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From Seed to Table: A Complete Guide to Growing and Using Microgreens



Microgreens are a type of young vegetable that is harvested when they are about 1-3 inches tall, typically just a few weeks after germination. They are smaller and more delicate than sprouts, but larger and more developed than baby greens. Microgreens are typically grown from the seedlings of vegetables and herbs, and are prized for their high nutrient content and versatility in the kitchen. In fact, studies have shown that microgreens can contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their fully-grown counterparts!


There are many different types of microgreens that can be grown, including common varieties such as basil, kale, and arugula, as well as more unusual varieties like radish, mustard, and sorrel. The flavor and appearance of microgreens can vary widely depending on the type of vegetable or herb that is used. Some microgreens are spicy and pungent, while others are mild and sweet. Some have colorful, ornate leaves, while others are plainer. This versatility makes microgreens a perfect addition to a wide range of dishes.


In addition to their nutritional value, microgreens are prized for their versatility in the kitchen. They can be used as a garnish, added to salads, sandwiches, and smoothies, or used as a flavorful topping for grilled meats and seafood. Because they are harvested at such a young age, they have a delicate, tender texture and a subtle, yet flavorful taste. This makes them a perfect addition to a wide range of dishes.


Microgreens are also easy to grow at home, even for those with limited space. All you need is a sunny windowsill, some soil, and some seeds, and you can have a steady supply of fresh microgreens year-round. This not only saves you money, but it also allows you to have complete control over the quality of your food.


Finally, microgreens are a sustainable food choice. They can be grown indoors or outdoors, using minimal resources and space. In addition, they have a short growing cycle, making them a quick and easy crop to cultivate. This has made them an attractive choice for those who are looking to reduce their environmental impact through their food choices.


Now that you know all about the benefits of microgreens, you may be wondering how to get started with growing your own. Don't worry, it's super easy! Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:


Step 1: Pick your seeds


First things first, it's time to choose your seeds. With so many different types of microgreens to choose from, the possibilities are endless! Go for classic varieties like basil, kale, and arugula, or mix things up with more unique options like radish, mustard, or sorrel. The choice is yours! Consider your personal taste preferences and the flavor and appearance of the different varieties when making your selection.


When selecting your seeds, be sure to choose high-quality seeds from a reputable source. Poor-quality seeds may not germinate properly or may produce weak or diseased seedlings. Look for seeds that are specifically labeled for microgreens, as these will be the best choice for this type of growing.


RELATED: Shop Microgreen Seeds


Keep in mind that different types of microgreens will have different growing requirements. Some types, like basil and cilantro, prefer warmer temperatures and may not germinate as well in cooler conditions. Others, like kale and arugula, are more cold-tolerant and can be grown in a wider range of temperatures. Be sure to check the seed packet for specific temperature and moisture requirements for the varieties you choose.


Finally, consider the amount of space you have available for growing microgreens. If you have limited space, you may want to choose varieties that don't grow too large or that can be grown in smaller containers. On the other hand, if you have plenty of space, you can experiment with a wider range of varieties and larger containers.


With these factors in mind, you should be well on your way to choosing the perfect seeds for your microgreens adventure!


Step 2: Prep your growing tray

Microgreen growing tray

Next, it's time to prep your growing tray or container. You will need a shallow tray or container with drainage holes, as well as some high-quality soil or seed starting mix. Fill the tray with soil or seed starting mix and moisten it lightly with a watering can or spray bottle. Be sure to use a soil or mix that is specifically designed for growing microgreens, as regular potting soil can be too heavy and may not provide the necessary drainage.


There are a few different options for containers that you can use for growing microgreens. One popular choice is a standard seed tray, which is typically made of plastic and has a series of small cells or compartments for planting seeds. Seed trays are easy to find and relatively inexpensive, and they work well for small-scale growing.


If you want to grow a larger quantity of microgreens, you may want to consider using a larger container, such as a grow bag or a shallow plastic storage container. These containers can be found at most garden centers or online, and they provide plenty of space for your microgreens to grow.





Regardless of the container you choose, be sure to use a soil or seed starting mix that is specifically designed for microgreens. These mixes are typically lighter and more porous than regular potting soil, which helps to provide the necessary drainage and aeration for your seedlings. You can also add a small amount of compost or organic matter to the soil to help enrich it and provide additional nutrients for your microgreens.


Step 3: Add soil

When growing microgreens, it's important to choose the right type of soil to ensure healthy plant growth. One option is to use a soil-less mix, such as a combination of coco coir and perlite. Coco coir is made from coconut husks and provides a good balance of water retention and drainage, while perlite is a lightweight, porous material that improves aeration and drainage. Another option is to use a soil mix that includes earthworm castings, which are rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms.



When selecting a soil mix, it's important to make sure it is sterile and free of pathogens. This can be achieved by purchasing a pre-made mix from a reputable supplier, or by sterilizing your own soil mix using heat or chemicals.


It's also important to consider the pH level of the soil. Microgreens prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If the pH level is too high or low, it can affect the growth and development of the plants.


When preparing the soil, mix it thoroughly and make sure it is evenly moist. This will ensure that the microgreens have access to the nutrients and moisture they need to grow. Finally, make sure to provide adequate light and warmth for the microgreens to grow. They need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight or 14-16 hours of light.


In summary, when growing microgreens, it's important to choose a soil mix that is sterile, well-draining, and has the right pH level. Coco coir and perlite can be a great option, and earthworm castings can be added for extra nutrients. Additionally, make sure the soil is evenly moist and provide enough light for the microgreens to grow.



