microgreen garden inside a house

Microgreens 101

LIVE greener | 5 MIN READ | 2019-10-15

What exactly are microgreens? Aside from what we already know (hello, micro + greens), we want to get to the root of these trendy veggies and herbs. Influencers are growing them in their homes and markets everywhere are stocking them – but why?

Microgreens are seedlings (baby plants raised from seeds) of edible veggies and herbs that come in over 25 different varieties, from kale to arugula to beets. They’re smaller than baby greens and bigger than sprouts, and have intense flavours (perfect for garnishing).

They grow super-fast, which is why they’re so fun to grow at home (and more affordable). For example, a purple radish’s microgreens can be harvested in 6 days – and they’re packed with yummy flavour! They’re also loaded with nutrients, hence their growing popularity.

What are the health benefits of microgreens?

bowl of microgreens on table

Tiny size, tons of nutrients – like vitamins C, E and K, and beta-carotene – around 5 times more than the mature leaves of the same plants hold (crazy!). But before you completely replace adult veggies with the babies, it’s important to note that the bigger plants hold more fibre, so don’t give those up. 

What do these nutrients benefit, anyway? 

Vitamin C, E, K and beta-carotene work together in different ways to: protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, produce collagen, help your immune system work properly to protect from disease and viruses, strengthen bones and help avoid blood clots.

What are the healthiest microgreens?

girl holding tray of microgreens on a farm

Image: Michelle from Gagne Greens, an organic farm in Hamilton, Ontario that specializes in microgreens (they also use 100% compostable packaging - so cool!). Check out their Instagram here.

Every microgreen is different, just like mature plants. While nutrient content varies widely, apparently red cabbage microgreens are highest in vitamin C and green daikon radish microgreens contain the most vitamin E. 

In general, the nutrients-factor in microgreens depends on where and when they were grown, and of course what veggie or herb they’re from. 

Another study that compared mineral content in mature lettuce vs. lettuce microgreens, found that the microgreens had more calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese than the mature plants!

We should mention that they only have a few days of shelf life, so if you buy them, eat them quick! And be sure to wash them thoroughly, just like you would with any other vegetable like arugula or lettuce.

How do you grow microgreens at home?

girl sitting on couch drinking coffee with plants all around her

How long does it take? How do you do it? Can you grow microgreens from regular seeds? 

What we do know is that microgreens don’t take long to grow (1-2 weeks) and can grow all year-round with the right soil and sunlight. Considering the fact that they cost around $30 a flat, it’s likely worth it if you love plants to grow your own at home.

Commonly grown microgreens include arugula, beets, basil, spinach, cilantro, mustard and carrot microgreens, but there are so many different kinds. The best part is, you can put them in a windowsill and let the sunlight work its magic!

Interested in learning more about growing microgreens at home? On October 22nd and 29th, we’re taking part in a session at stackt Market in King West, Toronto, where we’ll get to plant and harvest our own. We’re going to document the whole process and post about it, so stay tuned for step-by-step instructions and photos on how to plant your own microgreens.

P.S. We have some free tickets available, so if you’re interested, send us an email ([email protected]) or comment on our most recent Facebook post and we’ll see what we can do! 

Happy planting (and eating)!