Do You Need Special Seeds for Microgreens?


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Radish Seeds for Microgreens

Microgreens are “young, tender, edible crops that are harvested as seedlings” after the period in which they are sprouts but before they have become baby greens. Because microgreens are a unique plant type, many new gardeners to this variety assume that they require special seeds to grow.

Do you need special seeds for microgreens? No, special seeds are not required for growing microgreens. Microgreens can be produced from almost any kind of standard seed chosen, although some seeds are more recommended than others.

Microgreens can be grown from virtually any seed type or variety, butsome species are easier to cultivate compared to others. For example, vegetable and herb plants are more often grown as microgreens than other types of plants.

Can You Use Regular Seeds for Microgreens?

Microgreens DNDG

Can you use regular seeds for microgreens? The answer is yes. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a special “microgreen seed.” However, some stores do sell unique seed mixes for microgreen production specifically, so they may be listed as such, but they are really no different than ordinary vegetable or herb seeds.

Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce.

Psalm 85:12

Growing Microgreens

So, what makes a microgreen a microgreen if not its seeds? Microgreens grow the way they do because of the cultivating method gardeners use.

Microgreens are grown much differently than traditional vegetable plants. In fact, many gardeners believe that microgreens are much easier and faster to grow and maintain compared to regular vegetable and herb plants. Some other fundamental differences between traditional vegetable and herb gardening and microgreen gardening include:

  • Planting – When growing microgreens, gardeners use a shallow container with drainage holes filled with a soilless mix. The mix is watered before planting, so it is already damp. Seeds are then sprinkled close together over the dirt and pressed into it. Some species of microgreens can germinate in just water alone without the assistance of soil.
  • Growth – Microgreens are “mature” at 10 to 14 days old after germination, although slower growing varieties can be as old as one month when they mature. At this point, they can be up to two inches tall.
  • Harvest – Microgreens are harvested by using a clean pair of scissors or a blade to cut them at the bottom of their stems, right above the soil line. Only the stems and leaves are harvested for consumption, not the roots.

We have written a complete article on harvesting and storing microgreens that you can check out here for more information! How to Harvest & Store Microgreens: The Complete Guide

What Seeds Are Commonly Used for Microgreens?

There are over 80 different microgreen crop varieties for gardeners to choose from, from vegetable and herb species to flowers. Some of the more popular microgreen plants include:

  • Amaranth
  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Buckwheat
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Cress
  • Endives
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lemongrass
  • Mizuna
  • Mustards
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Sunflowers
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tatsoi
  • Watercress

Microgreen Vegetables

Most microgreens are derived from vegetable seeds. This is because they are a little more versatile and can be used in most dishes for an impactful flavor — sometimes even more so than their mature, full vegetable counterparts.

Common microgreen vegetables include:

  • Alfalfa
  • Amaranth
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Collards
  • Cress
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mizuna
  • Mustards
  • Onions
  • Pac Choi
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Scallions
  • Shungiku
  • Tatsoi

Microgreen Herbs

Microgreens are not always produced from vegetable seeds; some microgreen varieties develop from herbs for a flavorful garnish.

Common microgreen herbs include:

  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Borage
  • Chervil
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemongrass
  • Parsley
  • Salad Burnet
  • Saltwort
  • Shiso
  • Sorrel

Microgreen Flowers

It may be odd to imagine including young flower microgreens in certain foods, but they can add a surprisingly pleasing, floral taste to various microgreen mixes. They also make excellent garnishes.

Some of the more common flower-based microgreens include:

  • Borage
  • Celosia
  • Dandelion
  • Marigold
  • Sunflowers

Sunflowers are the most popular flower variety grown as a microgreen. This is because they are often much easier to grow compared to other microgreens. Those new to microgreen gardening are recommended to start off with sunflowers to become accustomed to caring for microgreens.

Microgreen Types

Microgreens can also be characterized by their level of flavor (mild versus bold) and how quickly they can grow.

