During winter when it’s cold and dreary, you might be in need of something fresh and bright to remind you spring will come sooner than you think. Why not grow microgreens indoors?
by: Kristen Duever
Microgreens are the new shoots of a vegetable plant. They are tender, sweet and incredibly healthy – so much that newly sprouted microgreens have up to 40 times the amount of nutrients that their mature counterparts do.
Microgreens are delicious in the winter for salads and sandwiches. The best part about them is that they sprout fast and are easy to grow, so you will always have fresh greens available to you and you can proudly say you grew them yourself.
Here’s what you need to get started:
- Seeds. You can use almost any vegetable seed for this, but a lot of companies offer microgreen seed mixes that are a fantastic option for first-time indoor growers. If you don’t want to use a pre-made mix, then options such as cilantro, kale, radishes, basil or beets are usually great options.
- Soil. The best bet for this is a seed-starting medium, but any potting soil will most likely work as long as it doesn’t have chemical fertilizers. Many local groceries carry organic varieties, too.
- Trays or containers. Some gardeners use the seed-starting trays available at local garden centers, but really any tray or container will work. The microgreens won’t stay in the containers very long.
- Lighting. You can use either a natural or artificial source for this. If you have a large window, then you can simply place the tray under the window and you’re all set; however, if that’s not available, then a florescent light source will provide the same benefit.
Fill the trays with soil. Plants will be in the trays for about 10-12 days, so they won’t develop a deep root system and therefore you don’t need a lot of soil. About two inches of soil should be sufficient.
Next, spread the seeds over the tray. Unlike traditional gardening, you don’t need to worry about giving the plants space because they won’t be in the tray long enough to develop roots. It’s a good idea to spread a pretty thick coat of seeds.
Sprinkle soil over the seeds, being careful not to bury them too deep; a light cover of soil is sufficient. Then, water your seeds. You don’t want to drown your seeds, although the soil should be quite wet.
Place the trays in light. Spray the soil with water a couple of times a day.
Depending on what you planted, you might see sprouts in a few days or up to a week. Beginning at about day 10, you can harvest your plants – but it’s really up to you when to do it.
Harvest them by either clipping them with sharp scissors or by pulling the plants out of the soil and rinsing them. If you are going to use the latter route, then make sure the plants are dry so they don’t rip or tear; to do this, stop watering the plants a day or so before you’re ready to harvest.
Once you have your system down, you will be able to grow multiple varieties of microgreens year-round. Enjoy!
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