Kale, the green powerhouse known for its exceptional nutritional profile, also manifests these benefits in its tender, younger form - the kale microgreen.
With a smaller stature but an equally impressive nutrient content, kale microgreens are rapidly gaining popularity among health enthusiasts and home gardeners alike.
Growing to a mere 1-3 inches tall, these microgreens exhibit a vibrant green color and have a beautifully shaped leaf structure that is characteristic of the larger, mature kale plant.
They offer a delightful mix of flavors – mildly sweet, yet subtly peppery, an aspect that makes them a versatile addition to any dish.
One of the significant highlights of kale microgreens is their robust nutritional profile. Packed with vitamins A, C, and K, they provide a concentration of these vital nutrients much higher than mature kale. Besides, they're also an excellent source of calcium, iron, and beneficial antioxidants, supporting overall health and wellbeing.
Kale microgreens also showcase remarkable resilience while growing, making them a great starting point for novice microgreen gardeners.
They thrive in a wide range of temperatures, are quite resistant to pests, and with proper care, have a relatively low susceptibility to mold.
Kale microgreens combine the nutritional punch of mature kale, the culinary versatility of microgreens, and the simplicity of indoor gardening.
If you're seeking to add a new, nutritious green to your microgreen garden, kale could very well be your next exciting venture.
Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting your microgreen journey, the journey of growing kale microgreens promises to be rewarding.
How To Grow Kale Microgreens
To start your journey of growing kale microgreens, you'll need a few basic materials:
Kale Seeds: Look for high-quality, organic kale seeds from a reputable supplier to ensure a healthy, prolific crop.
Growing Trays: You'll need shallow, 10 by 20-inch trays, ideally with drainage holes. Some gardeners prefer using two trays - one with drainage holes (which holds the growing medium and seeds) and a solid one beneath it to hold water.
Growing Medium: A good-quality organic soil or a soilless mix, such as coconut coir, works best for growing microgreens.
Spray Bottle: A spray bottle is essential to keep the seeds moist during the initial stages of germination.
Light Source: Kale microgreens need ample light to grow well. If you don't have a spot with plenty of natural sunlight, you might consider getting a grow light.
Harvesting Tools: A sharp pair of scissors or a knife will be needed for harvesting your mature microgreens.
Once you have all these materials gathered and ready, you're all set to embark on the rewarding journey of growing your own kale microgreens at home.
Step. 1 Prepare The Grow Tray
Begin your kale microgreen cultivation by preparing the grow tray. Select a tray with drainage holes and fill it evenly with your chosen growing medium.
Smooth out the surface and thoroughly moisten it using a spray bottle. If you choose to pour water directly, allow 3-5 minutes for excess water to drain into the water tray below.
Step 2. Add The Seeds
Next, scatter the kale seeds on top of the moistened growing medium. Ensure you spread the seeds evenly using your hands across the entire surface of the container.
Aim for a dense yet evenly spaced arrangement to achieve a lush crop, taking care not to overseed as this can lead to uneven growth, wilting, or potential mold issues.
Step 3. Cover The Seeds
After seeding, give the seeds another light misting with the spray bottle. Cover them with an object that blocks light completely – a flipped 10x20 tray serves this purpose well for those using this size.
Kale seeds require humidity and darkness for optimal germination. Position your tray in a spot with a stable temperature, ideally between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
To keep the seeds moist, mist them approximately 15 times every 10-12 hours. You should witness the first signs of germination within 2-3 days.
Step 4. Uncover And Give Light
Following a period of 3-4 days, it's time to expose your kale microgreens to light for at least 12 hours daily.
A grow light is recommended as natural light from a window may result in leggy, leaning plants.
Step 5. Check Daily
From this stage until harvest, maintaining appropriate water levels for your microgreens is crucial. Transition from misting the plants to adding water directly into the second tray.
This "bottom watering" technique helps keep the foliage dry and mitigates the risk of mold growth.
