What are microgreens?
Also known as “vegetable confetti,” microgreens are sometimes confused with sprouts — germinated seeds that are eaten root, seed and shoot. Microgreens, however, include a variety of edible immature greens, harvested with scissors less than a month after germination, when the plants are up to 2 inches tall. The stem, cotyledons (or seed leaves) and first set of true leaves are all edible.
Which seeds work best?
Salad greens, leafy vegetables, herbs and even edible flowers can be grown as microgreens, though some varieties are better suited than others. Beginners often start by growing one type of seed, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard, chia, sunflower or buckwheat — among the easiest-to-grow varieties of microgreens — in a single container. (You can easily grow different seeds in several containers, and mix your microgreens after harvesting.)
Microgreens offer a palette of fresh flavors, from mild to spicy, and inspire repeated plantings for an ongoing supply of fresh greens for creative uses. Here’s how to grow microgreens indoors. To grow microgreens indoors you will need potting mix and bright light. Flavors range from intense, like a full-grown plant, to subtle.
To get started growing microgreens indoors, remoisten the soilless seed-starting mix, which is a sterile medium that is formulated to promote seed development. Sprinkle warm water onto the mix and blend until it is thoroughly damp.
Fill each container with premoistened seed-starting mix. There’s no need to pack it into place—packing the container too tight will lead to drainage issues. Set the container on a watertight drip tray.Sprinkle seeds evenly over the surface of the seed-starting mix, sowing them more thickly than you ordinarily would. Leave at least 1/4 inch of space between the seeds
Cover the seeds with vermiculite. This mineral-base material absorbs water and releases it slowly, keeping seeds damp but not too wet. Follow instructions for planting depth provided on the seed packet. Some seeds should be barely covered; others need thicker covering to germinate (sprout and grow) well. Label plantings.
Water the sown seeds with a gentle shower, soaking the vermiculite without washing away the seeds. Until the seeds germinate and green shoots sprout from them, water lightly as needed to keep the seed-starting mix damp. If the mix is too wet, seeds cannot root and fail to grow.
To encourage the best growth of microgreens indoors, cover the containers with a lightweight sheet of plastic or a domed lid to maintain humidity and promote germination. Set the drip tray on a heat mat designed for seed starting or on a heating pad. When the seeds germinate, remove the lid and the heat source. Set the containers on a sunny windowsill to help your microgreens grow indoors. Keep the planting medium damp, and promote healthy growth by watering from the bottom. Pour water into the tray and allow it to be absorbed into the soilless mix. To harvest the microgreens, hold a section with one hand and use the other to snip with scissors. Keep your microgreens cool and in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them. Their shelf life in the refrigerator is about a week.