People have been growing sprouts in jars for quite some time now, and that practice has made many wonder whether or not they can grow their favorite microgreens in jars, too. With microgreens being so easy to grow, tossing them in a jar would make it that much easier. But is it possible? With the right steps, anyone can successfully grow microgreens in a jar.
To grow microgreens in a jar, follow these nine steps:
- Choose a wide-mouth mason jar
- Cut a screen material to the same size as the lid
- Prepare a solution of water with nutrients and pour into the jar
- Sprinkle seeds on top of the screen
- Spray the seeds and cover with the lid from the jar
- Keep the microgreens jar in a dark area for five days, misting daily
- Remove the top cover and place the jar in sunlight or under a grow light
- Refill jar with water if necessary
Those who are interested in growing microgreens in a jar have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of growing microgreens in a jar and how to successfully grow favorite microgreens in as little as nine steps.
How to Grow Microgreens in a Jar: Step by Step
Who is ready to take the plunge and try a hand at growing microgreens in a mason jar? Remember, the options are available of adding soil and seeds to a mason jar, or avoiding soil and grow mats and strictly growing in nutrient-dense water. However, we have found that growing hydroponically is the best choice for growing microgreens in a mason jar.
And don’t worry – just because growing microgreens without soil sounds like a technical, futuristic way of growing microgreens, it’s easy and done rather often with much success. Some people believe growing hydroponically is easier (and less time-consuming and messy) than growing in soil.
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.Proverbs 19:20
1. Choose a Wide-Mouth Mason Jar
Start by finding the right mason jar for the chosen microgreens. Make sure to buy a wide-mouth mason jar. Without the wide mouth, gardeners will be in a world of trouble because they won’t have as much surface area to place the seeds.
2. Cut a screen material to the same size as the lid
Find a screen material that is small enough where the seeds will not fall through. We used window screen material. Other possible options that might be available are any type of mesh liner or cheesecloth. It depends on the size of the seeds being used, so be sure to check to see if the seeds will fall through.
We chose to cut the screen material to the same size as the lid from the mason jar. This seemed to be the best option for this rougher type of material. Those who choose to use something softer, such as cheesecloth, can probably cut a larger piece and have the extra draping over the sides of the jar.
3. Prepare a solution of water and nutrients and pour into jar
Growing microgreens hydroponically means the roots of the plants grow in water. This water needs to have nutrients that the roots can use and bring up to the plant for healthy growth.
A good option for those nutrients is General Hydroponics MaxiGrow (Amazon Link). This bag is cheap and will last a long time because not much of the product is needed per gallon of water.
The directions state to add 1 to 2 teaspoons per gallon of water. For our case, we used a pint jar so when divided down, it comes out to a mere ¼ teaspoon per pint!
Make sure not to add too many nutrients since this can do more harm than good.
We did not check the pH balance of our water but based on our research this can make a difference with the growth of microgreens. Using distilled water or rainwater is the best choice because these options typically have the right pH balance already.
Those who really want to be sure the pH is correct can purchase pH test strips to check the water before adding it to the jar. This will make it clear if the water needs any adjustments.
If the test shows that the pH levels that are too low, then add a bit of wood ash or lime juice. On the other hand, pH levels that are too high can be lowered with phosphoric acid.
Those who don’t want to mess with all those extra adjustment products can purchase a pH Control Kit from True Leaf Market to handle all of it.
Once the solution is mixed and ready, pour it into the jar! It should be about a ¼ inch below the top of the jar. (It should not touch the screen material.)
4. Sprinkle your seeds on top of the screen
Now, place the screen material and the ring for the jar on top of the jar and screw the ring on tight.
Next, use about a ½ teaspoon full of seeds and sprinkle them on top of the screen of the jar. It is important to scatter them evenly and not have any seeds on top of each other. The amount of seeds needed will greatly depend on the type of seeds used.
Gardeners can choose to use whatever type of seeds they want to grow, but we feel a variety with smaller seeds will work best for this method (sunflowers or peas may not be practical here!).
We chose to use broccoli seeds for our jar because we already had some extra at home. Other good choices would be kale, wheatgrass, kohlrabi, radish, or any type of salad mix.
5. Spray the seeds and cover with the lid from the jar
Once the seeds are spread out evenly, use a spray bottle to mist the seeds just enough to get them wet. Then, cover the seeds with the lid from the mason jar. Yes, the lid can lay right on top of the seeds!
6. Keep the microgreens jar in a dark area for about 5 days, misting daily
The first part of the microgreens’ growing journey is to germinate and start to sprout. This is the beginning stage of any plant, and this can only be done if the microgreens are placed in absolute darkness. Some options are to toss them in the garage, basement, closet, or any other area where there is a lack of light. It would be best if the temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once or twice a day (morning and night), gently remove the lid and mist the seeds to keep them wet. Don’t overdo it, or it is possible to end up with a diseased or molded plant. Add too little water, and they will dry out. Put the lid back on top of the seeds each time.