Rotate your tray occasionally if you notice your microgreens leaning towards the light source. Uneven growth is common and typically no cause for concern.
Enjoy the process of observing your flourishing kale microgreens daily.
Troubleshooting Common Kale Microgreens Growing Challenges
As you delve into the exciting world of growing kale microgreens, you might encounter a few hurdles along the way.
Here, we will address some common growing challenges, their potential causes, and possible solutions to help you cultivate a successful crop.
Problem: You find that many of your seeds are not sprouting.
Solution: The issue might be due to old or poor-quality seeds, inadequate moisture, or incorrect temperature. Always purchase seeds from a reputable supplier and ensure they are stored correctly. Keep your growing medium consistently moist and maintain an ambient temperature between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal germination.
Problem: You notice fuzzy white or green patches on your tray, a common indicator of mold.
Solution: Mold usually arises from overwatering, poor ventilation, or overly dense seeding. Ensure you provide good airflow around your growing trays and practice bottom watering to keep the foliage dry. Also, be mindful not to overseed; ample space allows for better air circulation which reduces the chances of mold development.
Leggy or Leaning Growth:
Problem: Your microgreens are growing tall and thin, bending towards the light source.
Solution: This often signifies inadequate light. Increase the duration or intensity of light exposure, or consider switching to a stronger light source. Regularly rotating your tray can also help even out growth if light distribution is uneven.
Problem: The leaves of your kale microgreens are turning yellow.
Solution: Yellowing can indicate a lack of light or nutrient deficiency. Ensure your microgreens get ample light exposure and consider adding a nutrient solution designed for microgreens to your watering routine if yellowing persists.
Remember, growing microgreens, like any gardening endeavor, is a learning process. Don’t be discouraged by these challenges; they're opportunities to become a better urban farmer. Keep experimenting and tweaking your process, and soon you'll be harvesting robust, vibrant, and flavorful kale microgreens.
How To Harvest Kale Microgreens
After about 8 to 12 days, your kale microgreens should be ready to harvest. Taste-test a few to determine if they have reached their peak flavor.
When harvesting kale microgreens, it's best to use scissors or a knife. Cut approximately half an inch above the growing medium.
Congratulations, you have successfully grown your own kale microgreens!
Washing and Drying Kale Microgreens
To clean your kale microgreens, rinse them thoroughly under cold water using a colander.
For drying, spread them out on paper towels and let them air dry. If you're in a hurry, you can speed up the drying process using a fan on a slow setting.
For the best taste and nutritional value, consume the cut microgreens immediately after drying.
How To Store Kale Microgreens
After harvesting your kale microgreens, you may be curious about how to store them.
It's simple - just place the microgreens loosely in a bowl or container and store them in the refrigerator.
Uses For Kale Microgreens
Kale microgreens have a flavor that's reminiscent of mild cabbage or kale, but they're slightly sweeter.
They are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, and sandwiches.
If you're looking for a healthy addition to your juices or smoothies, consider including kale microgreens.
They also make a great ingredient for wheatgrass shots, providing a nutritious boost.
Having just explored the fascinating world of growing kale microgreens, you might be wondering, 'What more can I learn and grow in the world of microgreens?'
Our Mastering Microgreens: Grow Nutrient-Dense Greens at Home eBook is just what you need to dive into this green world.
This comprehensive guide is filled with tips to help beginners start and garden enthusiasts to level up their microgreen growing skills.
From understanding different varieties, navigating common growing issues, to innovative ways of incorporating these nutrient-dense greens into your meals, this guide covers it all.
Transform your home into a mini greens farm and explore the joy of growing your own food.
Are you ready to embrace the world of microgreens?
Get the Mastering Microgreens eBook
6 Kale Microgreen Recipe Ideas
Kale microgreens can add a burst of flavor and nutritional value to many meals. Here are some innovative kale microgreen recipe ideas for including them in your diet:
1. Kale Microgreen Pesto: Blend a cup of kale microgreens, a handful of basil, two garlic cloves, a quarter cup of pine nuts, a half cup of parmesan cheese, and half a cup of olive oil. This vibrant green pesto is perfect for pasta, sandwiches, or as a tasty dip.
