Gardening All Year Round With Microgreens

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Rachel Bauer
Last Updated: | Reading Time: 3 minutes

Microgreens are a great source of fresh greens during the winter. When it is too cold outside to garden, you can grow microgreens indoors in a sunny window or under grow lights. It is a great way to extend the gardening season and have fresh greens all year long.

Microgreens can be grown indoors any time of the year.
Microgreens can be grown indoors any time of the year.

What are Microgreens?

Microgreens are the seedlings of various vegetables that are harvested when they are still small. They are packed with nutrients and are a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. They can also be used as a garnish on soups and other dishes.

There are many different types of seeds that you can grow as microgreens. Some popular seeds to grow are sunflower, peas, radish, and broccoli. Our favorite microgreens to grow right now are a sweet salad mix by Botanical Interests. It is a mix of beet, cabbage, kohlrabi, bok choy, and Swiss chard seeds.

How to Grow Microgreens

Microgreens are easy to grow. You can grow them in a shallow container or in a seed starting tray. Fill the container with a soilless medium like coco coir and follow the planting instructions on the seed packet. Some seeds, especially the tiny ones, need to be sprinkled on top. Remember that when you use a soilless medium, you must use a hydroponic-compatible fertilizer. Salt-based fertilizers, such as the famous blue crystals, will not work.

Microgreens growing in coco coir.
Microgreens growing in coco coir.

After wetting the seeds, cover them in plastic wrap and put them under grow lights for 2-4 days until they germinate. It may seem wasteful, but leave your grow lights on 24 hrs a day to encourage quick germination. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate. A heat mat is necessary in order to get quick germination, otherwise, you may get dampening off. Dampening off is when a plant's stem rots right at the surface. It can be caused by a fungus or bacteria and from the plant not getting enough air circulation.

Once the seeds have germinated, remove the plastic wrap and put them under grow lights for 12-16 hours a day.

Soil is perfectly fine for growing microgreens as long as it is sterilized. The vast majority of bagged soil will work. The biggest risk in using soil for microgreens is dampening off. Switching to a soilless medium significantly reduces damp-off.

How to Harvest Microgreens

Harvest your microgreens after they have their first set of true leaves, by cutting them off at soil level. Rinse them and then let them dry. We like to use a salad spinner to speed up this step.

After they have dried you can use them right away or store them in the refrigerator to use later. When we store them in the fridge, we leave them in a colander, on a paper towel, with plastic wrap loosely draped over the top. They last about three days stored this way.

Pea shoots are another one of our favorite microgreens to grow. They are just so easy to grow and they have a mild pea flavor. They are great in salads, sandwiches, and hamburgers.

Pea shoots are a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches.
Pea shoots are a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches.

More Winter Gardening Ideas

If you are looking for other gardening tasks that you can do when the ground is still too cold to start planting in, here are a few ideas:

Visit our guide on microclimates to learn more about how to plan your garden.

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