How to Grow Microgreens Successfully

Microgreens are a popular choice for home gardeners and chefs alike due to their nutritional value and unique flavors. These tiny plants are harvested just after the first true leaves have developed, providing a burst of intense taste in a small package. In this guide, we will explore the steps to grow microgreens successfully at home.

Understanding Microgreens

Microgreens are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are harvested when they are about one to three inches tall. They are packed with nutrients and can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to sandwiches, and even as garnishes on pizzas and soups.

Microgreens are different from sprouts. While sprouts are germinated seeds grown in water and eaten whole, microgreens are grown in soil or a soil substitute, and only the stem and leaves are consumed. They require sunlight and more time to grow compared to sprouts.

Types of Microgreens

There are many types of microgreens that you can grow, each with its unique flavor and nutritional profile. Some popular choices include radish, broccoli, kale, arugula, and basil. Experimenting with different types can add variety to your meals and allow you to reap the benefits of a wide range of nutrients.

Some microgreens, like radish and broccoli, are spicy and peppery, while others, like basil and kale, are more mild and sweet. The choice of microgreens to grow will depend on your personal taste preferences and the dishes you plan to use them in.

Getting Started with Microgreens

One of the best things about growing microgreens is that they don’t require a lot of space or equipment. You can grow them on your windowsill, in a spare room, or even on your kitchen counter. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Materials Needed

  • Seeds: Choose high-quality seeds from a reputable supplier. Organic seeds are a good choice as they are free from harmful chemicals.
  • Growing medium: You can use a soilless mix, coconut coir, or a specially formulated microgreen mix. Avoid garden soil as it can contain pathogens.
  • Container: Any shallow container with drainage holes will work. You can use a seed tray, a baking dish, or even a takeaway container.
  • Light: Microgreens need plenty of light to grow. A sunny windowsill or a grow light can provide the necessary light.
  • Water: Use clean, filtered water to avoid introducing any contaminants.

Steps to Grow Microgreens

  1. Prepare your container: Fill your container with the growing medium to about an inch from the top. Moisten the medium with water.
  2. Sow your seeds: Sprinkle your seeds evenly across the surface of the medium. Press them gently into the medium but do not cover them.
  3. Water your seeds: Mist your seeds gently with water. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap to create a humid environment.
  4. Provide light: Once the seeds have germinated, remove the cover and place the container in a well-lit location. If using a grow light, place it a few inches above the plants.
  5. Harvest your microgreens: Once the first true leaves have developed, your microgreens are ready to harvest. Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut the stems just above the soil line.

Maintaining Your Microgreens

Proper care and maintenance are crucial for the successful growth of your microgreens. This includes regular watering, providing adequate light, and controlling pests and diseases.

Microgreens prefer a moist but not waterlogged environment. Overwatering can lead to damping-off, a fungal disease that can kill your plants. On the other hand, underwatering can stunt their growth. A good practice is to water your microgreens from the bottom to encourage the roots to grow downwards and to prevent the growth of mold on the surface of the medium.

Light Requirements

Light is essential for the growth and development of microgreens. Without adequate light, your microgreens will become leggy and weak. If you’re growing your microgreens indoors and don’t have access to enough natural light, consider investing in a grow light. LED grow lights are energy-efficient and provide the full spectrum of light that plants need to grow.

Pest and Disease Control

While microgreens are generally pest-free, they can sometimes be affected by fungus gnats, aphids, and damping-off. Good hygiene practices, such as using clean containers and growing medium, can help prevent these problems. If pests do become a problem, consider using organic pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects or using insecticidal soaps.

Benefits of Growing Microgreens

There are many benefits to growing your own microgreens. For starters, they are incredibly nutritious. Studies have shown that microgreens contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts. This makes them a great addition to any diet, especially for those looking to boost their intake of vitamins and minerals.

Microgreens are also quick and easy to grow. Most varieties are ready to harvest in just one to two weeks, making them a great choice for those who want to enjoy fresh greens without the wait. Plus, they can be grown year-round, regardless of the weather outside.

Finally, growing your own microgreens can be a fun and rewarding hobby. It’s a great way to introduce children to gardening, and it can also be a therapeutic activity for adults. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of harvesting and eating your own homegrown greens.


Growing microgreens is a simple and rewarding endeavor that anyone can undertake. With minimal space and equipment, you can grow a variety of nutritious and flavorful greens right in your own home. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a complete beginner, growing microgreens is a great way to enhance your meals and boost your nutrition. So why not give it a try? Happy growing!