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Grow Microgreens on Your Windowsill

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Microgreens are an easy, nutritious way to grow your own food in a small space. We’ll get to the step-by-step instructions on how to grow them at home, but first, what ARE microgreens?

Microgreens are any vegetable green harvested just after the cotyledon, or seed leaves, and one set of ‘true leaves’ have developed. They are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.

You can start microgreens indoors any time. You’ll need:

  • A little bit of potting soil (or you can just use wet paper towels in place of soil!)

  • Any type of tray. I used a plastic takeout container. You can use a foil baking tray, plastic food packaging, or a seedling tray. You can even use plastic packaging with holes like a berry or tomato pint. If you use a tray with holes, line with a few sheets of paper towel or brown paper bag to prevent soil from falling through.

  • Water and preferably a spray bottle

  • Seeds. I used mixed radish seeds. Try basil, cabbage, lettuce, kale, parsley, peas, spinach, beets, broccoli… really any seed with an edible leaf makes a delicious microgreen! You can even try making your own mixes.

Microgreen Instructions

1. Dampen your potting mix with some water. It should feel like a wrung out sponge, not dripping wet but not dry.

2. Fill your tray with damp potting mix. If using a tray with holes, make sure you line it first to keep the soil in place. Save a little soil to cover the seeds!

3. Time for seeds! You want the seeds to be close together, but not on top of each other. This encourages the sprouts to grow straight up towards the light, which makes them easier to harvest. Tip: Having trouble distributing seeds evenly? A shaker bottle can help for particularly small seeds. I re-use a plastic bottle from purchased sesame seeds, but you can also poke some holes slightly larger than your seeds in the top of a bottle.

4. Gently push the seeds flat into the soil with your fingers.

5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of your damp potting soil.

6. Using a spray bottle or very gentle watering can, lightly mist the tray.

7. Place a plastic cover, a piece of cardboard, or some plastic wrap over your tray. This keeps the humidity in for moisture until germination. Place your tray in a warm spot in your house.

8. Lightly mist your tray 1-2 times a day until germination. When you see the seeds begin to germinate, remove the cover from the tray. Depending on what type of seed you used, this can take anywhere from a few days to a week. When you see germination, move the tray to a sunny windowsill.

9. Continue to keep the soil moist until you are ready to harvest.

10. To harvest microgreens, simply use a kitchen scissor to cut about an inch above the soil line. Rinse and enjoy!

You can follow almost the exact same directions to grow your own salad mix, mustard greens, spinach, or arugula. The only difference will be the spacing – in order to allow your seeds to grow true leaves (those are the ones you eat for salad greens) you’ll need to give each seed a little more space than we did for microgreens, which are cut down much younger. 

Also, for salad greens you can try ‘cut and come again’ harvesting. When leaves are 4-6 inches tall, you can use scissors to cut your greens just above the smallest set of leaves – usually about one inch from the soil line, those leaves can grow out and you can harvest again in a few weeks! Alternatively, you can simply pinch off the outside leaves from each plant and leave the inner ones to grow. You can usually get 2-3 harvests from a row of salad greens before they begin to taste bitter. 

A good tip is to start one section of your tray or one tray one week, and then follow with another planting a week later. This way you have a constant supply of salad greens at home!

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