Whether you are growing one of our kits or wanting to learn how to grow microgreens with your own materials, this post is for you! Be sure to read all the directions before starting, but remember that microgreens are very adaptable. There are many ways to adapt your micro-gardening to your own circumstances. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for video instructions as well.
Quick Start Directions for the grow kits:
- Pour moistened soil into the grow tray and gently pat it level- but don’t compact it. For the intro kit, place the tray on top of a plate, pie pan, or bowl.
- Spread the seeds evenly over the soil.
- Spray the seeds with about a tablespoon of water for a 5×5 tray (the size of an intro kit tray, or each of the 8 trays in the Serious Kit).
- Cover with black cover tray and place a weight in the tray.
- For the next few days, the seeds will germinate and develop. Go ahead and peek under the cover! After 3 days, you will see the seeds begin to lift their heads. Remove the cover and weight and let the microgreens see the light.
- Move your microgreens into an area with bright light. As soon as they begin to turn green, they can be placed in a sunny window. If you do not have a sunny window, give your growing microgreens the brightest light you have available.5.
- Keep your microgreens watered and in an area with good airflow. To water the developing microgreens in the intro kit, pour water in the plate or bowl. For the ‘Serious kit’ pour up to a quart of water into the green tray (under the colored 5x5s). If only 2-4 trays are growing, it will require much less water. Pour out the excess water after 15 minutes or so. Microgreens need to stay moist, but they do not like to swim. Water once a day or- less if the soil is still moist. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you start your planting trays on different days, remove the trays that are still in blackout before watering the uncovered trays. Covered trays do not need to be watered until they are uncovered.
- When your microgreens are 2-3 inches high, begin tasting them. Using sharp scissors cut the microgreens a little above the soil level. You can harvest them all at once or cut them as you need them. TIP: The soil and roots can be added to your compost.
- Store cut greens unwashed and covered in the refrigerator. Add them to a salad, top a sandwich with them, use them for extra flavor and nutrition on pizza, in soup, or on top of pasta.
- Water: Use water from your clearest source. Microgreens (and most plants) do not do well with softened water or chlorinated tap water. Rainwater, well water, dechlorinated tap water or bottled water will all work. pH should be between 5.5-6.5.
- Soil: Put about 1-2 inches of coir/soil at the bottom of each tray. The growing medium that comes with your kit is coco coir- a sustainably produced medium that is clean, nutritious to the microgreens, and easy to use. It is included so that you can be up-and-growing as soon as you receive your kit. For most home growing, however, a good quality potting mix is the best option. Although microgreens are harvested early in their life cycle, they draw nutrients as soon as the root hairs emerge, passing those nutrients into the greens. When planting, the moisture in the soil is important. Moisten the coir or potting soil, stir well and allow the water to be absorbed for at least 10 minutes. Then take a handful and squeeze it in your fist. If drops come out- it is too wet. If it falls apart when you open your hand- it is too dry. See the video on soil for a visual explanation.
- Light: Microgreens require bright light once they have germinated and begun growing upwards. If you have a sunny window that receives at least 8 hours of bright light each day, that will be an ideal spot. If you require additional light, look for LED 5000k lighting. Grow lights are not necessary. LEDs give the correct light for non-flowering microgreens and are economical to run. Lights should be placed within 6 inches of the tops of the growing microgreens. 12 hours a day of bright lighting is sufficient. Here is a YouTube video with more detail:
Temperature: for optimum growth, aim for between 65-75F. Don’t stress about the temperature, though! This is ideal, but microgreens are adaptable. If it is cooler, the microgreens will take a little longer to grow. If it is hotter than 75F you may need to be careful to water the plants more often so that they do not dry out. The microgreen seeds that are included in your kit are among those that are the easiest to grow in a wider range of temperatures.
- Humidity: The ambient humidity in your home is an important consideration, especially if you are growing in larger quantities (5 or more 1020s). Microgreens naturally add humidity to the air. Microgreens can be grown in many different areas of the world, from desert to tropical. While the ideal humidity is 35-45%, many homes fall outside that range- usually higher in humidity. There are a few things that you can do to compensate for a higher humidity: 1) keep your microgreens out of rooms that tend to increase humidity such as laundry rooms and rooms adjacent to showers. 2) reduce the density of seeds in the trays to give better airflow. 3) do not over-water, dump out excess water after a few hours, and never water from the top- always water your microgreens from below with the exception of the initial planting. 4) run a small fan near the microgreens to increase airflow. Note though- do not place the fan so that it blows directly on or over the greens as it may dry them out too quickly in a dry environment.
- Soaking seeds: some seeds, such as sunflower, pea, buckwheat, and wheat require a soaking period before planting. This forces all the seeds to germinate at the same time and reduces the total time to harvest. Use room temperature water, on the cool side. Some seeds, such as peas, almost double in size so be sure to use a large enough cup or jar that they will be able to absorb their weight in water. Leave the seeds in the water on a counter for 5-8 hours. Most seeds will have absorbed all they can in 6-8 hours. Drain the seeds into a sieve and rinse under cool running water for about 10 seconds. They are now ready to plant.
- DO NOT SOAK TINY SEEDS! The Super Salad Booster, radish, broccoli, and similarly sized seeds do not require soaking. If you accidentally soak them, they will be a pain to spread on the soil, but no worries- they will still grow just fine.
- Planting: Microgreen seeds are not buried in the soil. They are spread across the top of the soil as evenly as possible. After the seeds are ‘planted’, spray the seeds with just enough water to moisten the seeds and the top layer of soil. Note that this is the only time you are going to water the seeds until after the covers are taken off (3-4 days).
- Blackout: Put the black tray cover directly over the seeds (this is called ‘blackout’) and put a weight on top of the tray cover. The blackout period simulates the dark conditions a seed experiences when covered by soil. It also serves to keep the seeds moist during their germination period.
- Weighting: The weight can be a can of food such as green beans, a fist-sized rock, a jar with water in it, or anything that weighs about the same as 8 ounces of water. The purpose of the weight is to press the seeds down into the soil and make the seeds struggle to grow upwards as if they were under the soil. The stems will be thicker and better developed when they have to push up against the weight. It will also encourage all the seeds to germinate at the same time, making a nice, even crop. Remove the weight after the seeds have germinated. Some seeds, such as wheat and sunflower, are prone to mold. If that becomes an issue, remove the weight after 24 hours, and the blackout tray after two days.
There are always questions when you are beginning a new skill, like learning how to grow microgreens. You have come to the right place to ask your questions! Leave a comment and I will answer you. Your questions will help others learn as well.