4. A Leaf let with complete Microgreen Utility and Growing Guide
This garden kit makes a fantastic gift choice for men, women, and children who have it all, and looking for a fun activity to experiment with our grow kits are suitable for urban gardening, which makes them the perfect gift choice for anyone living in apartments.
How to Grow Micro greens at Home
If you enjoy indoor gardening and want living proof that good things truly do come in small packages, try growing micro greens.
Microgreens are Seedlings of most standard vegetables and herbs. Think turnips, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, lettuce, spinach, amaranth, cabbage, beets, parsley and basil, to name a few. Because the plants must be harvested when they are small — usually when they are only about 3-4 inches tall or less and have developed their first two “true” leaves — they grow better indoors than in an outdoor garden. That means anyone can grow them either on a windowsill, under a kitchen counter light or with a grow light in the garage.
These tasty morsels are packed with nutrition, and the intense flavor of their tiny leaves often mimics the flavor of the mature plant. With basil micro greens, for example, you get the flavor of basil without having to grow the plant to maturity. Served as a garnish, they dress up a dinner plate and are a fun way to enjoy healthy eating and impress family and friends at the same time. The method recommends for growing micro greens is the same regardless of the location you use in your home.
To start, you will need a shallow, small container or Leaf and Clay’s Microgreen Fiber Grow Bag. You can use whatever is handy, but whatever you choose be sure that it either has drainage holes or that you can add them.
Use a Spray Bottle to Mist the Seeds and Soil
Thoroughly mist the seeds and the soil using a spray bottle. Don’t try to water the soil with even a small watering can as this will dislodge and redistribute the seeds, possibly even washing them out of the container.
Cover the Seeds to Stimulate Germination
To complete the planting process, cover the container with a lid such as a saucer turned upside down or aluminum foil. The goal is to prevent light from reaching the seeds. “This stimulates seed germination, as if the seeds were buried, and stem elongation.
Keep Covered Until Plants Reach One to Two Inches
Keep the lid on the saucer until the seeds have germinated and grown an inch or two, which will usually take 3-5 days depending on the seed type and the temperature in the growing area. Only remove the lid to mist the soil several times a day to keep it moist, which will encourage the seeds to germinate.
Remove the Lid and Expose to Light
Once the bleached-out seedlings reach an inch or so in height, remove the lid and leave it off. When they’re exposed to light, the micro greens will turn from a light or dark green or red to a darker color, begin growing quickly, plump up and form a thick mat. Once they have two leaves at the top of their little stems, they are ready to harvest.
Harvest by Clipping Just Above Soil Line
To harvest, take a small container and kitchen scissors to your growing area. Take one hand and clump a group of plants together and use the other hand and scissors to cut off the plants just above the soil line. It’s best to do this just before you’re ready to serve the plates. You can try to store them in the refrigerator, but bear in mind these little plants have a short shelf life, which is why to enjoy them you need to grow them at home. (They’re not available in grocery stores for a reason!)
Once you’ve harvested the entire saucer, toss the soil in the compost pile rather than trying to re-use it.
Tips for Growing Micro greens
Finding a place with enough light around your home can be tricky, but a simple fluorescent light can work wonders. Here, some micro greens almost ready for harvest sit next to some still-covered newly planted seeds.
Should Micro greens be placed on the Windowsill?
Pryor’s experience with growing on a windowsill has not produced good results. There are several problems with windowsills. The biggest is that the light comes at the plants from an angle. As a result, the plants will bend towards the light instead of growing straight up. Consequently, they tend to be spindly because of the indirect light. You could perhaps compensate for this by rotating the growing tray to try to create uniform vertical growth. Another problem is that windowsills tend to be narrower than the growing containers, creating an awkward sort of balancing act. If you’re a cat lover whose pet likes to sit in the window, you may have an additional problem!
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Overwatering or under watering
Make sure the soil has enough water but not too much. The idea is to moisten the soil well with your mister but not to saturate it. Making sure your saucer has drainage holes will keep the soil from getting too wet. If you’re using a saucer such as one made of clay, make sure it isn’t sitting in water. Clay saucers will wick water up into the soil.
Not Using Enough Seeds
Completely cover the surface of the soil. The goal is to get a nice dense mat of sprouts.