Growing microgreens is an easy win for gardeners – don’t assume they’re only grown by specialists to be enjoyed by diners in high-end restaurants. Microgreens are simply young plants of many well-known salad and vegetable crops that we have all grown, but probably eaten at a more mature, dare I say, less fashionable stage.
In terms of life cycle, microgreens sit perfectly between the equally trendy sprouted seeds and young leaves. These seedlings make excellent sandwich fillings and are more environmentally friendly than, say, bagged salad from the supermarket. Seedlings and salads are some of the easiest vegetables to grow, so there’s no mystery when it comes to trying.
To grow microgreens, simply fill a seed tray or shallow pot with peat-free compost to the top. Use your hand to gently firm the compost, then water well to set the level, about a centimeter below the top of the container. Sow the seeds sparingly on the surface; avoid over-sowing in dense plots which could lead to damping off (i.e. catching a fungal disease, which they are susceptible to).
Lightly cover the seed with a pinch of compost and place a piece of glass over the tray OR place the tray/pot in a clear plastic bag to increase humidity around the germinating seed. Remove it as soon as the seeds start to appear as a hint of green on the surface of the compost.
Don’t let the compost dry out while the seeds germinate; I find the gentlest way to water is to place the seed tray or pot in a shallow tray of water and let the compost absorb it; this keeps the leaves of the seeds dry, which helps prevent fungal deaths.
You should start seeing results within 7-14 days and once the second set of leaves emerge you can harvest your microgreens with a pair of scissors. Sowing every two weeks will ensure a steady supply of microgreens throughout the summer.
Try any of these crops for flavorful leaves: radishes, chard, spinach, cilantro, beets, broccoli, cabbage, chives, kale, mustard, and peas.
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