These delicious tiny plants have flavor and are full of vitamins and antioxidants, making them the perfect addition to nearly any dish. They reportedly provide five times more nutrients compared to a mature plant, according to the USDA, and can be harvested in just 10 to 14 days.
Microgreens can be used for salads, sandwiches, wraps or as edible garnish to top off your favorite dishes.
Fancy growing your own? Here are some tips that help ease you into the latest health trend.
Microgreen Care Tips
Around the third day, when sprouts begin to develop, it’s best to remove the plastic wrap around the plants for optimal growth. Continue to mist the sprouts as needed to keep the soil moist and soft. You can also try an alternative method of watering the plant by removing the tray containing the seedlings and placing water in the bottom tray to soak the seedlings. Once the seedlings are 2- or 3-inches tall, check around the plant for true leaves that have started to bud. If you see that bud then your microgreens are ready!
Planting Microgreens Outdoors in the Garden
Some gardeners prefer growing their microgreens indoors as they feel that growing them outdoors take too much work. Microgreens grown outside tend to grow slower, with leaves that aren’t as tender as ones that are grown indoors. They will also need to be covered in order to germinate and will need to be protected from pests. However, the planting process doesn’t vary much at all.
It’s best to wait out the last frost in your area before planting as most of these tender, annual herbs can sprout and develop better in warm soil. When the weather allows, it’s time to find a small, leveled area in your garden, away from direct sunlight (too much sun can dry out the soil.) You can also improve the soil using compost, by incorporating it well into the soil until there are no lumps and have a fine texture.
You can then hand-sow the seeds and cover them gently with soil. Water well with a light spray and keep them covered until the seeds germinate. Keep them moist by watering once or twice a day depending on weather and temperatures. You will also need to keep predators away from your outdoor microgreens by covering them with nets held by hoops or garden stakes.
Check on your plants often as microgreens planted on the ground can take a few days longer to be ready for harvest due to weather fluctuations.
Harvesting and Storing
Microgreens are easy to harvest whether they’re grown indoors or outdoors. You can use scissors or a chef’s knife to cut the seedlings just above the soil. It’s faster to get done using a chef’s knife and you can also get a bigger harvest this way. Use cool water to rinse the herbs and set on paper towels to dry. You can also use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture. If you have leftover microgreens, you can store them in the refrigerator by putting them in between paper towels and placing inside a plastic bag. This will extend their shelf life for around a week.
One seedbed can yield up to three harvests but some gardeners experience less flavor or herbs that aren’t as tender as the first two crops. Either way, once you harvest your last crop, it’s time to move it to the compost bin and start gardening with fresh soil. Plant more seeds to keep up your supply of microgreens to have a constant stock of fresh herbs in your refrigerator.
It’s a lot of work at first but once you take full advantage of these tender, succulent, and flavorful microgreens, you’ll want to experiment with some fresh and tasty recipes.