We’ve become experts in growing microgreens in Ireland. It’s hard to find something not to love about these beautiful little plants. They are super quick to grow, require minimal amounts of effort and if you look after them, they will look after you AND repay you with interest!
Each variety of microgreen is slightly different but here is a very brief rundown of how to grow microgreens.
Soaking (if required)
Getting water into the core of the microgreen seed is key to kick starting germination. Smaller seeds (think broccoli) don’t need this as much as the larger seeds (think peas).
Preparing your growing surface.
We use coco coir for all our microgreens. Not only is it sustainable and organic, it also holds onto moisture like nothing else meaning less watering and overall happier plants.
Microgreens are sown (with a few exceptions) on the very surface of the soil. This ensures all seeds start on a (puntastic) level playing field. The key to successful and reliable microgreens production is even and consistent growth. This technique makes sure we get that!
I prefer sowing seeds from my hand or an empty clean jar. It’s much easier to spread the microgreens seeds evenly over the surface, again, aiming for that goal of consistent and even growth.
It will look like a lot of seed but this is the plan! We aren’t growing vegetables to maturity. We are intensively farming and tricking hundreds if not thousands of tiny vegetables into growing big and fast so we can capture and benefit from that initial burst of life. Check out our certified organic seed selection.
Covering and Weighing
Most seeds benefit from being weighed down after sowing. I usually use a brick (yes a brick!) or 4 tins of beans. This mimicks a layer of soil above the seeds causing them to send roots deep into the soil to push against the weight above. This also gives every seed a chance to build nice strong roots and prevents stronger seedling shooting up and out competing the initially weaker ones.
It’s amazing when after 3 days you check your tray and the hundreds of seedlings have worked together to actually push up the weight. Inspiring!
It’s good practice to check in on your microgreens every day. When using coco coir, you most likely will not have to water for the first few days but there can be other issues such as mold development. This is normal and treatable. A simple rule of thumb is if the edges of the tray look a bit dry, then a misting is in order!
When your super seedlings have pushed up the top tray, or you can see little roots emerging from the drainage holes in the bottom of the tray, it’s time for the next step. The blackout phase!
Creating a blackout dome with your top tray tricks the microgreen seedings into stretching upwards. Imagine you had a big heavy backpack on and were trying to climb a mountain. Then imagine someone took off your big heavy backpack, you would be able to run up the mountain in joy! (possibly an over exaggeration but you get my point.)
This is what we are doing for the microgreens. They still think they are underground and so, with the aid of those big strong roots we helped create, they will stretch up in search for light. This gives us nice long stems, full of goodness, and makes it easier to harvest later on.
Once you remove your microgreens from blackout, it’s time for some sunshine! Most microgreens require at least 4 – 6 hours of direct sunlight a day to flourish. A sunny or partially shaded windowsill is perfect. Crops like wheatgrass and Pak Choi actually benefit from slightly less light.
When watering microgreens that are receiving sunlight, we want to keep our crop dry and clean. The best way to do this is by bottom watering. This is when you pour water directly into the base tray. By doing this you feed the roots and keep everything above ground dry, clean and happy!
Harvest day is always the most exciting part. You get to taste what you have spent the last week or so growing. Simply use a scissors or sharp knife to cut what you need above the soil level. Give them a little rinse to remove any dirt and enjoy. The best part is, you just leave the rest to grow! No soggy bags of salad wasting away in the fridge. 😊