Micro Greens

Do you have the “itch” to get out in your garden but obviously can’t because it is still winter where you live? I know I do as my part of the country has a winter storm warning. The white stuff you see in the picture  is snow! Or maybe you are limited on space as you live in a condo and want to grow a few herbs to garnish your salads, sandwiches, plates or maybe soups. For quick gratification try growing Micro Greens, like the Micro-Harvest Mix below. Don’t they look good?

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So what are Micro Greens? They are tiny, edible greens grown from the seeds of vegetables and herbs. They need soil, sunlight and water and are usually harvested within a week or two after germination, depending on the variety.  They only reach 1 to 3 inches tall and their flavor is more intense than that of mature greens. This includes the stem, cotyledons (seed leaves) and first set of true leaves.

Micro Greens can be grown any time of the year and are a good source of protein and vitamins. They are easier to grow than windowsill herbs; I can confirm that!

My favorite source is Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company in Maine. They have almost 80 varieties of seeds and for you basil lovers, like me, there are 5 varieties to choose from. Back when I had my big country garden I frequently ordered from their big catalog not just for seeds, but plants, tools and supplies. I highly recommend them even if you just want to look through their colorful catalog and dream of “spring”.

I also bought some kits from Gourmet Botanicals who provided the seed, soil, containers and instructions.

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How to begin?

  • Read – Books, books and more books, catalogs, articles in magazines and of course the internet

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  • seeds – specifically to grow as Micro Greens – as I mentioned above Johnny’s sells almost 80 varieties

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  • soil – use a good, light potting mix such as organic soil that contains kelp and alfalfa meal

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  • containers – recycle those plastic clam shells with lids – just poke some holes in the top and bottom – you can also buy them in different sizes online

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  • light – direct sunlight from a south-facing windowsill or get out those gro lights – they need about 4 hours and maybe more during the winter

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Some of my gro-lights – looks like I need to make room for Micro Greens!

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  • water – moisten the soil and place a piece of cardboard that fits inside your containers to flatten and level the soil.

Quick Directions: Prepare your clean containers with holes in the bottoms and tops. Add your moistened soil, level and flatten it and sow your seeds. Cover with about 1/4-inch of dry soil and then spritz it with a water bottle. Close the lid and place in a warm place (I like to use the top of my refrigerator) until your seeds have sprouted. Once they have sprouted, remove the top, move to gro lights or a sunny windowsill. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Your seeds will come with directions so just follow their guidelines.

The four varieties I am growing now:

  • cilantro and arugula

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  • basil and a mixture called Micro-harvest mix

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  • harvest – when you see the first “true leaves” they will be ready to harvest. This can be anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks after planting. Grab your scissors and snip the greens just above the soil line.
  • to serve – wash your Micro Greens and dry in a salad spinner or between paper towels. Serve immediately! Any remaining Micro Greens can be stored in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. Basil does not like to be refrigerated so store any extra on the counter.

I will be sharing what I like to do on a “snow day” with Angie @ Fiesta Friday, Suzanne @ A Pug in the Kitchen and Zeba @ Food for the Soul.

55 thoughts on “Micro Greens

  1. Wow ! this is something I am so interested in doing. I haven’t seen Johnny’s Selected Seeds here in South Africa, but I am sure I will find something suitable. I will pop over to the nursery and see. Thanks so much for this great post. I have bookmarked it, so I can refer back to it if necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have thought about this from time to time and I’m so glad you posted this! I am going to make a commitment to think about it harder…lol! Seriously, I’m motivated, now!!

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  3. This is such a nice idea to sow them in plastic containers. They look so tidy too. I have mini plastic pots where I sow fenugreek and coriander seeds. They grow so well and come in handy. I soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water overnight. I drink the water on an empty stomach in the morning (as recommended by my dietician ) and put the seeds in the pot.

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    • I save those containers from the grocery… I have seeds to grow as sprouts and that will be another post. I’m not sure about doing it as the FDA here in the US frowns on it because of the risk of Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli. I use to grow a lot of them until the FDA’s report came out. Seeds are usually the source and even though Johnny’s seeds are certified organic and have tested negative for risk of illness. The way you use them is fine… 🙂

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  4. I have never thought of growing micro greens…this is so interesting Judi! We love Johnny’s Selected Seeds….they have the best quality seeds we have found. Great post 😀

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  5. You have me dreaming of Spring… 🙂 Thanks to this post, I don’t have to wait! Maybe a little planting would lift my spirits on this very snowy day…

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  6. Just itching is right Judi….gosh the snowdrops are out, as is the lenten rose and other signs of spring. I can hardly wait, but look at these lovely plastic pots with all that goodness. What a brilliant idea, and a good way to get one started and excited about the upcoming growing season.

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    • Thanks Loretta – micro greens are the easiest seeds to grow and harvest within a few weeks. Johnny’s has so many varieties that I have to be careful and think about what I will use. When it comes to seeds I have a tendency to overbuy because I want to try every variety 🙂 Are you involved in your community garden again this year?

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      • Actually, it is not a community garden perse. It is a garden where I volunteer about a 10 minute walk from the house. We have some raised beds there and we usually plant vegetables. None of the other volunteers pick the veggies, and since my husband and I are in charge of the watering right through the summer, we get to pick it all :). Can’t wait to get the call to get started, it should be sometime in mid-March. Hope all is well at your end.

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  7. I am sure I have seen like this somewhere, but completely forgot where. This is such a fun and lovely idea to do. They are so cute. Lovely photos, too. Awesome post, Aunt Juju. 🙂

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    • Thanks Jhuls – you don’t have to be a gardener to grow these. Easy to grow (so many varieties) and you get to harvest them in a few weeks. Brings a little sunshine into my home 🙂 Your comment showed up in my spam – not sure why that happens!

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  8. It is a great idea to add some fresh, home-grown greens to your meals at this time of year. Mustard and radish seeds are my favourites, but all of them are worth the effort.

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    • Thanks – I will grow them throughout the year when I would like some flavorful and pretty greens for a recipe or to garnish. Radish would always be a favorite, not so sure about mustard. Looking forward to trying different varieties.

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  9. Love these microgreens! I’m doing three summers in a row this year, but I’ll definitely think about doing this next winter. Happy FF! 😀

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  10. I remember growing cress as a child but the taste always seemed a bit dull. Then I bought some mixed microgreens last year for some salads and I loved the more peppery ones – I really should try growing some.

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  11. I’ve been ordering from Johnny’s Seeds for years, except this year, and I definitely forgot to order micro green seeds!! Bummer!! But it’s not too late, right? Since they grow so fast. You’ve awakened TheNoviceGardener in me, Judi, lol! 😄😄

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    • I love their catalog and wish I still had my big garden – not for the work involved but just to order seeds! Yay – once a gardener is always a gardener. The Novice Gardener will never go away as you continue to use what you grow in your recipes 🙂

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