By now you know that microgreens are more than the packet of cress you had to plant at school, the seeds are freshly ordered and now you want to grow microgreens for the first time? Nothing could be easier!
We have put together a short guide for you if you want to grow microgreens. This includes the theoretical part first, but it shouldn't be too long, because as the saying goes, "All theory is grey, and greyish are its heralds.
The following five prerequisites are particularly important to make microgreens cultivation work.
Prerequisites for successful cultivation
- Good substrate: If you want to grow microgreens, we recommend good organic soil. Hemp mats, coconut fiber mats and other natural materials are also possible, but in our opinion, the young greenery grown in soil tastes better, is more vital and you do not need to fertilize. The plantlets can feed perfectly with the nutrients contained in the healthy soil without stunting. When growing on mats, fleece or similar, you should re-fertilize after about 10 days to provide the green with the required nutrients (Please use only organic fertilizers and not too much of it!).
- Optimal temperature: The optimal temperature for growing microgreens is between 18 and 22°C. Microgreens love an even temperature, then they develop the fastest. At higher temperatures, bacteria and fungi can appear, while your seedlings will dry out faster. At lower temperatures, the seedlings can absorb less water and develop more slowly, and you may have problems with mold.
- Sufficient air and light: When growing, microgreens need sufficient light to form chlorophyll and their valuable vital substances. If you do not have a bright windowsill, you can also install a small additional lighting. For example, you can buy very good LED lamps with daylight spectrum. Please be careful not to expose the tender plants to direct sunlight, especially in the first few days, so that they do not burn. Regular aeration is important - especially in the last days of growing - to get rid of excess moisture. So you can quite effectively avoid rot from the very beginning.
- Organic quality: Only with microgreens seeds from organic cultivation you can be sure that this comes relatively uncontaminated and has not been exposed to chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
- Microgreens growing trays: There are special trays or trays for growing microgreens, which are usually no higher than 6 inches. Please make sure that there are drainage holes in the bottom of the trays so that excess water can run off and waterlogging is prevented. If you don't have professional trays at hand, or if you want to see if you enjoy growing them, you can also use any discarded (plastic) tray that has holes in the bottom, e.g. a tray from the supermarket where blueberries, raspberries, etc. were sold.
So enough about theory, we don't know about you, but we're itching to get started 🙂 .
Step by step instructions for growing microgreens
We recommend that you first rinse and then soak larger seeds such as sunflowers, peas, mung beans or chard in water 8-12 hours before planting (ideally overnight). Please use three times the volume of water as the amount of seeds, as the seeds can swell up a lot.
However, there are exceptions to (small) seeds that should not be soaked under any circumstances, such as rocket, cress and chia seeds. These are slime-forming and after soaking they degenerate into a gelatinous mass that is impossible to use.
In our table you will find soaking times for different microgreens seeds.
Take a shallow tray with a height of 3-7 cm and fill it about 2-4 cm high with good organic growing soil. Then create a smooth and even surface with a pusher so that you can distribute the seeds well and they do not collect in holes in the soil.
Now you can distribute your seeds evenly over the soil. The right distribution density requires a bit of intuition and experience: Make sure that you take just enough seed so that the grains do not lie on top of each other. But don't use too little either, so that you make the best use of your growing space.
After distributing the seeds, press them down lightly with a pusher so that all the seeds make contact with the soil. Now you can (best with a Pressure sprayer) moisten your tray. Again, be careful not to over-water, otherwise everything will be flooded, but also not too little, so that all the seeds and the soil are moist enough.
Now you're almost there!
If your seed is a light sprout, you can simply leave the tray open or cover it with cling film. If you leave it open, please make sure that your seeds do not dry out. Otherwise, it is best to check once or twice a day to make sure it is not getting too dry. If it is, spray it! The soil should always be moist, but not soggy.
If your microgreen variety is a dark germinator, you can either put a little soil on top of the seed or cover it airtight and dark with a second tray or cover. This will ensure that there is enough humidity in your tray and that the seeds get the darkness they need for optimal germination.
Our secret tip: It's best to say "Hello again" to your greenery once or twice a day 😉 and check the humidity. Experiments have repeatedly shown that plants grow better and more magnificently when we talk to them and we can confirm this from our own experience.
For more information and tips and tricks on your favourite leafy greens, visit our respective seeds page.
Wait & enjoy harvest anticipation
Now you only need to wait about 3-4 days until all the seedlings have germinated and reached a height of about 1-3 cm. Then you can remove the cover. From now on, please keep a close eye on whether it is moist enough in the tray.
If your tray has holes at the bottom, it is best to put it in another tray of water for about half an hour and let it refuel itself.
If your tray does not have holes at the bottom, you can also water it with a hand sprayer, this is also possible with robust microgreens such as peas, sunflowers etc. without any problems. You should be more careful with fine microgreens like broccoli, amaranth and the like, they don't like moisture on their leaves and rot faster.
Until harvesting after 7 to 20 days, only regular watering is necessary. After that, depending on the variety, you can cut your microgreens finger-width above the soil at the desired time and enjoy!
Please only cut as many microgreens as you want for your meal, because after harvesting the small greens should be used directly.
Bon appetit microgreens and until the next variety 🙂
A little tip about the soil you used: Unfortunately, the soil is not suitable for a new pass, as it could start to mould due to seed residues. You can either dispose of it in the compost or reuse it in flower beds.
There are countless ways to grow microgreens, this is just one of them. This is not meant to be a complete manual, just a rough guide. Just try a lot, let your creativity run wild and find your optimal way. If it doesn't work out, don't despair, no master has ever fallen from the sky 😉 If you have specific questions, you are also welcome to search our FAQ for a suitable answer!
And if you want to learn a bit more about the origins of microgreens, which microgreens varieties there are, which of them are suitable for beginners and what the crucial difference is to sprouts, then feel free to read our blog post "What are microgreens?".