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indoor-growing-tips-and-tricks

How to grow microgreens at home?

OUR TIP

For indoor cultivation of microgreens, the best bet is a shallow dish or tray preferably made of plastic. Make sure there are holes in the bottom for water drainage.
Microgreens: they aren’t just a fad for fancy restaurants anymore. Having gained popularity with chefs in California as early as the mid-eighties, these just-sprouted (but not sprouts) young plants full of flavour and packed with nutrients are becoming more well-known among the masses. Microgreens are truly superfoods, available to everyone in any season. Not only are they very healthy (with nutrient levels up to 40 times higher than their full-grown counterparts) but microgreens are full of flavour and easy to grow even for those with little cultivation experience. Not to mention these mini-greens don’t take up much space, which makes them perfect for a small-sized kitchen garden.

Here are some ideas to take into account if you’re looking to get started growing microgreens at home.

Container

For indoor cultivation of microgreens, the best bet is a shallow dish or tray preferably made of plastic. The dimensions can be variable and depend on the size of the surface area you wish to cultivate. However, the depth of the container shouldn’t exceed 5 cm so that the roots don’t get stressed searching for water too deep. In addition, your soil should come up to no less than 1 cm from the edge of the container so the young plants can breathe and get maximum exposure to the light. The bottom of the container should have holes to help drain any excess water and avoid water stagnation, which can lead to the development of harmful fungi and negatively affect the growth and quality of the microgreens.
Microgreen container


Soil Mix

One of the most crucial aspects of the cultivation of microgreens is the choice of soil. Here are some soil characteristics for optimal microgreen growing:
  • Porosity above 85% to ensure enough water retention but also a good level of root aeration
  • pH between 5.5 and 6.5
  • Free of heavy metals or other pollutants
  • Not microbiologically contaminated
All of this information should be available on any soil pack you find when setting up your microgreen garden.The most widely used type of soil mix for growing microgreens is peat, common in organic plant cultivation and derived from the decomposition of aquatic plant species, perlite and vermiculite, used either alone or in a mixture. An alternative to this soil mixture is coconut fibre. A good solution can be this soil mix.
Microgreen Soil


Seeds

For growing microgreens at home, we recommend using a trusted organic seed source. To lower the risk of infection, it’s best to wash the seeds before sowing (simply place them in a colander or strainer and run tap water over them).
Microgreen seeds


Pre-treatments

While some species of microgreens germinate easily, others take longer and need special attention to develop best. For a quick and uniform germination, some varieties do best with a pretreatment process before sowing. Among the techniques are:
  • Cold priming: the seeds are placed on a damp surface (for example on a wet paper towel or moist soil) and left in the fridge (at 5-10°C) so they can absorb water and oxygen for a maximum of 48 hours.
  • Soaking: seeds are immersed in water for a period of time depending on the variety. This helps induce germination.

Sowing

Another important aspect of microgreen cultivation is the sowing. Planting too many seeds per surface area (a high density) can result in weaker microgreens and also can cause elongated stems, as crowded plants stretch for more light. High-density sowing also creates a more humid micro-climate as air doesn’t circulate well, and this can increase susceptibility to rot, fungus or other infections that decrease the quality of your microgreens.

Microgreen seeds in dirt

For these reasons it’s important to be careful when sowing. The density of seeds can range from 1 seed per cm2 (for large seeds like chickpeas, peas, corn, etc.) to 4 seeds per cm2 (for smaller seeds like broccoli rabe, broccoli, cauliflower, chicory, etc.). Seeding takes place by manually placing the seeds on the soil surface. The seeds do not need to be placed too deep in the soil as this helps avoid the microgreens from collecting dirt when they sprout.

Germination happens in the dark, with ideal temperatures between 15-20°C, and during this period seed and soil should remain humid for the duration (two to three days). The best option is to cover your container with dark plastic wrap, or plastic wrap and a dish towel. This helps retain humidity and keep the seeds warm. Once the seeds have sprouted, the plastic wrap can be removed.


Watering

During the germination phase, we recommend using a spray bottle to water the seedlings. Once the plants have sprouted from under the soil, spray directly onto the soil at the bottom of the plant to keep the young leaves from getting wet. This method is best for the sensitive young sprouts and also helps avoid fungal diseases.


Harvesting

Depending on the variety, the microgreens can take anywhere from 5 to 21 days after germination to be ready for harvest. The young seedlings are ready to be harvested upon the appearance of their first true leaves (cotyledons) are fully expanded and plump. The optimum height of your microgreens varies depending on variety: anywhere from 3 to 7 cm is possible. To harvest and collect your miniature veggies, use scissors or a knife to the cut the plants a few millimetres from the surface. Since microgreens are sensitive and highly perishable, they should be consumed immediately or the container should be put directly into the fridge to harvest right before using. They can also be washed and stored in a tupperware container in the fridge.
For simple, step by step advice on to grow microgreens at home with Bulbo lights, take a peek at our guide.  

