How to Grow Microgreens and The Benefits of Microgreens
As more people tap into their natural side, organic living and cultivating one’s food is a growing trend. Whether you’re a full-blown “crunchy” parent or just a health-seeking foodie, learning about microgreens is essential. They’re the key to receiving all the nutrients we need, with just a few bites. Keep reading to find out what microgreens are, why they’re great, and how you can even use them to make money.
Here is a list of items needed to get started growing your Microgreens
Superfood Microgreen Seeds Mix
Super Bright Linkable Hanging Grow Light
1020 Trays Shallow Extra Strength w/o holes
1020 Trays Shallow Extra Strength with Holes
Deluxe 4-Tier Heavy Duty Metal Shelving
OceanSolution 2-0-3 – Plant Food
What are microgreens?
Before you can become a full-blown microgreen gardener, it’s important to know what these plants are. The word “micro” here tells us everything we need to know. Microgreens are young seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs that don’t take weeks or months to grow. They can be harvested and eaten within a week or two.
These mini versions of our favorite herbs and veggies usually only grow a few inches and come in many varieties. While microgreens were originally limited to garnishing the entrees of fancy restaurants, their use has expanded greatly since their cultivation in the ‘80s.
What are the health benefits of microgreens?
So, what can we gain from consuming these little veggies and herbs? Microgreens are believed to help with several physical ailments and conditions. For example, they’re a rich source of polyphenols, a class of antioxidants linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Animal studies show that microgreens have the potential to lower triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
Those suffering from, or at risk of Alzheimer’s disease should try out microgreens. Antioxidant-rich foods, like those containing high amounts of polyphenols (i.e., microgreens), may be linked to a lower risk of the disease. For those with diabetes, antioxidants present in microgreens may help reduce the type of stress that can prevent sugar from properly entering cells.
In lab studies, fenugreek microgreens appeared to enhance cellular uptake by up to 44%. Consuming polyphenol-rich foods may also lower the risk of various types of cancer. While more studies are still needed before strong conclusions can be made, this research is very promising for the potential of microgreens!
How many microgreens are there?
Just like the grocery store has a vast veggie department, and your kitchen contains enough herbs to bring a cabinet to combustion, there are tons of microgreens to choose from. You can grow and consume up to 87 varieties! Each microgreen has a different flavor and texture that can be used in unique ways for its delicious and nutritious value. Some common examples of these tiny greens are arugula, basil, and cilantro microgreens.
Can you buy microgreens at the grocery store?
As microgreens have risen in popularity over the years, they’ve become more readily available for consumers. Many common businesses like sandwich chains and yes, grocery stores, sell many types of them. You can find many microgreens for sale in any grocery store, or local farmers’ markets if that’s more your jam.
It should be noted, though, that not every store will have all 87 varieties of tiny green goodness. Consider shopping online or growing them at home if you don’t know where to buy the microgreens you’re looking for.
Microgreens vs. Sprouts
Are microgreens similar to sprouts?
If you’re used to adding crunchy sprouts to stir-fry and sandwiches, will microgreens produce the same effect? Although they’re not the same thing, they do share some key characteristics. First, microgreens and sprouts are both grown using the same seeds. And just like pretty much every other plant, the sprouting seeds will need water to kickstart growth.
Neither of these crops are immune to poor gardening techniques. They’re both susceptible to molding if grown incorrectly. Luckily, you can pre-soak seeds before planting to encourage the growth of microgreens and sprouts. Whether your home looks like an indoor greenhouse or makes the neighbors green with plant envy from the outside, both plants will thrive.
They’re able to flourish in outdoor and indoor environments! Microgreens and sprouts are both ideal sources of nutrients for those on a low FODMAP diet, or anyone looking to live on the organic side.
Are microgreens safer than sprouts?
No one can blame you for questioning the safety of each new food you’re introduced to. Who wouldn’t want to avoid sickness or an allergic reaction if possible? That’s why it’s important to understand how microgreens are cultivated safely.
