Microgreens have become very popular recently in the gardening and culinary world. They add a burst of unique, decadent flavor to any dish they accompany, while also looking amazing as a garnish. Whether simply trying to up the salad game or preparing a fancy 5-course meal, consider growing microgreens!
Is there a best time to plant microgreens? The great thing about microgreens is that they can be grown year-round indoors as long as they have enough access to sunlight. Gardeners who want to plant microgreens outside will want to plant them in the Spring because the temperature during this season is the most ideal for germination and growth.
Gardeners thinking about trying their hand at growing microgreens need to know when to do it and how to successfully grow these succulent greens. In this article, you will learn exactly what microgreens are and how you can grow them indoors and outdoors.
When Should Microgreens be Planted?
Aside from their health benefits and amazing taste, another reason to consider growing microgreens is that it is incredibly easy. In fact, most microgreens can be grown and harvested in as little as one to three weeks. That means it is not necessary to spend months watering and trimming in order to reap the benefits.
Microgreens are also known for being a great starter plant for amateur gardeners. This is simply because not much is needed in order for the microgreens to grow. As long as the microgreens have enough space, water, and sunlight, then it will grow.
This is another way in which sprouts and microgreens are different: sprouts don’t need much sunlight, while microgreens crave it and need it in order to thrive. But when, exactly, is the right time to plant a microgreen?
Microgreens, again, prove themselves to be one of the easiest plants to grow because microgreens can be planted anytime throughout the year, as long as they are kept indoors and have access to sunlight. The ideal temperature for a microgreen is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the approximate temperature many people keep their homes during all seasons.
However, keep in mind that microgreens need to be planted in an area that will receive lots of sunlight. The ideal placement for microgreens is on a sunny windowsill, preferably one that is facing south.
With this location, the microgreens are sure to have plenty of sunlight. Sunlight is necessary for the growth of microgreens, so ensuring that microgreens are placed in an area where the sun is likely to shine for most of the day is critical.
A Few Tips for Planting Indoors
Let me reiterate that microgreens can be planted anytime throughout the year as long as they are planted indoors on a windowsill that receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day. This is still true during the chilly winter months and the sweltering summer months.
Here are just a few more tips for growing microgreens indoors:
- Don’t focus too much on the container. Microgreens don’t necessarily need a fancy container or pot in which to be planted. Of course, gardeners are free to go out and buy a plant-specific container, but microgreens can also thrive in a plastic take-out container or fruit container. Just make sure it’s clean and has drainage holes.
- Scatter the seeds. Putting seeds on top of other seeds is asking for failure. This will grow the microgreens in one area and cause it to be too thick to function. Instead, spread the seeds out generously and give them room to thrive.
- Keep the soil damp but not soaked. When it comes to watering microgreens, dampness is ideal. This is best done by misting the plants instead of watering them with a watering can or glass of water. Either way, keep the wetness to a minimum.
- Purchase a grow light. Many people will find that they do not have enough light during the winter through a window. In this case, a grow light should be used to provide enough light for the microgreens to grow.
Here is a link to our favorite grow light and heat mat for a simple beginner setup for seed starting that you can find on Amazon!
True Leaf Market also has some great watering solutions and microgreen kits that make it easy to get started with your microgreens setup.
Growing Microgreens Outside
Another option is planting microgreens outside. In an area with a mild climate, such as Southern California, gardeners can grow microgreens outside year-round without worry. However, colder climate gardeners should stick to planting in Spring when the temperature is right.
Microgreens can’t survive in cold temperatures. That is why it’s best to avoid planting outside during the fall and winter months for gardeners who live in an area where temperatures can drop tremendously.
Gardeners who are planning to grow microgreens outside need to make sure to do the following:
- Have a designated area for microgreens. Microgreens are very small (hence the prefix micro) and, therefore, can get lost or pushed around by insects and rodents. To avoid this, make sure that there is a designated spot for the microgreens, and proper precautions are taken to keep intruders at bay.
- Plant the microgreens 1/8 inch deep into the soil with compost. Just like any other plant, microgreens are going to survive best with proper soil. That being said, make sure the soil is a healthy blend of quality soil and compost.
- Make sure the area has plenty of sunlight. Whether indoors or outdoors, microgreens need to have enough sunlight to survive. Always make sure that microgreens are planted in an area that receives adequate sunlight throughout the day.
- Avoid planting during cold weather. The ideal temperature for microgreens is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If gardeners are planting in an area with temperatures below 50, it is best to plant indoors until the weather warms up a bit.
The Difference Between Sprouts and Microgreens
Microgreens have become a recent ‘buzz word’ in the health community, and for good reason, too. However, many people find themselves confusing microgreens with sprouts. Certainly, they may appear somewhat similar, but they have some main differences to set them apart from each other.
To put it simply, a sprout is a newly germinated seed that will be harvested before the leaves begin to grow. On the other hand, microgreens continue to grow from the sprout stage and begin to form leaves. Once the cotyledon leaves have formed, then the plant becomes what is known as a microgreen.
Some of the most popular microgreens that are grown today include amaranth, basil, kale, broccoli, mustard, beets, parsley, pea, swiss chard and rocket.
Health Benefits of Microgreens
If you’re considering growing microgreens, then you are probably curious about how microgreens can benefit you and your family’s health. Microgreens come with a long list of potential health benefits. They are jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals, while also providing a good amount of fiber to the diet.
All of these nutrients can help an individual’s health in many ways, including:
- Prevention of a wide range of diseases.
- The increase in fiber can help manage overall weight.
- Enhance your sense of well-being and mental health.
- Enhancing your physical health as well.
- The high number of antioxidants helps to rid the body of unstable waste, known as ‘free radicals,’ which are highly damaging.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.Ecclesiastes 3:11
Microgreens are packed with nutrients and are incredibly easy to grow. Microgreens can be planted indoors year-round, as long as they have access to plenty of sunlight. If planting outside, make sure that the climate isn’t too hot or too cold, or the microgreens won’t be able to thrive. Spring is generally the best time to plant microgreens outdoors.
For those who are looking to test their culinary talents, growing a microgreen garden is a great way to find different flavors and leafy combinations that will please any taste buds!
Check out Our Favorite Products page to find everything you might need to help make your microgreens and gardening setup a success.