The Best Way To Grow Microgreens In Your Kitchen


Kitchen Microgreens

Harvesting fresh greens in the heart of winter, or anytime really, right from your kitchen is a wonderful feeling. Growing microgreens is an easy and productive way to have a kitchen (permaculture zone zero) garden.

While there are a few ways to grow microgreens in your kitchen I have found the best way is by using commercial sprout trays placed on a shelf in front of a window. By using these trays, a paper towel, organic potting soil and high quality microgreen seeds you can have a constant supply of fresh microgreens throughout the year.

What Are Microgreens?

Perhaps you’re new to microgreens and your not quite sure what they are but you like the idea of having high nutrient fresh greens all year long.

Microgreens are the highly nutritional stage of growth in plants between sprouts and baby greens. Edible plants during this stage vary in height depending on the kind you are growing but generally grow to around 3 inches tall. 

Some common plants grown as microgreens

ArugulaKale
BasilMustard
BeetsPeas
BroccoliRadish
CilantroRed Cabbage
ChiaSunflower
CollardsWheatgrass

Benefits Of Eating Microgreens

Most microgreens are commonly rich in antioxidants and nutrients such as potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. They can be up to nine times more nutritious than the full grown mature plant.

Because of their high nutritional value they can be beneficial in reducing the risk of many health issues such as Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes and certain Cancers.

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/microgreens

What Microgreens Need To Grow

Good Organic Potting Soil

Any brand will do but I do prefer organic soil. You will want to avoid bringing soil indoors from your garden as it can and often does contain aphids which will thrive in an indoor environment.

Nature's Care Organic Potting Mix with Water Conserve, 16-Quart
  • Thirsty plants are mopey plants—keep them hydrated with Nature’s Care Organic & Natural Potting...
  • Contains cool things from nature like yucca and coir, which provide unique moisture control...
  • Give your plants some extra love with your favorite Nature's Care plant food one month after...
  • Perfect for your potted fruits, vegetables and flowers
  • Includes perlite for optimized aeration for your potted plants

Last update on 2022-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

High Quality Seeds

I will address where to get seeds later in the article but you will want to use seeds that are organic or specifically marketed as microgreen seeds. be careful to not use any type of treated seeds or seeds that have been exposed to any chemicals.

Water

You can use water from the tap if you are on a well. If you’re water is from a municipality then it is likely you have chlorine in your water and you should dechlorinate it before adding it to your microgreen trays. Also do not use water coming from a water softener as it will damage the plants.

Harvesting rain water is another fantastic way to get high quality water for your microgreens.

Light

Natural sunlight is best if you have a south facing window (in the northern hemisphere) to place your microgreens in front of on a shelf. If not you can place full spectrum grow lights a few inches above the trays and they will grow just fine. I’m a big fan of the Barrina Grow lights.

Barrina Grow Light, 144W(6 x 24W, 800W Equivalent), 2ft T8, Super Bright, Full Spectrum Sunlight Plant Light, LED Grow Light Strips, Grow Light Bulbs for Indoor Plants, Greenhouse, 6-Pack
  • Full Spectrum - Barrina LED grow lights 2ft provide indoor plants with full-spectrum sunlight...
  • Super Bright and Hight PPFD - Consuming only 144W with 576 LEDS totally, replace 800w general plant...
  • Easy Installation - With included tape, clips and cable ties, you could install the lights by...
  • Eyes Protection - This grow light are suitable for planting plants in any indoor application....
  • What You Get - 2 years warranty. Please contact seller if you have any problem. 6 x Barrina LED Grow...

Last update on 2022-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Best Trays I’ve Found For Growing Microgreens

These sprouting trays from Amazon have turned out to be perfect for growing microgreens even though their main purpose is for growing sprouts. They are designed to use only water and no soil, however, when growing microgreens rather than sprouts you need soil to sustain the plants longer and beyond the sprouting stage.

FiGoal 4 Pack Sprout Tray with Cover Soil-Free Seeds Grower and Storage Trays for Garden Home Kitchen Use (Zero Experience Needed)
  • [SUPER VALUE] This Sprout Tray Set Includes 4 Packs of Sprout Trays with Extra Strength Cover. With...
  • [MULTI-FUNCTIONS] The Trays are Made of High-Quality Plastic Materials. Big Capacity. Both Seed...
  • [HEALTHY & GREEN] Sprouting with Water Only to Avoid Soil or Chemical Additives. Enjoy Healthy...
  • [SUPER EASY] With Detailed Instructions, This Sprout Tray Set is Easy to Install without Tools....
  • [BUY WITH CONFIDENCE]. Please Feel Free to Contact Us Through Amazon and We will Try Our Best to Fix...