Generally, microgreens’ growing environment is flat-out safer than sprouts because the growing process allows for more ventilation, sunlight, and less chance for bacteria to take hold. This is certainly not to say sprouts are unsafe for consumption; however, they can be more difficult to cultivate healthily and organically.
Which is better, microgreens vs sprouts?
Since they’ve got so much in common, it might be hard to decide whether you should plan for a sprout or microgreen garden. Ultimately, that decision will depend on the taste, texture, and food prep you’re going for with the fresh produce. Usually, microgreens tend to contain more nutrients than sprouts. They pack a massive nourishment punch for their small size.
Vitamins will vary throughout different microgreens, with red cabbage and daikon containing massive amounts of Vitamin C and E. Cilantro microgreens, on the other hand, are loaded with carotene. A typical microgreen can contain a staggering 40x the nutritional value of its mature, full-grown plant self!
When it comes to sprouts, they’re packed with fiber, protein, and enzymes. Depending on the type you consume, they can be loaded with carotene, niacin, and vitamins B and C. With that being said, though, the only nutrients from the sprout are from its seed. Sprouts don’t develop enough to form more nourishing qualities.
Growing and cultivating these plants can be a pretty tricky task. With microgreens, there are more options for growth than sprouts. Plant them directly outdoors in soil, indoors, or with only water. Sprouts, on the other hand, can only be grown hydroponically.
This means they are required to grow in only water. While this method can be great for saving money on supplies, hydroponic microgreens are more susceptible to mold.
It should also be noted that it can be easier to get creative in the kitchen with microgreens. Sprouts have a mild taste and are generally just used for their crunch factor. Microgreens have more flavor and versatility than sprouts. They bring crunch to sandwiches, flavor and variety to leafy microgreens salad, and a sneaky dose of vitamins to top your fave pizza or pasta.
Additionally, try blending them into smoothies, tossing them into stir-fries, rolling them into wraps, or stirring them into soups. There’s no better way to make a meal fun while keeping it healthy.
Types of Microgreens
What is the healthiest microgreen?
By now we’ve established that all microgreens are healthy, but which one has the greatest nutritional value? One of the healthiest of all microgreens is broccoli. Containing 550% of daily cumulative nutrients, broccoli is the king of nourishment. It is packed with vitamins A, B, C, and K. Not to mention, it has a significant amount of phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.
But it doesn’t stop there! Broccoli has one of the highest levels of antioxidant capacity of all the veggie microgreens. If you’re looking for the ultimate health food, broccoli microgreens might be your new best friend.
Which microgreens smell best?
One of the key characteristics of microgreens is their unique scent and flavor. While the best microgreens scent can only be determined by your nostrils, lots of people love arugula microgreens. They have a pungent aroma that appeals to the senses of many. It should be noted that if your plants are smelling icky, they’re likely going bad. Some veggies smell a bit funky, but they shouldn’t be foul.
Can you eat mustard microgreens?
Absolutely! And you totally should. Just give them a quick wash before consuming, and fresh mustard microgreens would be fantastic as herbs with sandwiches, salad, and several Indian dishes. Instead of ruining a white tee next time you dress a hot dog, throw some mustard microgreens on the frank instead. The keynotes of flavor are spicy, hot, and, you guessed it, a mustardy flavor.
How do you use cilantro microgreens?
Cilantro microgreens are some of the most beloved in the mini herb world. You can use them to enhance just about any dish. As long as they’re nice and fresh, every foodie will love the added spice of cilantro. They’re an especially tasty addition to sauces, dips, and salsas.
Asian, Caribbean, Indian, and Mexican cuisines also use these microgreens to enhance their authentic flavors. Cilantro microgreens are recommended for any adventurous eater!
What do arugula microgreens taste like?
We already know they’re coined for a delightful scent, but what flavors can you expect from arugula microgreens? As far as their texture, they have a crisp, tender, and succulent consistency. Their taste is rather mild compared to the mature herb, containing a sweet yet tangy flavor amid peppery, earthy, and nutty undertones. It’s recommended to add in soups, pasta, salads, or as a bed of greens under roasted meats and seafood.