Mild Microgreens

Milder microgreens have more subtle tastes when consumed compared to bold microgreens. Most mild microgreens are plants that are often eaten at a mature stage.

Some mild microgreens include:

  • Amaranth
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Chia
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mizuna
  • Peas
  • Sunflowers
  • Tatsoi

Bold Microgreens

Bolder microgreens (also known as “spicy” microgreens) offer a much stronger or sharper taste compared to mild microgreens.

Some bold microgreens include:

  • Arugula
  • Cress
  • Mustards
  • Pak Choi
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnip

Slow-Growing Microgreens

Slow-growing microgreen vegetables and herbs typically take longer to reach the point of being ready to harvest. The harvesting period is usually between two weeks to one month of age.

Some slow-growing microgreens include:

  • Amaranth (Garnet Red)
  • Anise
  • Anise Hyssop
  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Chervil
  • Cilantro
  • Cutting Celery
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Komatsuna
  • Lemon Balm
  • Magenta Spreen
  • Marigold (Gem)
  • Mustard (Red Giant)
  • Orach (Ruby Red)
  • Pac Choi (Red Pac)
  • Parsley
  • Purslane (Red Gunner)
  • Salad Burnet
  • Saltwort
  • Scallions (Evergreen Hardy White)
  • Shiso (Britton)
  • Shungiku

Fast-Growing Microgreens

Fast-growing microgreen varieties grow much faster compared to other microgreens, often being ready to harvest around ten to fourteen days of age.

Some fast-growing microgreens include:

  • Borage
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage (Red Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage)
  • Collards (Champion)
  • Cress (Cressida, Persian)
  • Hon Tsai Tai
  • Kale (Red Russian, Tuscano)
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mizuna
  • Mustards (except Red Giant variety)
  • Pac Choi (Rosie)
  • Radishes
  • Tatsoi

Microgreen Mixes

For those who are still not sure which seeds are best for growing microgreens, some retailers sell microgreen-friendly mixed seed varieties.

Some of the more common mixed seed varieties include:

  • Chard and Beets
  • Mild Micro – Mizuna, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi
  • Radish Confetti
  • Spicy Micro – Red and green mustards

Are Some Seeds Not Recommended for Microgreens?

Just because most seeds can be used for microgreen cultivation does not mean that all of them are suitable for it. Experienced microgreen gardeners recommend that the following plant types should NOT be used for microgreen production:

  • Lettuces – These plants are usually too delicate to manage in microgreen cultivation, so many gardeners try to avoid it (although they can be an option for microgreen growth). In addition, lettuce wilts quite easily as a microgreen compared to other varieties.
  • Fruits – Most fruit plants are harvested for their fruit, not their stems and leaves; many fruit plants — such as cantaloupe — are not used for microgreen crops because their young leaves and stems do not provide the full-bodied flavor that their vegetable counterparts can (and are made for).
  • Inedible Leafy Greens – Since gardeners harvest microgreen leaves and stems for consumption, make sure you choose seeds that usually grow plants with edible leaves and stems. Avoid using plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, or okra because their leaves are generally inedible or toxic for human consumption.

In Conclusion…

While microgreens may seem like they need special seeds, they do not. The secret of microgreens lies in the balance of their cultivation. If you are thinking about growing your own microgreens, you don’t need certain seeds – you just need the patience and know-how to create tasty little plants!

If you are interested in getting started with microgreens or are looking for a reliable online store for seeds and supplies at a great price, check out our affiliate at True Leaf Market. TrueLeafMarket.com – Microgreens Seeds, Kits & Supplies

Check out Our Favorite Products page to find everything you might need to help make your garden a success!




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Corey Leichty

Hi, I’m Corey and I love using gardening as a way to provide food for my family, learn life lessons alongside my wife, Andrea, and teach life lessons to my two sons. Do you have gardening questions? Not finding what you are looking for? Please feel free to Ask a Question (Click Here!) and I will get back with you as soon as I can!

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