countertops in homes into indoor microgreen farms.
(Gardener’s Supply Co.)