Last update on 2022-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In order to add soil to these trays you will need to place a paper towel in the top tray to keep the soil from falling into the bottom tray with the water. The roots will grow through the paper towel and into the water as the plants grow.

What I like about growing microgreens using these trays and in this way is that I don’t have to do anything else until it’s time to harvest. Other methods and trays I’ve used require you to spray the seeds with a water bottle until they germinate and monitor soil moisture and add water to the soil during the growing process.

I’ve discovered that by putting enough water in the bottom tray to come to the top of the soil when the top tray is submerged into it will be just the right amount of water to germinate the seeds and supply the microgreens the entire time.

As the seeds germinate and send down roots they will follow the water as the levels drop. The roots will grow through the paper towel and stay in the water until it gets to the bottom of the bottom tray. In every case the amount of water has been just exactly what was needed to grow the microgreens until harvest time.

How Long Does It Take To Grow Microgreens?

Depending on the type of microgreen plant you are growing it can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days to reach this stage in its development. Once the plant has developed 2 to 4 true leaves and reached the desired height they are ready to harvest.

In the sample I’m displaying in this article I am growing pea microgreens. You can follow the growth timeline through the pictures below.

Harvesting Your Microgreens

When the microgreens are at the desired stage of growth you can simply cut the stem above the soil to harvest. You can use scissors or a sharp knife, I prefer using a corrugated steak knife and cutting in a sawing motion to easily cut the stems without pulling the roots from the soil.

Harvesting Microgreens

Composting The Used Soil and Roots

You’ve harvested your microgreens and now you have some soil, the base of the stems and the roots to dispose of. Great news, this is fantastic to add to your compost pile and later add to your garden. You could simply toss it directly in the garden and scatter it around and it would break down just fine and there isn’t anything that could smell or harm your garden.

Where To Buy Microgreen Seeds

Amazon

Maybe Amazon isn’t your first choice when it comes to buying seeds, nor is it normally mine. However, I have purchased microgreen seeds a couple times from them and they were fantastic. Here is a great seed mix I’ve used before.

Superfood Microgreen Seeds Mix | for Microgreens Growing Trays | 1 LB | Heirloom Non GMO Purple Kohlrabi, Collard, Radish, Turnip & Broccoli Sprouts Seeds | Rainbow Heirloom Seed Co.
  • A COLORFUL & DELICIOUS microgreen salad mix containing heirloom non-GMO microgreen seeds. 1 LB bulk...
  • THIS MIX CONTAINS broccoli seeds (popular for their sulforaphane rich crop), radish seeds, purple...
  • TOP QUALITY SEEDS with high germination rates. Grown & packed in the USA.
  • THIS MIX is designed for growing MICROGREENS (planting in a tray with growing medium). This mix is...
  • BROUGHT TO YOU BY FAMILY FARMERS who have been growing for generations. We offer full customer...

Last update on 2022-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

True Leaf Market

I’ve said it many times before and I will say it again, True Leaf Market is a fantastic option for buying seeds especially when buying them in bulk. They are my go to for microgreen and cover crop seeds.

Seeds: Microgreens – Basic Salad Mix- 1 Lb…

Basic Salad Micro Mix. A flavorful and colorful combination of microgreens that grow we… [More]

Price: $15.57

Save Seeds From Your Garden

This is the best and most sustainable option for those of us who care about such things. It can be time consuming and you need to have many plants that you can let go to seed to get enough seeds to last the whole year but if you can do it then it’s a great and affordable way to get your seeds to grow microgreens.

Enjoy Your Microgreens

No doubt the best part of growing microgreens is eating them. You can add them to a salad or top of a sandwich with them or just simply eat them as they are. No matter how you choose to eat them I’m sure you will agree they are a welcomed addition to a meal for both their taste and nutrition value. Enjoy!

Harold Thornbro

Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Public Speaker, Teacher, Homesteading and Permaculture Enthusiast. If You're Looking For Me, You'll Find Me In The Garden.

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