Step 4: Plant those seeds


Now that your tray is prepared, it's time to plant your seeds. Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the surface of the soil, being sure to follow the seed packet instructions for the recommended sowing depth and spacing. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for a seed density of about 200-300 seeds per square inch. This will ensure that your microgreens have enough space to grow and mature without overcrowding.


Different types of microgreens have different sowing depths, so be sure to check the seed packet for specific instructions. Some types, like radish and mustard, should be sown fairly deeply, while others, like basil and cilantro, should be sown more shallowly. As a general rule, you should aim for a sowing depth of about 1/8 to 1/4 inch for most types of microgreens.


Once the seeds are in place, lightly mist them with water to moisten them. Be sure to use a fine mist setting on your watering can or spray bottle to avoid washing the seeds away or disturbing them. You can also use a gentle stream of water from a hose or watering can to gently soak the soil, being careful not to disturb the seeds.


It's important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged during the germination process. Too much moisture can cause the seeds to rot, while not enough moisture can cause them to dry out and fail to germinate. To ensure that your seeds get the moisture they need, consider covering the tray with a sheet of plastic wrap or a plastic dome to create a humid environment. Be sure to remove the plastic once the seeds have germinated and the seedlings are a few inches tall.


Now that your seeds are planted, it's time to place your tray in a sunny spot and wait for them to grow!


Step 5: Water and cover


Once the seeds are in place, lightly mist them with water to moisten them. Be sure to use a fine mist setting on your watering can or spray bottle to avoid washing the seeds away or disturbing them. You can also use a gentle stream of water from a hose or watering can to gently soak the soil, being careful not to disturb the seeds.


It's important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged during the germination process. Too much moisture can cause the seeds to rot, while not enough moisture can cause them to dry out and fail to germinate. To ensure that your seeds get the moisture they need, consider covering the tray with a sheet of plastic wrap or a plastic dome to create a humid environment. Be sure to remove the plastic once the seeds have germinated and the seedlings are a few inches tall.


Now that your seeds are planted, it's time to place your tray in a sunny spot and wait for them to grow!


Step 6: Find a sunny spot


Microgreens need plenty of sunlight to grow, so be sure to place your tray in a sunny spot with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you don't have a sunny windowsill, you can also use grow lights to provide the necessary light.


Grow lights are a great option for those who don't have access to natural sunlight, or for those who want to extend their growing season. There are many different types of grow lights available, including fluorescent, LED, and HID (high-intensity discharge) lights.


Fluorescent lights are a good choice for small-scale growing, as they are relatively inexpensive and produce a broad spectrum of light. LED lights are more energy-efficient and can be more expensive, but they also produce a more targeted spectrum of light that is well-suited for plant growth. HID lights are the most powerful and are typically used for larger-scale growing, but they are also the most expensive and energy-intensive.


Regardless of the type of grow light you choose, be sure to place it as close to the plants as possible without burning them. A good rule of thumb is to keep the light about 2-4 inches away from the tops of the seedlings. This will provide them with the necessary light intensity without overheating them. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended height and placement of the grow light, as different types of lights may have different requirements.


It's also important to provide your microgreens with the right amount of light. Too little light can result in weak, spindly seedlings, while too much light can cause them to become leggy or stressed. A good rule of thumb is to provide your microgreens with about 14-18 hours of light per day. This can be achieved through a combination of natural sunlight and artificial light, or through artificial light alone.


By providing your microgreens with plenty of sunlight or grow light, you can help them to grow strong and healthy. With the right light conditions, your microgreens should be well on their way to maturity in no time!


Step 7: Water and maintain


Keep your microgreens hydrated by watering them regularly, but be careful not to over-water them. You can use a spray bottle or watering can to water your microgreens, and be sure to water gently to avoid disturbing the seeds. If you're using a container with a lid, make sure to remove the lid once the seeds have germinated to allow for proper ventilation. This will prevent the plants from becoming too damp and help to prevent mold growth.


Step 8: Harvest time!


Once your microgreens are about 1-3 inches tall, it's time to harvest them. Simply snip the microgreens off at the soil line using scissors or a sharp knife. You can then wash and drain the microgreens, and enjoy them right away or store them in the refrigerator for later use.


To store your microgreens, place them in a plastic bag or container and store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Be sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag or container to prevent them from wilting or drying out. Microgreens will generally keep for about 3-5 days in the refrigerator, depending on the type and the storage conditions.


When it comes to using your microgreens, the possibilities are endless! You can use them as a garnish, add them to salads, sandwiches, and smoothies, or use them as a flavorful topping for grilled meats and seafood. Because they are harvested at such a young age, they have a delicate, tender texture and a subtle, yet flavorful taste. This makes them a perfect addition to a wide range of dishes.


You can also experiment with different types of microgreens to see which ones you like best. Some types, like basil and cilantro, are best used raw, while others, like kale and arugula, can be lightly cooked or wilted. Experiment with different combinations and see what you like best!


Congratulations, you are now a microgreens expert! With this step-by-step guide, you should have everything you need to get started with growing your own microgreens at home. Not only are microgreens easy to grow and highly nutritious, but they are also versatile in the kitchen and can add a burst of flavor and visual interest to any dish. Plus, growing your own microgreens is a sustainable and cost-effective way to enjoy fresh produce all year round.


If you're ready to start growing your own microgreens but don't have the seeds or equipment you need, we have you covered! Establish Growers offers a wide variety of high-quality microgreen seeds and supplies, including trays, soil, and other essentials. Our seeds are carefully selected for their flavor and nutrient content, and our equipment is designed specifically for growing microgreens. Plus, with our fast and reliable shipping, you can have everything you need to get started with microgreens in no time.


So if you want to enjoy the benefits of microgreens but don't have the necessary supplies, visit establishgrowers.com today and get everything you need to get started. Happy growing!

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