If you’re determined to delve into a healthier lifestyle, you may be thinking about growing your own food or starting an organic veggie garden. However, if you feel like you don’t have a green thumb and the only thing you seem to be able to keep alive is your cacti collection, we have two words for you: microgreen seeds.
Microgreens have been around for decades, but they’ve picked up some momentum in the last several years and are available in most health food stores and grocery shops. While they’re on the expensive side when bought at the store, they’re one of the most affordable and manageable things to grow from the comfort of your home.
In this guide, you’ll learn more about these nutritional powerhouses. Join us as we explore the basics of how to grow microgreen seeds and 10 reasons why you should start growing your very own.
What Are Microgreen Seeds?
Microgreens seeds are simply vegetables, herbs, or flower seeds that are picked at their very first leaf stage. They’re older than sprouting seeds but younger than seedlings and are harvested within the first two to four weeks after sowing.
While you can plant them outdoors — in garden beds or pots — microgreen seeds thrive best indoors and only require shallow grower containers and a bright and sunny windowsill. Unlike mature plants, they only need 2 to 4 hours of direct sunlight or LED grow light.
Back to the Roots Microgreens Grow Kit is a great option for first time microgreen gardeners. It comes with six seed packets, soil discs, tray covers, a ceramic microgreen planter, and a useful daily checklist to make sure you’re covering all the needs of your baby veggies.
Some of the best microgreen seeds to kick-start your little green corner include:
- Daikon radish
- German turnip (kohlrabi)
- Green peas
Note: Some vegetables like eggplant, pepper, potato, and tomato are not edible as microgreens as they contain alkaloids, which at high levels can be toxic for humans.
No matter what veggies, herbs, or flowers you decide to grow, opting for certified organic seeds is the healthiest and most nutritious choice for your body. If you want to take your gardening to the next level, look for heirloom seeds. They are non-GMO seeds with traits and characteristics passed on by their parent plant and are a result of natural pollination methods.
10 Reasons To Start Your Microgreen Garden
Starting a microgreen garden not only comes with many benefits for your health but it’s also a fun and easy way to experience the joy of gardening. Germination occurs quickly — usually on the first 3 to 4 days, depending on the seed variety — and unlike mature plants that take months before you can harvest them, you’ll be harvesting your microgreens in less than four weeks!
Microgreens are newborn plants filled with immense nutritional value, and for that reason you should not cook them. They’re typically used as a garnish over avocado toast, sprinkled on top of creamy soups, tossed over ready-to-eat stir-fries, or added to delicious smoothies.
But there are no set rules when it comes to microgreens. As long as you don’t cook them, you can add them to just about anything or eat them on their own with a drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. Here’s a rundown of the best reasons to grow microgreen seeds.
1. You’ll Be Growing Superfoods On Your Windowsill
Health experts consider microgreens to be superfoods packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A study conducted by the University of Maryland analyzed 25 different types of microgreens. The scientists realized that most of the species included in the study contained up to 40 times more nutrient concentration than their mature versions. They suggested the reason for this is because microgreens are harvested soon after germination, when all the nutrients needed for the plant to grow are still present.
Growing your own microgreen seeds is an easy and efficient way to boost the nutritional value of all your meals. Simply snip a couple of greens and sprinkle them on top of your dishes for a nutritious and delicious meal.
2. You’ll Be Reaping the Rewards Quickly
Microgreens are incredibly satisfying to grow because they produce edible plants quite quickly. Amaranth, spinach, mustard, and broccoli sprouts can be snipped within 10 to 12 days after sowing seeds. If you don’t have the patience to wait for mature plants to bear fruit, starting a microgreens garden will satisfy your desires of growing your own food without any long-term waiting.
Quick tip: In general, microgreens are ready for harvest once the first set of true leaves appear. True leaves are not the first leaves to grow — called seed leaves —but the second set.
3. They Can Be Grown All-Year-Round (Indoors)
If you decide to grow your microgreen seeds indoors, you’ll have fresh greens ready to be picked throughout every season. And the great thing is, you can even get yourself a seed bundle for the season you’re sowing them in to reap all the benefits of eating seasonally.
