Forget the Green Giant: Tiny Microgreens Pack a Powerful Health Punch

Grow a healthy garden indoors by planting microgreens.
Nutritious Microgreens

Nutritious Microgreens

Microgreens are a nutrient-packed crop easily grown indoors.

Similar Topics:

Feeling impatient to start growing veggies again? Why not grow microgreens? One of the newest culinary trends, a recent study from the University of Maryland indicates that these teeny-tiny young plants are jam-packed with nutrients: four to six times as potent as those of their older cousins.

Microgreens are less than fourteen days old and usually about an inch high when they’re harvested. They’re different from sprouts, which are ready to eat in just 48 hours, germinated in water just long enough to grow roots, a stem and leaves. Microgreens require soil, sunlight and at least 7 days of growth before they’re ready to eat.

Best yet? These miniature veggies are easy for the home gardener to grow, and are a great choice for those with limited space.

To get started planting microgreens:

  • Choose your greens: Mustard, kale, beet greens, arugula and spinach are popular choices, or you can start with a prepackaged salad seed mix: any lettuce, salad green or herb can be grown as a microgreen.
  • If you’re planting in the ground: Loosen and rake the soil smooth, and scatter seeds so that they are about 1/8-1/4 of an inch apart. You’ll be harvesting the plants very young, so no need to worry about giving them space to spread out. Once the seeds are scattered, cover with a shallow layer of soil and water gently.
  • If you’re planting in a container: Choose a container that’s at least two inches deep and fill it with a good quality potting mix. Again, scatter seeds close together and cover with a thin layer of soil — about 1/8 inch. Water thoroughly and place in a sunny area. Your plant will need at least 4 hours of sun per day.
  • Keep the soil moist: Also make sure to remove any weeds so that they don’t choke out your teeny plants.

Now watch and wait! Since you’ll be harvesting soon, you probably won’t have to worry about pests or diseases. When your microgreens have developed their first set of true leaves — generally about ten to fourteen days after planting — cut the microgreens just above the soil. Since the plants haven’t had time to develop, you won’t get any additional harvests from that planting, so if you want a new crop, just replant (no need to remove the old roots).

Once you’ve harvested, add your microgreens to salads, use as a nutritious garnish, or create a yummy soup. Since they’re so quick to reach harvest and will never need to be transplanted outdoors, it’s easy to experiment with different kinds of greens and makes a fun and delicious winter-time gardening activity.

Next Up

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

Extend the season by ripening year-end crops indoors.

Growing Cress and Microgreens

Microgreens and cress can be grown year-round in small pots or trays indoors, and are ready to harvest in a week or two.

Growing Giant Pumpkins

Harvest tons of fun by growing giant pumpkins in your own backyard. Learn secrets to success from our garden experts.

How to Grow a Giant Pumpkin

Tips from giant-pumpkin experts Christy Harp and Jamie Johnson on growing a major gourd.

Grow Asian Greens

These are some of the most useful fall vegetables, providing a variety of colors, textures and flavors, just as the weather is cooling.

Crocuses Pack a Powerful Punch

Plant these tough little bulbs in the fall for the earliest hint of spring.

Growing Salad Greens in Window Boxes

Don't let a lack of garden space keep you from growing and enjoying fresh veggies! With this plan, you can start harvesting fresh, flavorful, nutritious salad ingredients in about a month.

A Guide to Growing Green Beans

Learn how to grow green beans and various varieties, including runner beans, with this guide from HGTV.

How to Grow Salad Greens in Garden Beds

Growing a successful crop of leafy greens in your garden will give you weeks of harvest.

How to Grow Salad Greens in a Container

Make leafy dishes straight from your home garden with these tips for growing salad greens without having to prepare a bed in your yard.