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How to grow microgreens at home

If there was an award for the easiest veggie and herb to grow in your windowsill, it would go to microgreens! These edible veggies come in over 25 different varieties like kale, arugula and beets, and are packed with loads of nutrients, perfect for that pre or post-workout snack. Toss them into your salad, sandwich or smoothie for flavour or simply use them for garnishing to dazzle your guests. 

Microgreens grow quickly and are very easy to grow at home. On October 22nd, we participated in a session at stackt Market in King West, Toronto, where we got the lowdown on how to plant microgreens at home – and trust us, it was super easy!

But first, let’s talk about microgreens versus sprouts (yes there is a difference)! 

Here’s what you need to know about sprouts: 

• Sprouts are germinated in water and rinsed twice a day. You can keep them in these cute jars for an easy rinse and refill 

• Sprout seeds need to sit in a container for a day or two to let them sprout before planting 

• They grow quickly and can be harvested within four to six days 

Both the seed and the seedling can be consumed (perfect for snacks) 

There are many different types of sprouts like radish, sunflower, pumpkin, chickpea and many more 

What about microgreens? 

• The whole plant can be consumed, leaves and stem

• Microgreens take around one to two weeks to grow before harvesting 

• Do not eat the seed! Chop off your plants with scissors at soil level 

• There are a lot of microgreens to pick from but here are some of our favourites: chard, onions, beet greens and kale

What you will need to plant microgreens

seeds lined up to be planted on a table

It doesn’t take a lot to plant microgreens and sprouts. Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Seeds 

o Tip: For beginners, the easiest plants to grow and maintain are arugula, basil, and radish

o Get more bang for your buck by buying microgreen and sprout seeds in bulk! 

2. A shallow container with drainage holes

o A nursery flat or plastic takeout containers work best (remember to recycle!) 

o If your container doesn’t have built-in drainage, poke a few drainage holes in the bottom and voila! 

3. Some dirt. A soilless seedling mix works best 

4. A plant mister and water 

5. A sunny windowsill for your plants to sit and grow on  

Gardening gloves and a trowel can be used but aren’t a must because there’s nothing better than having an excuse to get your hands dirty!

Step 1: Fill containers with dirt 

Putting dirt into container

The first step to growing your own little garden in your home is to remoisten the soil by sprinkling warm water onto the dirt and blending it until it’s damp. 

containers with packed dirt

Fill each container with an inch or two of moistened potting soil but don’t pack it into place! Packing the container too tight can lead to drainage issues. 

Step 2: Plant the seeds 

Sprinkling seeds into dirt

This is the fun part! Sprinkle your seeds on top of the soilless seedling mix leaving at least a quarter of an inch of space between the seeds. If you over sow the seeds very close together, the plants will compete for food and space, leaving patches in between your plants (a big no no). 

Step 3: Give your plants water 

Spraying mist onto seeds

Pull out your water mister and start spritzing away (without washing away your seeds, of course). Water your seeds with a gentle mist shower every day, ideally in the morning, to keep the soilless seedling mix damp until green shoots sprout from them. 

Be careful! If your soil is too wet, the seeds will not root and your microgreens won’t grow. 

Step 4: Place a cover over your plants

plant tray with lid over it

Cover your plants with a domed lid or a lightweight sheet to maintain humidity and to encourage growth. Take a second look at your seed packets as some seeds should be barely covered, while others need full coverage for plants to sprout and grow. 

Tip: Label your plants by writing the name of the microgreen you planted as well as the date, so you can keep track of the growing process. 

Step 5: Let your plants grow 

plants growing

Remove your lid once your seeds start to grow and little plants are poking up through the soil. Set your plants on a sunny windowsill for 12 to 14 hours a day so that your microgreens can continue to grow indoors. 

Keep the soil moist at the roots to promote healthy growth but do not soak the leaves. 

Step 6: Harvest your plants

plants that are ready to be harvested

Now the really fun part! Once the seedlings are one to two inches tall and have at least two sets of leaves, they’re ready to snip and eat! 

Sprinkle your microgreens on your toast with avocado, toss them into your smoothie, or get fancy and garnish your soup with them.

Whatever you decide to do with your microgreens, we guarantee it’ll be delicious and nutritious! Microgreens are rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. They also contain vitamin and antioxidant levels that are 40 times higher than mature leaves. Time to get growing!