What are the health benefits of amaranth microgreens?
Amaranth microgreens are packed full of health benefits and nutritional value. They’re an antioxidant, aiding in digestion and boosting the immune system. Protecting from osteoporosis, treating cardiovascular disease, and aiding in cancer treatment, these microgreens can be a superhero for diseases.
They also help metabolize fatty acids into energy. Not to mention, consuming these microgreens could save you a trip to the hair salon; they even decrease hair loss and greying. Amaranth are famous microgreens for feeling great from the inside, and out!
What are radish microgreens good for?
If radish microgreens are on your grow list, let’s go over some of their incredible benefits! First, they contain vitamin B6 and folate which helps in improving the cardiovascular system. Similar to other microgreens, they can be incredibly powerful anti-cancer and diabetes-fighting foods.
Radish microgreens also assist in controlling Alzheimer’s disease. On a more aesthetic level, they can help with weight loss and clear, glowing skin. You’ll love feeling your health improve with each peppery, radish bite.
Is it cheaper to grow or buy microgreens?
Perhaps you’re looking to take the nutrients from the grocery store into your own home. Let’s go over the cost of growing vs purchasing microgreens. At typical stores, buying microgreens will usually cost you around $5 per two-ounce pack. This means paying up to $2.50 for just an ounce of greens.
Growing at home costs about 10x less. Before factoring in your valuable time, cultivating microgreens at home will usually cost $0.20 per ounce.
Growing microgreens at first will have an up-front investment cost, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. You can get started for under $100! Each tray of microgreens will normally cost around $2-3, yielding around 10oz of plants. If you want to make a larger investment with more tools and supplies for growing, consider microgreens kits.
Microgreen growing kits will help speed up the process and lessen the hard work required on your end. Luckily, there are some hacks to help cut costs even more.
What is the cheapest way to grow microgreens?
When cultivating a garden, microgreen seeds and soil are the most important elements to invest in. Spend the majority of your budget on high-quality soil and seeds. From there, you can improvise the rest with what you already have, and look for second-hand deals for gardening supplies. Instead of purchasing a fancy, expensive grow light, use the sunlight or an existing lamp to shine on the plant.
As far as growing mediums, burlap will be the least expensive option. Burlap is only $0.25 per tray! However, it should be noted that burlap can be a difficult medium to use, so it might take some time to master. It’s a woven fabric that’s made from a jute plant, which is also used to make ropes, nets, and other products. Keep in mind that you can always start with a simple grow set-up and expand on it as your budget permits.
What equipment do I need for microgreens?
Once you’re past the improvisation period and ready to invest in some quality equipment, there are a few things that will help microgreens grow tremendously. First, as previously mentioned, a growing medium will be necessary for these plants. Soil or soilless mixes can be the best for microgreens because any potting mix that includes compost or soil can increase the risk of soilborne disease.
In addition to soil or soilless mix, other types of growing media like foam sheets or woven textiles, are also available on the market.
Another essential growing supply for these bundles of green goodness is microgreen trays. Microgreens are often sown into standard 1020 flats or 20-row seed flats filled with light, sterile mixes to a depth of one to two inches. Tray covers can also help promote growth by covering the seeds after sowing.
These covers can include paper towels, domed lids, white plastic trays, or vermiculite. Fancy materials aren’t necessary; as long as the plant can be covered, you’re good to go.
An optional, yet extremely helpful tool for promoting the growth of microgreens is heat mats. They’re available in a range of materials and sizes, with timer and monitoring features, helping to provide consistent root-zone temperatures. Grow lights, while expensive, are often necessary during off-season production or when growing indoors. Supplemental sunlight can only last so long!
Also, be sure to have good airflow, or get some circulation fans. Adequate ventilation is crucial for disease prevention in plants. Lastly, hanging benches, raised platforms, or tables can help keep plants safe and provide for ergonomics. This might seem like a long list of equipment, but with all these tools, you can grow microgreens with ease.
Can microgreens grow without soil?
