If you’re a beginner gardening, looking to try growing plants indoors, consider growing your own microgreens as an introductory project. Growing your own fresh microgreens is quite easy and straightforward when you have the necessary supplies and start with easy plants to grow. It not only provides a fantastic indoor gardening experience, but the resulting microgreens also provide a nutritious, flavorful addition to home cooking.
Growing microgreens is a gratifying way for beginners to try their hand at indoor gardening
Growing Trays or Containers: One of the great things about growing microgreens is they are fairly forgiving about what types of growing trays or containers you use. Seed trays are a good option to use if you’re growing a large number of microgreens. They are designed specifically with seed germination in mind – wide and shallow since root systems won’t fully develop – and have drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain freely.
Growing Media: Choosing a good quality growing media for seeding trays is important: it acts as a reservoir for moisture, it provides “empty” space for air around the roots, and it supports the plants by anchoring the roots. Commercial potting soil has been a preferred medium in greenhouse systems. But over the last few years, coconut coir has been increasingly used as an environmentally friendly alternative in horticultural production. Both are lightweight and have incredible water-holding capacity.
Seeds: When buying seeds use a dependable source and opt for untreated seeds if possible. Gardening seeds are routinely treated with fungicides. When growing seeds to mature plants this poses little threat as the growing season is long, allowing ample time for chemicals to degrade. But the growing window is incredibly shorter when growing microgreens, increasing the chance the fungicide could still be present on tender, young plants.
Water: Keeping the growing media moist, as well as maintaining a moderate relative humidity is critical to growing microgreens. Rainwater, bottled water, and well water are the three best water sources for watering your microgreens. Avoid softened water because it contains high levels of salts that can damage sensitive microgreens.
Sunlight: When grown outside edible plants prefer full-sun locations. Adequate sunlight is needed to drive photosynthesis, a process within the plant that creates glucose for food to fuel plant growth. Indoors prefer spots that receive 10-12 hours of sun. If there isn’t enough direct sunlight indoors for your microgreens, supplement natural sunlight with grow lights. Inadequate lighting results in tall, spindly plants that lack flavor.
Growing microgreens is a relatively easy process, but there are some plants that are even easier than others. The best options for a beginner are pea shoots, radishes, arugula, and mustard microgreens.