Garden & Landscape Tips

Microgreens growing on a windowsill
Microgreens will vary in appearance depending on their variety.
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Maybe you’ve seen them on a plate at an upscale restaurant or maybe you’ve come across them in someone’s post about their tiny home garden - wherever you’ve seen microgreens, you might be wondering, what are these tiny plants?

The toddlers of the garden

Microgreens in the lifecycle of broccoli
This photo shows the life cycle of broccoli, including the second stage where it appears as a microgreen.
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Microgreens are the seedlings of various vegetables and herbs. From radish to kale, to sunflower, there are loads of different microgreens that can be grown, each with their own unique flavor. Given that they are seedlings, microgreens are in the second stage of plant development. They come along right after sprouts, so if sprouts are the babies of the plant world, microgreens are the toddlers. And much like a toddler, these young plants pack a punch despite their small size.

Tiny plants, big benefits

While tiny, growing around one to three inches tall, microgreens contain big flavor and have great nutritional value.

The flavor of microgreens depends on their variety. There’s the nutty alfalfa, zesty basil, spicy radish, and countless other flavor choices. While there are some neutral varieties, like kale and parsley, most microgreens adopt a strong flavor due to the concentration of the mature plant’s flavor in such a small green.

Just as the older plant’s flavor is concentrated in microgreens, so are the nutrients. Microgreens often boast significantly higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than fully grown plants. So not only are they a tasty addition for an extra kick to your meals, but they’re healthy too!

Flavor and nutrition aren’t the only reason these tiny greens are all the rave though; they’ve also become popular in the home garden because they are super fast and easy to grow. 

Microgreen growing guide

Often said to be ‘from seed to feed in just 1-3 weeks’ it is no wonder so many people have added microgreens to their at-home garden. To begin your own microgreen garden, you'll first need to pick a suitable location.

Fenugreek microgreens growing on a windowsill
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  • Microgreens grow best on a warm, sunny windowsill, especially one that is south facing. You can also grow microgreens with a grow light which works particularly well for gardeners in darker regions.
  • When it comes to a container for your microgreens, shallow and wide is best, but almost anything will work - think pie trays, take-out containers, or even cooking pans. Fill your chosen container with 1-2 inches of high-quality potting soil, making sure to keep the soil loose and leaving just enough of it to be used to cover the seeds later on.
Microgreens planted in egg shells
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  • Once the soil is down, scatter the microgreen seeds about ¼ - ⅛ inch apart on the soil. Then, lightly cover the seeds with another ¼ inch of soil, gently water so that the soil is moist, and begin the countdown for your tasty microgreen harvest.
Microgreen seeds
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A handy tip: grow your microgreens one tray at a time. This will spread the growing over time so that you can have fresh greens multiple different times rather than harvesting all the plants at once.

  • As your microgreens grow, be sure to keep the soil moist, but not soaked. A mister, such as an upcycled spray bottle, is great for watering and can be used to mist the plants once or twice a day for the entire growing period.
Spraying microgreen sprouts
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  • Your microgreens will be ready to harvest when they have grown true leaves. This takes anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on the type of greens. The leaves will be the only ones the plants grow, so it will be easy to identify when they are ready. To harvest, simply cut the greens right at the soil level.
Microgreens ready to harvest
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Will they grow again?

Once you harvest your greens you may wonder, can I regrow the plants that I cut? The answer: maybe. Regrowing microgreens after cutting largely depends on the type of greens you planted. If you happen to plant a variety that is able to be regrown, the second harvest is likely to be much smaller, slower, and have a different taste. So, while they can be regrown, it is usually best to start over with new microgreen seeds.

The cut greens aren’t totally useless, though, if they can’t be regrown - add them to your compost pile or keep them in the containers to serve as organic matter for your next round of plants.

What can I make with microgreens?

Assorted microgreens
Microgreens can be stored in the fridge for about a week when kept between damp paper towels in a sealed bag or container.
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While you may have only seen them as a garnish, microgreens are super versatile and can be used in an endless variety of dishes for added flavor, nutrients, color, or even texture. Here are some dish ideas for your next tiny plant harvest, and remember, you can always vary any microgreen recipe to use as many or as few of the greens as you want.

  • Avocado toast with microgreens
  • Microgreen salad with assorted dressings
  • Burger topped with microgreens
  • Fruit smoothie blended with microgreens
  • Pizza, any style, topped with microgreens (added either before cooking or after for a fresh crunch)
  • Microgreen pesto
  • Lemon garlic pasta with microgreens
  • Microgreens in sushi

By Darby Seymour, Marketing Intern, Garden Writer

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