Don’t feel like lugging a heavy bag inside or throughout your yard? Or perhaps sweeping up soil doesn’t sound like a fun activity. You’re in luck with microgreens! They’re harvested so early in their development that sometimes, soil and other nutrient solutions aren’t even necessary. As we discussed previously, they can also be grown hydroponically where water is the medium that supplies the roots with air, moisture, and nutrients to the roots.
Although soil is believed to be the better gardening option overall, with TLC, hydroponics can be a solid way to grow your microgreens without the mess and hassle of soil.
What are the best microgreens to grow indoors?
If bugs and dirt don’t sound like your cup of tea, what are the best microgreens for indoor growth? When learning about growing microgreens indoors, let’s refer back to our nourishment king, broccoli microgreens. Broccoli, without a doubt, is one of the best microgreens to cultivate indoors throughout the year. This is because they are very easy to grow with a high germination success rate.
Also, it’ll only take one to two weeks before you’re enjoying fresh, yummy broccoli greens after learning how to grow microgreens indoors. Other options that are great for indoors are kale microgreens, cilantro, radish, spinach, basil, and beets.
How long does it take to grow microgreens indoors?
As we know by now, microgreens are excellent for their short growth time. Let’s get more in-depth about how long it’ll take to grow them indoors. If you are brand new to growing microgreens inside, this option gives you a variety of flavors and textures in one planting. Upon retrieving your seeds, you’ll likely get (or can easily find) a microgreen seed catalog, which will give you a gauge of the days until maturity.
Most commonly, this process will take about seven to 15 days. The majority of vegetable varieties grown as microgreens are ready to harvest in about two weeks, though the brassicas mustard and radish have a faster growth rate, and therefore, mature a bit faster than others. Herbs grown as microgreens tend to be comparatively slow-growing, maturing in around 16 to 25 days. Your very first sprout will likely appear within the first two to three days of growth.
Which microgreens grow fastest?
If you’re looking for a quick fix to nutrition, certain microgreens will be ready quicker than others. Radishes will normally grow the fastest, being ready in about one to two weeks. The rest are quick as well, with pak choi, red acre cabbage, sesame, and turnips that will take less than two weeks. You can’t go wrong with some quick little greens to nourish you through the day!
How do you know when microgreens are ready to pick?
Once your grow set-up is ready to go, it’s almost time to enjoy your gorgeous greens! You don’t want to get too eager and pluck them before they’re ready or make the mistake of overgrowing them. It’s time to harvest when you see the first set of real leaves.
Once the leaves appear, snip the microgreens just above the soil line. They should be around two inches tall. During this process, take a pair of scissors and simply snip the greens right above the soil line. It’s that easy! Serve them immediately for the best, freshest flavor.
How to harvest microgreens so that they keep growing?
After you’ve harvested a delicious batch of microgreens, you’ll be eager for more. Whether you will be able to regrow, will depend on the microgreen in your garden. Pea microgreens, for example, tend to regrow a few times after harvesting. To increase your chances of regrowing after microgreens have been harvested, make sure to cut them just above the lowest leaf.
You can remove the roots and replant microgreen seeds or even sump the tray and start over easily if they don’t regrow. If you are successful in regrowing, over time, they’ll typically eventually die either because the soil is no longer providing enough nutrients, or they become so stressed that they can no longer fight off disease, mold, or both. While it depends on the plant, ones like coriander and fenugreek may produce up to three harvests!
Do microgreens regrow after cutting?
While there are methods to help promote regrowth in microgreens, unfortunately, the majority of microgreens will not grow back after they have been cut. This is because usually, the plant’s seed only contains enough energy to get the first set of leaves up. While most types can’t regrow, the few that have a second chance at life, do because they have multiple sets of leaves by the first harvest. The best thing to do for most microgreens is just clear the tray and start over.
How to eat microgreens after harvesting?
Now it’s time for the really fun part. Turning your hard work into delicious eats! As we’ve gone over, microgreens should be served immediately, as that’s when they’re most flavorful. Leftover cut microgreens can be stored in the refrigerator, but still, try to consume them as soon as possible. Before eating, rinse the greens under a slow-flowing tap. The water should be cool, not uber chilly or burning hot.
