How to Grow Micro Greens

comments (4) May 25th, 2013

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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Micro Greens grow quickly and easily in a container garden.
Snip Micro Greens when theyre 1 to 2 inches tall and have at least 2 true leaves.
Spicy Micro Greens make an appetizing topping to this structured tuna salad.
Micro Greens grow quickly and easily in a container garden.Click To Enlarge

Micro Greens grow quickly and easily in a container garden.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

Long before the radishes, kale and lettuce I planted in April started taking off, I was already harvesting the Micro Greens I planted at the same time.

The weather in early spring was unsettled, which is a nice way of saying that it snowed once a week for a month. I had planted the seeds for some cool season crops on a warm day, but then the snow just wouldn't stop.

There would be a few warm days in between snowfalls that would encourage the seeds to start germinating. Then the snow would fall and cover the patio container garden in a thick blanket of the white stuff.

I'd take a peek into the containers on those warm days and was surprised to see the Micro Greens were the first sprouts in the garden. Between the time the snow finally stopped and the rain started, I was able to clip nice bunches of Micro Greens to bring into the kitchen. 

The packet of seeds I sprinkled in the container would've been ready to start enjoying in less than a month, if there hadn't been any interruption to their growing cycle.

"Micro Greens" describes varieties of greens that are harvested when they're only 1 or 2 inches tall. Unlike cut-and-come-again lettuce, Micro Greens are good for only one harvest.

This batch of spicy Micro Greens came from Botanical Interests Seed Company and included Sawtooth Mustard, Peppergrass Cress, Cabbage Red Acre, Mustard Red Giant, and Radish China Rose. Of course, there are many other individual varieties and combinations to plant.

Because these greens grow so quickly on their own, they only need sun and water; no fertilizer required. I plan on planting crops in succession through the season by moving the container to a semi-shaded spot in summer.

To plant, sprinkle a thin layer of seeds over the top layer of soil in a large container, gently tap them into place and cover with another thin layer of soil. Water in (gently so you don't displace seeds) and made sure to keep them moist. 

When the plants have at least two true leaves, use scissors to clip the stems at the soil line. Rinse gently in a colander and dry between paper towels.

These fresh greens make an interesting addition to salads and a nice alternative to lettuce, herbs or sprouts in sandwiches.


posted in: greens, micro greens

Comments (4)

wallace3 writes: My husband made me a grow light for an old table we salvaged. It has two long fluorescent tubes, 1 warm 1 cool, and is supported by PVC piping. It also is on a timer so lights go on and off consistently. You can find plans on this site here: http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/10376/diy-pvc-grow-light-stand. My DH is handy and added some modifications so we can raise and lower the lights. they are supper for seed starting.
Posted: 11:31 am on June 14th
leimbach writes: I sprinkled a tub of soil that didn't survive the winter (sage plant and voles), with a packet of arugula. It looks just like your photo and what a nice addition to all the other volunteer greens around my raised beds! (mustard, endive, oak leaf lettuce) I am hoping the arugula will volunteer next year, too.
Posted: 5:37 pm on June 5th
WesternGardener writes: Thanks for the additional info about growing micro greens indoors. What a terrific idea for having fresh and easy greens during the off season. Did you use a special grow light?
Posted: 11:13 am on June 5th
wallace3 writes: Aren't they great and such fun too! I had success planting them indoors under a light this winter. I planted them in small containers every 10-14 days. That way I had fresh sprouts to harvest. Now I'm trying to decide about indoors or out; I think I'll try both!! My seeds were from Johnny's Seeds. I got enough to last me the year I think! A large package of mild mix. They also sell individual greens and mark their vegetable seed packet for varieties that will do well as micro-greens. I have my eye on some with purple stems - they look smashing in a salad.
Posted: 10:42 am on June 3rd
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