2. Kale Microgreen Smoothie: Mix a handful of kale microgreens with a banana, a cup of spinach, a cup of almond milk, and a tablespoon of honey. This healthy and refreshing smoothie is a great way to start your day.
3. Microgreen Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette: Toss kale microgreens, thinly sliced radishes, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber in a homemade lemon vinaigrette (lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper). This light and tangy salad is a delightful side dish.
4. Avocado Toast with Kale Microgreens: Toast your favorite bread, spread a ripe avocado on top, and sprinkle a generous amount of kale microgreens over it. Add a dash of salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil for a quick, nutritious breakfast or snack.
5. Kale Microgreen Omelette: Sauté diced onions, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes in a pan. Add beaten eggs and cook until set. Sprinkle cheese and kale microgreens over half of the omelette, fold over, and serve hot.
6. Grilled Cheese with Kale Microgreens: Add a layer of kale microgreens to your classic grilled cheese sandwich for a nutrient-rich crunch.
Experiment with these recipes and feel free to adapt them to your personal preferences.
The addition of kale microgreens not only enhances the flavor of your meals but also significantly boosts their nutritional content.
5 Health Benefits of Kale Microgreens
Kale microgreens are loaded with powerful antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These antioxidants have cardiovascular and immune system benefits. Other health benefits include:
1. Improves Digestion
Kale contains vitamin C and B which is critical for boosting the absorption of iron, which helps turn food into energy. These prebiotic fibers in kale support the growth of gut microbes which help digest food (1).
2. Aids in Weight Loss
Kale microgreens contain two of the most vital nutrients when it comes to losing weight, protein, and fiber. Kale microgreens are mostly made up of water and have very few calories, which also helps when losing weight.
3. Protects your Eyes
Kale microgreens have lutein and zeaxanthin which are powerful antioxidants that protect your eyes (2)
4. Protects You Against Diabetes
Kale microgreens have an incredibly important mineral that most people don't get enough of, magnesium. Which helps protect the body against type 2 diabetes (3).
5. Anti-Cancer Properties
Kale contains a powerful compound known to attack cancer at the cellular level. This compound is known as sulforaphane (4).
Kale Microgreens Nutritional Chart
Brassica Napus Pabularia
Minerals per 100g of (FW)
Vitamins per 100g of (FW)
Vitamin A, RAE
In this section, we'll address some common queries regarding the growth and care of kale microgreens:
How long does it take for kale microgreens to grow?
Typically, kale microgreens are ready to harvest between 8 to 12 days from the time of seeding.
Can I reuse my growing medium?
While it is possible, it's generally not recommended. Reusing the growing medium might lead to the proliferation of molds or diseases. For optimal growth and to ensure the health of your microgreens, start with fresh, sterile growing medium each time.
How much light do kale microgreens need?
Kale microgreens need approximately 12-16 hours of light per day once they've been uncovered and introduced to light. A south-facing window or a grow light can provide the necessary light conditions.
What if my kale microgreens are not growing evenly?
This could be due to uneven distribution of seeds or watering. Ensure that seeds are spread evenly and that your growing medium is uniformly moist. Rotating your tray could also help with more even growth.
Final Thoughts on Growing Kale Microgreens
The process of growing your own kale microgreens at home is simple, rewarding, and beneficial for your health.
With their rich, sweet flavor and high nutritional value, these microgreens are an excellent addition to a variety of dishes.
They also provide the joy of growing your own food, even in the smallest of spaces.
So, gather your supplies, sow those seeds, and start enjoying the benefits of these microgreen superfoods today!
If you're interested in learning more about microgreens check out our comprehensive Microgreen eBook.
This step-by-step eBook will teach you everything you need to know about growing microgreens, including which varieties are easiest to grow and how to care for them.