By Matt Gibson & Erin Marissa Russell
Microgreens are easy to grow, whether you have a whole garden ready for planting or just want to start with one small container. Microgreens are harvested at an immature size, when the plants are just one to three inches tall, so you can even grow microgreens in an apartment on the windowsill or on a balcony or patio. (For instructions on how to grow microgreens of all kinds, see our article on growing microgreens.)
Some people like to grow microgreens from seed blends made specifically for that purpose, while others grow all kinds of microgreens by starting with seeds from various kinds of greens. Below are some plants you can grow for the best microgreens, or make your own seed blend by mixing a few of these together.
Arugula is a great plant to pick for growing microgreens. Arugula’s zesty, slightly nutty flavor is a great way to spice up your salads and wraps, and you can have a harvestable crop of arugula microgreens in as little as 10 days time. Arugula greens are sometimes slightly bitter, and can pack a spicy punch as well, so if you want a lot of flavor from your microgreens, you can’t go wrong with arugula. Harvest arugula greens once they reach about two inches in height and have bright, opened leaves. For more information, read our article How to Grow Arugula.
If you like the flavor of basil, basil microgreens are an excellent way to get all of the wonderful basil flavor you love, as well as four to five times the nutrients that you get from fully mature basil plants. Unfortunately, basil is one of the slowest growing plants for producing microgreens, but it will still bring you a harvestable crop in as little as 15 days time. Basil microgreens are chock full of nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, as well as minerals like calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
For more information, read our article How to Grow Basil.
Like all the brassicas, kale makes good microgreens due to its peppery bite. Brassicas are also known for producing uniformly sized microgreens that quickly reach the harvestable height of one to three inches. Best of all, you get all the nutritional benefits of kale from microgreens grown from kale.
For more information, read our article How to Grow Kale: Including Three Favorite Ways to Prepare Kale.
You can grow microgreens from any type of lettuce for a mild flavor and quick-growing greens that are easy to care for. Many gardeners also like to grow a blend of their favorite lettuces for some interest when it comes to the color, flavor, and texture of the greens.
For more information, read our article How to Grow Lettuce in the Home Garden.
Just like fully grown mustard, mustard microgreens have a spicy flavor that’s extremely distinctive. They’re also packed full of vitamins A and C, making both the microgreens and the fully grown greens nutritionally dense. Mustard microgreens have been part of Indian and Himalayan cuisine throughout history.
For more information, read our article How to Grow Mustard Greens.
Pea microgreens are popular for their flavor, which tastes just like fully grown peas. As a result, pea microgreens are fresh and juicy. Their taste is so good that these microgreens are often eaten on their own instead of as a garnish or component of a meal.
For more information, read our article How to Grow Peas.
Spinach is such a flavorful green that its taste is especially concentrated in microgreen form. That means that you won’t need to add very many spinach microgreens to your meal in order to get a big helping of flavor. If you find their taste too overwhelming at first, just remember that a little bit goes a long way.
For more information, read our article How to Grow Spinach.
Watercress is popularly grown as a microgreen because these little greens are just so nutritious. Watercress even beats out kale when it comes to packing a nutritional punch. The microgreens that are grown from watercress have a peppery kick that makes them a great addition to salads, sandwiches, wraps, and more.
For more information, read our article How to Grow Watercress.
Now you should be ready to choose which plants you’d like to grow as microgreens. Once your seedlings have reached one to three inches tall, simply snip them just above ground level and rinse them well before eating. You’ll want to harvest your microgreens as close as possible to the time you plan to eat them so they’ll stay fresh.
To store finished microgreens, wrap them in dry paper towels inside a plastic food storage container or aluminum foil, but it’s really best to wait and harvest them right before you’ll be eating them. And since it’s so easy to grow microgreens indoors or out, it should be no trouble to keep a supply ready to cut whenever you’d like to add some microgreens to a dish.