Dazzle your summer guests with Microgreens! Microgreens are leaf vegetables that are grown and harvested before complete maturation while they are still young and tender. They lend a subtle flavor and delicate touch to main dishes and salads and are packed with vitamins. Microgreens gained popularity in fine dining establishments, but it wasn’t long after their debut that people began to grow their own in backyard gardens and on patios and decks in containers. They can even be grown year-round inside under grow lights. Microgreens are simple and satisfying to grow and maintain as a hobby.
So what are Microgreens?
Any type of salad green can be grown as a microgreen. Lettuce, spinach, kale, beet greens, Swiss chard, arugula and dandelion greens are all favorites, although dandelion greens are usually harvested from the wild. NOTE: Do NOT harvest wild dandelion greens that may have been exposed to insecticides or unknown chemicals. To avoid bitterness, dandelion greens should be harvested before the flower of the Dandelion has bloomed.
Planting Instructions to Grown Microgreens
OUTSIDE PLANTING: Rake or stir up the soil area where the greens will be planted. Scatter seeds and cover lightly with approximately 1/8 inch of soil. Water thoroughly but do not over water. Be sure to keep the soil moist.
CONTAINER PLANTING: Choose a container that is at least a few inches deep and is large enough to grow at least a full salad bowl of greens. Fill the container with clean potting soil and sprinkle the seeds into the soil, leaving enough room to cover the seeds with approximately 1/8 inch of soil. Water thoroughly but do not over-water and place in a sunny area. At least 4 hours of direct light is preferred for maximum growth. Keep the soil moist.
The time between planting and harvesting microgreens is very short—usually 10 days to 2 weeks depending on the weather and light exposure. The best time to harvest microgreens is after the first set of true leaves appear — not to be confused with seed leaves. To harvest, simply snip off the micro greens at the base of the stem.
New seeds may be planted immediately after harvesting in the same soil. Repeated growing cycles may require a bit of organic amendments to the soil to keep it nutrient rich.