Growing Microgreens from Sowing to Harvest

Growing Microgreens from Sowing to Harvest

January 24, 2020 11 By William Morgan


[Music] Microgreens are a lot of fun. They’re absolutely bursting with nutrients and despite their tiny size, pack of real punch of flavor. This is the perfect project for when it’s
gray and gloomy outside because they grow exceptionally well under the steady
light and warmth of indoor grow lights. If you’re itching to get sowing
something – anything! – this winter then growing microgreens is definitely for you. Microgreens are ordinary vegetables
harvested at little more than seedling stage, soon after the first adult leaves have developed,
when they’re about 1-3″ (3-8cm) tall. This makes them very speedy crops indeed,
because they are ready just 5 to 25 days after sowing – great news for impatient gardeners! Microgreens are exceptionally
high in nutrients such as polyphenols, making them popular with anyone looking
to enjoy a healthier diet, while their flavor and good looks ensure a huge
following among chefs and fine diners. Despite their dainty appearance
microgreens are very easy to grow, though if you want to grow them indoors you
will need some grow lights to guarantee good results. Most herbs, salads and brassicas such as
radish and turnip may be grown as microgreens. This is a great way of using up old seed
that’s reaching it’s sow-by date. You can of course buy seeds
for sowing specifically as microgreens, with bulk packs working out a lot cheaper. Get smart too – these sunflower seeds for example
were bought as bird food, with a handful for sowing costing mere pennies. Larger seeds or seeds with a thick coat germinate
quicker when soaked for anywhere between 4-12 hours. These pea and sunflower seeds have been soaked
overnight, with the peas literally doubling in size! The only specialist piece of equipment
you need are some grow lights like these, though of course you can grow microgreens
outside once temperatures and light levels improve. This grow light is a few years old now and uses
a couple of fluorescent lamps which work really well, but if you’re looking to buy a new set I’d consider one of
the more energy efficient LED grow lights. You’ll also need some flats or trays,
your seeds and of course some growing medium, which needs to be of a very fine
grain to give even growth across the tray. For this batch of sowings I’m using
some all-purpose potting mix, to which I’m adding about 1/3 by volume coconut
fiber or coir to help open it up a little. Fill your trays with growing
medium to about half an inch (1cm) of the rim. Lightly tamp it down with something flat-bottomed
such as a block of wood. I’m using this little food container here. You wants a nice and even finish. You may find that you need to add just a little
more growing medium… before tamping it down again. Now the best bit – sowing! There’s no secret to this. Just aim for a good
even spread of seeds, criss crossing back and forth and avoiding any clumps. Now obviously you
wouldn’t normally sow this thickly, but because the seedlings are harvested so
young, this is absolutely fine. Once you’re done, tamp the seeds down so they
have good contact with the growing medium. And now it’s time to water. And for this I’m using a spray bottle
so as not to dislodge the seeds. Mist the seeds over several times until
the top of the growing medium is nicely moist. Move the trays to somewhere warm to
speed up germination. Stack the trays two or three deep, then place an
empty tray on top to weigh it down. Applying gentle pressure like this encourages thicker
stems and stronger growth from the off. Once the seeds have germinated and are
starting to develop their first shoots you can move them over to your grow lights. So how long should you leave the lights on for? Well, anywhere between 12 and 16 hours
will give the quickest growth. Put the lights on a timer or, like me, turn them on
when you get up, and off again when you head to bed. That means these lights are on
for about 15 hours a day. Check the moisture of the
growing medium every day and if necessary spray with fresh water to keep the
seedlings happy and hydrated. Don’t overwater though,
as this can lead to mold growths. One trick with microgreens that have a seed coat such
as sunflowers is to gently rub your hands over the top of the seedlings to help flake the seed
coats off. This will also help to thicken up the stems. Your microgreens are ready whenever they’ve
reached the size you’re looking for. Harvesting them couldn’t be simpler. Take a very sharp knife or pair of scissors. Now, holding the microgreens in one hand, get in
underneath with the scissors and cut with the other. Snip them off close the bottom but high enough
not to flick up any of that potting mix. And just repeat. Grab hold of the microgreens with one hand
and cut with the scissors with the other. Enjoy your microgreens as soon
as possible for optimal nutrition, or bag them up and pop them into the
salad compartment of your refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve them in salads or as a very special
homegrown garnish to all manner of gourmet dishes. Who said you had to wait till spring to start sowing? Satisfy your itchy fingers with a
selection of tasty microgreens. Now hey, if you’ve grown microgreens
before, tell us all about it – what you grew, what growing medium you used,
and any tips on using them in the kitchen. Thanks for watching, and give this video
a thumbs-up if you’ve enjoyed it. Make sure you’re subscribed too, before the
mayhem of the growing season gets underway! I’ll catch you next time. [Music]