Microgreens are among the easiest type of vegetable to grow indoors. If you’re new to indoor gardening and want to branch out beyond the basic handful of houseplants, try these tiny and tasty greens. While they are simple to grow just for your own use, the increasing popularity of these tender leaves in grocery stores and restaurants means that commercial growers are also getting into the microgreen game. Here’s what you need to know and the supplies to have on hand to start your indoor microgreen patch.
What are Microgreens?
These tasty greens are simply the young, early growth of vegetables. All kinds of lettuce, leafy greens (like collards and kale), and even vegetables like beets and broccoli can be produced as microgreens. The idea is to let the seeds sprout in soil, and when you have young, tender but true leaves, harvest and enjoy them. This occurs when the sprouts are about two inches (5 cm.) tall. When the leaves get a little bigger and more mature, they are harvested as baby greens.
Microgreens are increasingly popular because they offer a special flavor and unique texture that you can’t get from full-grown greens, or even baby greens. They are tiny, tender, and can be more intense in flavor than the greens on the mature plant. Microgreens add an attractive garnish as well as a unique taste to a lot of dishes, especially salads.
Veggies to Grow as Microgreens
Lettuces make great baby greens, but they are not so successful as micros. They are simply too tender and delicate and will quickly wilt and become unusable. Better are hardier greens and green vegetables. Try these to get your indoor gardening started:
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
These are just a few ideas, but there are many others you can try. Also look for different varieties of these types of veggies and greens to get a range of colors, textures, and flavors in your microgreen garden.
Indoor Gardening with Microgreens
Few things are easier to grow than microgreens. All you need is a shallow growing tray, soil, water, and a warm spot. A basic organic potting mix is fine for soil, although you can also use a soilless medium. A shallow plastic tray with some drainage holes works well for the container.
Press seeds gently into the soil or medium and keep it moist with a misting spray bottle. Cover the tray until the seeds germinate. Once they have sprouted, uncover the tray and put the seedlings in a spot with light. Throughout the process, the soil should be at least 60 degrees F. (15 C.). Once you have true leaves on your sprouts, you can harvest them by simply cutting the stems at soil level.
Microgreens Kits and Supplies
An easy way to get started growing microgreens is to purchase a kit, like the mini microgreen kits offered online at True Leaf Market. The kits come with seeds, growing medium, a container with cover, and a mister.
This is also a good resource for supplies for your ongoing microgreen gardening and even for commercial growers. You’ll find seeds for every kind and variety of microgreen vegetable you can think of, as well as seed mixes, larger growing trays, soil and non-soil media, and hydroponic supplies.
Indoor gardening with microgreens is so easy that even beginners can do it. Best of all, this can be done all year long. Give it a try, but make sure you have all the right supplies and seeds first.