In a few days, the seeds will start to sprout! Keep misting and keep the lid on! The seedlings will not be hurt by having the lid on top of them.
7. Remove the top cover and place it in sunlight or under a grow light
Notice that as the days pass by, the seedlings will be raising the lid of the jar up! They are stronger than one might think! This is perfectly fine. Remove the lid after about the fifth day, or in our case, the seedlings pushed the lid off themselves and we let the microgreens decide the right time for us!
Now the microgreens need light to start the photosynthesis process and start “greening up”. You have the option of setting the plants in a windowsill that receives plenty of sunlight or sitting them outside in the sun if it’s not too hot or too cold; 70 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal.
Those who do not have an area that has adequate lighting will probably need to buy a fluorescent light. Microgreens are picky with their light, and a lack of light will cause the microgreens to fail.
We put our microgreens on a shelf under a shop light.
8. Refill jar with water if necessary
As the next week or so passes by, the roots of the microgreens will continue to grow down further into the water. It looks really cool! Our boys loved it!
Notice that the water level is decreasing quite a bit. We noticed this and just poured some extra water into the jar to raise the level back closer to the top. It is not necessary to add any more nutrients to the water.
The best part about growing microgreens is that they are typically ready to harvest in as little as one and a half weeks. Remember, every microgreen is different, but most should not take over four weeks to be ready to harvest.
When it is time to harvest, follow these steps:
- Cut the microgreens just above the top of the jar using a sharp knife or blade.
- Rinse the microgreens off.
- Dry them thoroughly. Remember to be gentle because microgreens are fragile and can be destroyed easily.
To store microgreens, place them between damp paper towels in a bag or container in the refrigerator.
Should You Grow Microgreens in a Jar?
The latest buzzword in the health industry is microgreens. These nutrient-dense, delicious greens are found on top of our favorite salads and included as tasty decor atop steaks, chicken, pork loins, and more! The problem, though, is that many people confuse sprouts with microgreens. Sprouts and microgreens are not the same.
We have written our own article to explain the difference – Microgreens vs Sprouts: What’s the Difference? In short, a sprout is a germinated seed, while a microgreen is the first leaves that appear known as the ‘cotyledon growth stage.’
Since sprouts are germinated seeds, they only need water to grow. This is why sprouts are so commonly grown in mason jars with some water and darkness. It is also the reason why so many people think microgreens can be grown in a jar of water, too. After all, if microgreens are simply the next step in the growing process, it should be no problem.
While this is a cool way to grow a small amount of microgreens, it may not be the most efficient way. If more microgreens are needed or desired than what this method can provide, either grow microgreens in multiple jars, or switch to larger sized containers, such as tupperware with lids.
For any large amount of microgreens needed, especially for commercial growers, a traditional tray of microgreens to grow in would be the best option.
Benefits of Growing in a Mason Jar
Some might wonder why growing microgreens in a mason jar should even be considered. Well, there are several different perks for placing micros in a mason jar.
The top five reasons for growing microgreens in a mason jar are:
- It looks nice. This is not important for everyone, but those who have a modern theme in their home and want to add to the ambiance of the room will enjoy having a classy, trendy mason jar holding some favorite microgreens.
- They are space savers. Anyone who is looking to grow microgreens but doesn’t have a whole lot of space will find a solution with a mason jar. They are small, space-saving devices that will also keep messes at bay.
- They use less water. Those who are worried about conserving water should know that growing microgreens hydroponically is an excellent way to save on water. It’s also reusable, which means we’re getting even more out of our water usage. Using mason jars is an eco-friendly growing choice.
- They can go anywhere. A microgreen mason jar can go virtually anywhere without a problem. Move it here or there, take it on the road, do whatever is necessary. It is portable and can be placed on windowsills, outside or in a bedroom.
- Gardeners have more control over their plants. One of the best parts about using a mason jar and going the hydroponic route is that gardeners are in complete control of the nutrients the plants are getting. Every gardener loves to be able to have specific control over their garden, and mason jars and a hydroponic growth plan are the best choices for this.
What Are the Best Mason Jars for Microgreens?
When choosing a mason jar to grow microgreens, it is important to know which one is best. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the mason jar should have a wide mouth. Microgreens need enough room to thrive.
These 10 ounce wide-mouth mason jars (Amazon Link) would be perfect for growing microgreens using this method, even better than our pint-sized jars that we used.
Which Microgreens Grow Best Hydroponically?
Almost every microgreen will thrive in a hydroponic garden, especially wheatgrass, kale and kohlrabi.
However, some microgreens are better suited for soil growth than others. Some microgreens that are better suited for soil growth are:
So, when choosing microgreens for jars, avoid these specific microgreens because they grow better in soil.
Gardeners who are thinking about growing microgreens in a jar at home are in luck! It can be done. It is important to follow the right steps. The best way to grow microgreens in jars is by using a hydroponic growing method. Keep them away from light for the first few days, but afterward, make sure they are in a well-lit, well-ventilated area with enough water for proper growth.
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
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