It’s best to take a handful of microgreens and gently move them around in your hand as the water flows over them. Then, they’ll be all fresh and clean.
There are countless ways to use microgreens in meals, so here are a few of consumers’ faves. People love using tiny greens as a garnish for salads, pizzas, soups, and flatbreads. Additionally, blend them into your juice or smoothie for a nutritional boost. If you’ve got the main dish covered, but still need a side, just harvest some of your microgreens!
Make mornings magical with a sprinkle of microgreens in your cheesy omelet. If you get sick of boring old lettuce, try subbing it for microgreens in your tacos, burgers, and sammies. Lastly, you should check out Pinterest (or your favorite cooking site) and find some great microgreens recipes. With all these yummy ideas in mind, of course, you can always eat them raw, on their own for a truly organic feel.
How to sell microgreens?
Did you know that microgreens can be a great way to get nourishment and earn some cash? If you’re interested in growing microgreens, you might want to consider selling them, too. There’s a huge market for the mini veggies and herbs right now, as they’re trending all over. The first way to go about selling your delicious produce would be to reach out to local restaurants. It’s the easiest way to make your first sale, and potentially some long-term customers.
Only the chef will know if your microgreens are worth it, so it’s essential to meet up with them directly. When heading to the restaurant, be sure to prepare extra bags or boxes of microgreens for the chef. Sometimes, they don’t want to taste them and make a snap decision, but instead will have to check the price, storing condition, and quality as well. Therefore, make sure you’re prepared before pitching a sale to a local restaurant and growing microgreens for profit.
Another great location for selling microgreens is local farmers’ markets. They’re a place where the grower can connect directly with customers, building relationships and potentially creating long-term buyers. Pro tip: by offering several microgreen varieties, you will be able to discover which greens have the highest demand in your area.
Farmer’s markets are an excellent spot for small growers to get into the market. Not to mention, it’s a great place if you’ve been searching “microgreens for sale near me,” with no luck!
Distributors can sometimes connect growers to retail food establishments that could sell your fresh microgreens. Local grocery stores may also be happy to support a local farmer and increase their quantity of salad greens. If you’re growing more specific ones like broccoli, catering companies could be a great avenue for microgreens business.
Lastly, selling with an online store could allow you to become your own urban farmer market manager and broaden your customer base. Selling microgreens online gives wonderful exposure to your business and people you may not typically reach IRL. However you go about selling, make sure you’re supplying what’s in demand.
What microgreens are in demand?
With almost a hundred varieties to choose from, how can you tell which microgreens will sell the most? While it all depends on the season and your local area, red-veined sorrel, cilantro, and arugula are all hot right now. There are also a few more interesting and unique flavored microgreens that foodies are getting into, including sweet alyssum, micro nasturtium, Mexican marigold, and pea tendrils.
Another popular pick is sunflower microgreens. They are rich in protein, vitamin B, and add a subtle sweet taste to any dish. For the strongest flavor and healthiest plants, use seeds from the black oil variety.
How much can you sell microgreens for?
Farmers, listen up! Microgreens are one of the most profitable crops you can grow right now. They can be cultivated in a small space, and sell for $50 per pound or more, making them an ideal crop for urban growers and small farms. The average selling price is around $25-$40 per pound of microgreens, while it will depend on the variety.
As for each 1020 tray, the average yield is between 10-12 ounces per harvest. This means you will be able to earn at least $12-$18 per tray of microgreens. That may not seem like a lot, but then you realize they only take a couple of weeks, and then you can do it again. Selling microgreens is a quick and easy way to make some cash!
Now that you know the ins and outs of all things microgreens, living your healthiest life and becoming a farming master has never been easier. Hopefully, this guide helped narrow down what tiny herbs and veggies need to be planted in your garden, immediately. As you enjoy a tasty and nutritious lifestyle, don’t forget to check out Crow Survival for more survival tips and tricks!