How to Grow Microgreens From Seed
What are Microgreens? Simply put, microgreens are seeds grown like grass in trays on your countertop and harvested en masse at the seedling stage. These young plants are often pretty and contain a TON of flavor!
There is nothing biologically significant about “microgreens seeds”--they are just seeds grown using this particular method. Yes, there are seeds that are not considered “microgreens seeds”, but it is only due to that particular species’ plant structure being inedible, such as tomatoes. Of course, there are exceptions... but they will be noted on the individual seed pages.
All kinds of seeds can be grown as microgreens. Of course, there are popular plant families widely grown as microgreens, such as brassicas (cabbage, mustard, broccoli), but there are a vast number of diverse plant families and species suitable for microgreening. These can include cantaloupe melon seeds, nasturtium flower seeds, Chinese mahogany tree seeds, and more.
Unlike sprouting, microgreening requires a growing medium. This can be soil, a hydroponic grow pad or even terra cotta! A growing medium allows the sprout roots to take hold of something to begin their plant structure development. Without the growing medium, the plant structure won’t be able to develop. Soil is the best medium for beginners, but using hydroponic mediums isn’t a complicated process and can be a great clean way of growing microgreens. Growing mediums are made from several types of fiber, such as jute, coco coir, bamboo, and wood. Each type of mat may be better suited than the other, depending on what type of seeds you plan to grow. The growing medium is placed in the tray just like soil and maintained as such--often, hydroponic mediums require more frequent watering depending on the temperature of your grow space.
Microgreen gardening timing varies according to the seed and the variety you may be growing. Generally, microgreen crops range from one week to a month from seed to harvest. Microgreen seeds are grown to the cotyledon stage or to the true leaf stage, rarely ever beyond that. Cotyledons are the first set of baby leaves, and true leaves are the second set of leaves, which will take on the shape that the full-grown plant will begin producing. Growing on microgreens past the true leaf stage is considered either an herb or a babygreen. Or your microgreens may develop a bitter flavor.
All the best from the crew at True Leaf, LLC!
See all of our Microgreen Seed Varieties.
There are lots of great reasons to grow your own microgreens. Some folks love the fact that they can have access to fresh, living, healthy produce all year long. Others find joy in indoor gardening during the fall and winter months when they can’t be outside working their own gardens. For some it is the excitement of something different and new to experiment with their cooking. The bottom line is growing microgreens is a fun hobby with the added benefit of healthy, delicious, living food for your family. Some of our customers have even started out as hobbyist growers and then began to offer microgreens to local stores and restaurants, turning their hobby into a full blown business.
Most microgreens are easy to grow once you know the technique. Some crops (like beets and cilantro) can be more challenging, which is part of why some people love growing micros as a hobby. It’s the right balance of easy and challenging to make it very interesting.
In terms of getting started we’d recommend two things:
- Watch Our Video Tutorials – We have created a series of videos that discusses the various aspects of growing microgreens. These videos are thorough, and along with the detailed instructions in our microgreens starter kits, should be everything you need to know to get started.
Get one of our Microgreens Starter Kits – We have created complete microgreens starter kits that should be everything you need out of the box to start on this exciting new indoor gardening journey. We offer several distinct starter kits to fit your need:
No. There are some garden plants that, while they bear delicious fruit, have toxic leaves. For example, tomato and pepper plants have toxic leaves, as do the leaves of rhubarb (but not the stem). If you are unsure if a plant is suitable as a microgreen, don’t grow any micros unless they are listed in our microgreens seed category.