OUR TIP

For indoor cultivation of microgreens, the best bet is a shallow dish or tray preferably made of plastic. Make sure there are holes in the bottom for water drainage.
Microgreens: they aren’t just a fad for fancy restaurants anymore. Having gained popularity with chefs in California as early as the mid-eighties, these just-sprouted (but not sprouts) young plants full of flavour and packed with nutrients are becoming more well-known among the masses. Microgreens are truly superfoods, available to everyone in any season. Not only are they very healthy (with nutrient levels up to 40 times higher than their full-grown counterparts) but microgreens are full of flavour and easy to grow even for those with little cultivation experience. Not to mention these mini-greens don’t take up much space, which makes them perfect for a small-sized kitchen garden.

Here are some ideas to take into account if you’re looking to get started growing microgreens at home.

Container

For indoor cultivation of microgreens, the best bet is a shallow dish or tray preferably made of plastic. The dimensions can be variable and depend on the size of the surface area you wish to cultivate. However, the depth of the container shouldn’t exceed 5 cm so that the roots don’t get stressed searching for water too deep. In addition, your soil should come up to no less than 1 cm from the edge of the container so the young plants can breathe and get maximum exposure to the light. The bottom of the container should have holes to help drain any excess water and avoid water stagnation, which can lead to the development of harmful fungi and negatively affect the growth and quality of the microgreens.
Microgreen container


Soil Mix

One of the most crucial aspects of the cultivation of microgreens is the choice of soil. Here are some soil characteristics for optimal microgreen growing:
  • Porosity above 85% to ensure enough water retention but also a good level of root aeration
  • pH between 5.5 and 6.5
  • Free of heavy metals or other pollutants
  • Not microbiologically contaminated
All of this information should be available on any soil pack you find when setting up your microgreen garden.The most widely used type of soil mix for growing microgreens is peat, common in organic plant cultivation and derived from the decomposition of aquatic plant species, perlite and vermiculite, used either alone or in a mixture. An alternative to this soil mixture is coconut fibre. A good solution can be this soil mix.
Microgreen Soil


Seeds

For growing microgreens at home, we recommend using a trusted organic seed source. To lower the risk of infection, it’s best to wash the seeds before sowing (simply place them in a colander or strainer and run tap water over them).
Microgreen seeds


Pre-treatments

While some species of microgreens germinate easily, others take longer and need special attention to develop best. For a quick and uniform germination, some varieties do best with a pretreatment process before sowing. Among the techniques are:
  • Cold priming: the seeds are placed on a damp surface (for example on a wet paper towel or moist soil) and left in the fridge (at 5-10°C) so they can absorb water and oxygen for a maximum of 48 hours.
  • Soaking: seeds are immersed in water for a period of time depending on the variety. This helps induce germination.

Sowing

Another important aspect of microgreen cultivation is the sowing. Planting too many seeds per surface area (a high density) can result in weaker microgreens and also can cause elongated stems, as crowded plants stretch for more light. High-density sowing also creates a more humid micro-climate as air doesn’t circulate well, and this can increase susceptibility to rot, fungus or other infections that decrease the quality of your microgreens.

Microgreen seeds in dirt

For these reasons it’s important to be careful when sowing. The density of seeds can range from 1 seed per cm2 (for large seeds like chickpeas, peas, corn, etc.) to 4 seeds per cm2 (for smaller seeds like broccoli rabe, broccoli, cauliflower, chicory, etc.). Seeding takes place by manually placing the seeds on the soil surface. The seeds do not need to be placed too deep in the soil as this helps avoid the microgreens from collecting dirt when they sprout.

Germination happens in the dark, with ideal temperatures between 15-20°C, and during this period seed and soil should remain humid for the duration (two to three days). The best option is to cover your container with dark plastic wrap, or plastic wrap and a dish towel. This helps retain humidity and keep the seeds warm. Once the seeds have sprouted, the plastic wrap can be removed.


Watering

During the germination phase, we recommend using a spray bottle to water the seedlings. Once the plants have sprouted from under the soil, spray directly onto the soil at the bottom of the plant to keep the young leaves from getting wet. This method is best for the sensitive young sprouts and also helps avoid fungal diseases.


Harvesting

Depending on the variety, the microgreens can take anywhere from 5 to 21 days after germination to be ready for harvest. The young seedlings are ready to be harvested upon the appearance of their first true leaves (cotyledons) are fully expanded and plump. The optimum height of your microgreens varies depending on variety: anywhere from 3 to 7 cm is possible. To harvest and collect your miniature veggies, use scissors or a knife to the cut the plants a few millimetres from the surface. Since microgreens are sensitive and highly perishable, they should be consumed immediately or the container should be put directly into the fridge to harvest right before using. They can also be washed and stored in a tupperware container in the fridge.
For simple, step by step advice on to grow microgreens at home with Bulbo lights, take a peek at our guide.