Growing Microgreens Soil Method
Welcome to the world of growing your own microgreens! You can grow outdoors in warm seasons, or indoors all year long… even if you have limited space. It is literally countertop gardening. Microgreens are inexpensive, fun to grow and cover a wide variety of exciting, nutrition-dense tastes. We hope you enjoy growing and eating these exciting living foods! Check out our Hydroponic Method Growing Guide Page.
These are the materials needed to get started (check out our premade microgreens growing kits if you need most of these items).
- Growing trays with drain holes
- Growing trays without drain holes
- Soil mix
- Spray bottle
- The following instructions
Specific details and additional instructions per seed type are found on each individual product page. Simply use the search bar above to find the product page of your specific seed.
What follows are general instructions for growing your microgreens or baby salad greens. Based on times to germination and harvest, you may need to sow your seeds at different times if you want to harvest all your greens at the same time. The microgreens growing kit includes enough seed for several plantings. While microgreens are generally easy to grow, you may need to experiment a bit to get it just right.
Step 1:Pre-soak seeds – Most seeds that require soil as a growing medium require a pre-soak before being spread over your soil including beets, sunflower, peas, buckwheat and cilantro. To soak, submerge the seeds in a jar filled with cold water. Make sure there is plenty of water, as some seeds, like peas, absorb surprising amounts of water. When pre-soaked for an appropriate time (see specific seed product page), rinse thoroughly with cold water. Smaller seeds such as mustard and broccoli do not require soaking before sowing (as the following pictures indicate with mustard seeds).
Step 2:Prepare trays – Put about 1.5 inches of soil into the tray with drain holes. Nest tray with holes into the the tray without holes. Be sure to use soil that is fine and does not contain larger particles, like wood. This will allow the roots to reach and develop properly. Spread the soil evenly and gently tamp it flat, (the back of a spatula is perfect for this). You want a flat, even bed of soil that is firm, but not compacted. Dampen the soil by misting or spraying water over the soil. The soil should be quite damp but not soggy.
Step 3:Spread seeds – Spread your seed evenly across the tray. Larger seeds like buckwheat, sunflower and pea will end up being quite thickly spread. (See specific product page for seeding rate). A basic rule is to allow the seeds enough breathing room, which is about the size of the seed itself. If seeds are too close together, they can often tangle, preventing successful growth.
Step 4:Water and cover - Cover the seeds with a light layer of soil. This helps increase the humidity surrounding the seed during the germination period. Use your spray bottle to thoroughly mist the seeds directly on the soil. Now take one of the trays with no holes and use your spray mister to spray the inside of it 4 or 5 times with an even distribution of mist. Use that misted tray as a black-out and humidity dome on your recently seeded tray. Set your tray in a place where it will not get too hot or too cold; 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
Step 5:Mist every 12 hours – Uncover the seed tray every 12 hours or so and mist them again with your spray bottle. 15 to 20 evenly distributed sprays should do. Do not add additional water other than the misting. Re-cover your tray.
Step 6:Uncover after about 3-5 days. Watch for when the baby leaves (cotyledons) of your crop first emerge, and then wait one more day. It is important to keep your crop in the dark for about the first 3-5 days to force your crop to grow in the struggle for light. Place about 1/2 inch of water in the tray with no holes. The benefit of bottom watering is that the roots of the microgreens will reach for the water and allow the shoots to grow tall and strong without the interference of water being sprayed from above.
Step 7:Expose to light - Make sure your crop gets plenty of light. We highly recommend LED grow lights . Direct sunlight, fluorescent, or incandescent lights are also good. If your crop angles for light, be sure to rotate the tray occasionally. Check daily and water when necessary – Your crop should have the right balance of water from now until harvest. Each type of microgreen will require differing amounts of water. Check the soil. It should be moist, but not soggy. Note the weight of the tray as well. If it is sufficiently watered, it will feel heavier. If it feels too light that is a sign that it needs to be watered.
Step 8:Time to harvest – Most microgreens will be ready to harvest in about 10 days. Some crops can be harvested as early as 7 days. Most crops will not last pass 14 or 15 days before they must be harvested. Move your trays to a cool, shady place. If your greens are harvested when it is too hot, they will wilt very quickly after harvesting. If harvested when cool (late evening, early morning), they will tend to stay fresh and crisp. Use scissors to trim the microgreens just above the soil line. Think of it as giving your greens a haircut.
Storage Tip: Rinse and dry – Use a colander to rinse your microgreens thoroughly under cold water. Dry the greens completely by spreading over a towel or paper towels and air dry. Speed dry by using a fan on a slow setting. Cut greens are best if served right after drying but can be stored loosely in a bowl in the refrigerator for several days. Do not try to refrigerate greens that are not completely dry.