Microgreens, often used by chefs in upscale restaurants or sold in specialty grocery stores, can be easily grown at home, either in the garden or indoors. They are a great addition to salads, soups or sandwiches and make a tasty, edible garnish, adding a bit of color. And there are indications that these tiny greens may be packed with nutrients.
Microgreens grow from seeds that have just germinated and produced their first set of true leaves. (The very first leaves are cotyledons or seed leaves. True leaves come next.) Generally these plants are ready to harvest in just 7 – 14 days. Many salad greens, herbs and vegetables, including arugula, basil, beets, kale, cilantro, red amaranth, wasabi, radish, mustard, cabbage, and Swiss chard, can be grown as microgreens.
It’s very easy to get started.
Pick a small area in part to full sun to start, loosen soil and rake smooth to create a seed bed. Sprinkle seeds about ¼” apart and cover lightly with soil. Keep soil evenly moist. This may require watering lightly daily, depending on the weather.
Place moist, soilless seed starting mix in a container with drainage holes. Sprinkle with seeds and keep moist, then cover lightly with moist soilless mix. Place in a bright location. You may want to cover the container with clear plastic to help keep the soilless mix evenly moist.
Whether growing inside or out, harvest your microgreens by cutting them off above the soil line when the second set of leaves has formed. These plants will not re-grow, since the growing tip has been removed, so replant with a fresh batch of seeds and repeat.
Since microgreens grow so quickly, they will not need fertilizer. For the same reason, it is unlikely that insect pests will be a problem.
Before using, greens should be gently washed, then dried on a paper towel. Once dry, wrap in a paper towel and store in a resealable bag with the air pressed out. They can be stored in the refrigerator for anywhere from 1 – 3 days to a week, depending on the variety.