Microgreens are a vegetable green. They are used in many fine dining restaurants to increase the attractiveness and taste of the dishes. Microgreens can be sweet and spicy and they are known for their colors and textures. They are great for salads, soups and sandwiches.
But these small greens are not just for adding color to the plate, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and in some cases, even more than full sized vegetables. Moreover, they can grow easily, indoors and outdoors, making them really convenient.
Types of Microgreens
There are different types of microgreens:
- Brassicaceae family: broccoli, cabbage, cress, radish and arugula
- Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory and radicchio
- Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, fennel and celery
- Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek
- Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet and spinach
- Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber and squash
Benefits of Microgreens
High in Nutrients
Microgreens are full of nutrients. They are high in vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. They are also loaded with manganese and folate.
Microgreens can also help boost your vitamin and mineral intake. Plus they contain polyphenols.
What is polyphenols? They are important natural chemical that contain powerful antioxidant properties. As we all know, antioxidants help prevent the buildup of free radicals. Polyphenols are also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
So with just a few servings of microgreens in your diet, fruits and vegetables, you are getting the nutrients you need to keep and improve your health.
Easy and Convenient
The good news is, you can grow microgreens in your garden or inside your home all year long. They are fast, convenient and easy to grow, and you don’t need a big garden to grow these amazing greens.
All you need to grow microgreens are water, soil, seeds and a window with a little sunlight.
One of the coolest and amazing things about growing microgreens is that these plants are ready to harvest and consume just seven to fourteen days after germination.
How to Grow Microgreens
It is really easy to grow microgreens as it requires minimal experience, and you don’t need any special tools or equipment to do it.
Here is how to do it:
- If you are growing indoors, start by spreading about an inch of potting soil in a shallow tray. If you are growing microgreens outside, select and clear a small section of your garden.
- Next, you should place the microgreen seeds over soil. It doesn’t matter if you place them closer together because they will be ready for harvest before reaching maturity.
- After placing the microgreens seeds, cover them with soil and spray water on the top. For this you can use a spray bottle.
- Place your shallow tray by the window with natural light, if you are growing indoors. If there is no sun coming in, you can use a grow light.
- Make sure that you mist soil with clean water every day. You should do this a few times daily, this way you can make sure your plants germinate and stay hydrated.
- Check your microgreens at least twice a day. Make sure the soil is damp, but not soaked. Ensure there is no water in the tray.
- Usually, after 7 to 14 days after germination, they can be harvested by cutting greens above soil line. At this time, your microgreens are one to three inches tall. Keep in mind that it can vary based on the type of plant.
- Finally, if you want to plant once again, you need to remove the roots or you can restart with fresh soil. Before you plant again, wash your tray with 1 tbsp hydrogen peroxide + 1-gallon water.
Microgreens are in general safe to eat. But when you grow them at home, pay special attention to the quality of the seeds.
Special Considerations when Growing Microgreens
- It is very important to keep the microgreens seeds moist and at 75 F. If you are growing microgreens outdoors, it is a good idea to check them twice daily.
- Cover the tray to preserve moisture whenever possible. You can cover the tray using a dense layer of paper towels.
- Uncover the tray when 95% of the microgreen seeds show germination. It’s easy to know when the seed will have germinated — when shoots emerge from the seeds, they could be green or yellow.
- Because you need to keep the microgreens seeds at 75 F, it is a good idea to use a heating mat or a grow light. Remember microgreens seeds should receive at least 18 hours of light per day after germination.
- Humidity around the microgreen seeds should stay at a minimum of 50% for best texture. If humidity is lower, microgreens will become more crispy.
- Make sure the area is ventilated to maintain a balance between humidity and fungal issues. To avoid mold, microgreen seeds should be spread evenly in the tray. If mold or fungus is found, just spray lightly with 1 tsp of hydrogen peroxide per gallon of water.
- Always harvest with gloves and use a sharp blade. It is important to wear gloves to avoid cuts. If you want to speed things up, you can use a small hedge trimmer or an electric knife to harvest.
Microgreens are very popular these days, thanks to the ease and convenience of growing them and because of their intense flavor and health benefits.
The best part is you can easily incorporated them into your diet in a variety of ways. Let’s get started and grow one now in your garden!