For example, you can get the Back to the Roots Microgreen Seed Packets, which includes seeds for radish, wheatgrass, and sunflower pea shoots. Better still, they come with a 100% guarantee to grow — if your seeds don’t grow, you’ll get more until you successfully grow your baby plants.
One of the biggest questions about growing microgreens is whether they keep growing after they’ve been cut. While some varieties may regrow, most won’t as they simply don’t have enough resources to generate new growth.
To overcome that small inconvenience, you can simply sow more seeds immediately after harvesting your microgreens. You don’t even have to remove the old roots as they’re a fantastic organic matter source for the next greens. Scatter some fresh seeds, cover them with soil, and voila! You’re ready for round two.
4. You (They) Don’t Need a Lot of Space
If you live in a small apartment without a small balcony or terrace, microgreens are a fuss-free and convenient way to grow your food when space might be an issue.
One of the most significant advantages of growing microgreens is that they can be planted very close together and produce bountiful yields. This happens because they grow and are harvested so quickly that they don’t require the usual amount of space for their roots. All they need is adequate lighting and a few spritzes a day, especially during the hotter months.
5. It’s Perfect for Beginner Gardeners
If you can only keep succulents or cacti alive, growing microgreen seeds is a great way to dip your toe into veggie gardening.
It doesn’t involve many resources and time, and it doesn’t get any more straightforward when it comes to harvesting. And if for some reason you still end up looking at empty trays — though that’s highly unlikely — you can simply discard the contents of your small containers and start again (without having to wait months to find out whether your plants are growing successfully).
Microgreen seeds offer a fantastic way to learn the basics of gardening and to connect to nature even if you’re surrounded by a concrete jungle and traffic jams.
6. It’s a Great Way To Connect Kids With Food
Using microgreen seeds to show them how food is grown will undoubtedly be a wondrous experience that will stay with them forever and will impact them when they start making their own food choices.
If you’d like to take the microgreen teaching moment to the next level, you can combine it with the use of hydroponics. In fact, many gardening experts consider this method one of the best for growing microgreen seeds.
Using an aquaponics system like the Back to the Roots Water Garden is a joyful way to show children how sustainability works while creating a garden that requires minimal maintenance.
7. It Increases Veggie Intake for Picky Eaters
All parents know that sometimes it can be hard to make kids (and adults) love vegetables. Growing microgreens with your children is an effortless way to spark their curiosity about food and a creative way to convince them to include these cute, tiny veggies into their meals.
Add some nutty-flavored sunflower microgreens to their sandwiches, squeeze some broccoli baby greens inside their burgers, or sprinkle some arugula sprouts on top of their favorite pizza for an easy way to eat more veggies.
8. It’s Affordable
When you check the price of organic microgreens at your local health food shop, you can almost hear your budget crying a little. The great news is that growing just one microgreen seed tray is a lot cheaper than buying one bag of supermarket microgreens. Plus, the freshness and crispness of your microgreens will put the packaged versions to shame!
9. They Pack Great Flavor
Much like their dense nutrient concentration, microgreens also contain a lot more flavor than mature plants. When you’re deciding which microgreens to grow, think of your favorite herbs and veggies. Microgreens will have a similar flavor profile, but more intense. Adding these vibrant and fresh leaves to your food is a great way to spice up your dishes and create delicious and unexpected new tastes.
10. No Pests, No Worries
Another great benefit of microgreens is that you don’t need to worry about pests, even if you plant them outdoors. Since they grow and are harvested in such a short period, they’re rarely bothered by diseases or pests.
If you’re growing them outside along with other mature veggies — especially leafy greens and cabbages — be mindful that there may be some snails and slugs lurking in the shadows, and they may end up eating your lovely microgreens. Covering them with a net may be a good idea to prevent birds from stealing your baby greens.
Start Your Gardening Journey By Growing Microgreen Seeds
If you have a busy life and not a lot of time to start a more engaging garden, a microgreen garden can be the perfect fit for you. It’s simple, straightforward, nourishing, and a great introduction to the art of gardening.
Another easy and rewarding way to earn some green points is by planting aromatic herbs. If you’re curious about how to get started, check out our step-by-step guide to learn about the easiest herbs to grow and some tips about plant care.