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FAQ

Find answers to common questions about microgreens.

General

Growing

Growing for profit

General

What are microgreens?

Microgreens are the seedlings of edible vegetables, herbs and flowers. They are harvested when the first leaves form, usually at about 10 days (depending on variety). Microgreens grow densely in a medium like soil or hydroponically. Because microgreens are harvested at the seedling state, they have concentrated levels of nutrients and flavor.

What is the difference between microgreens, sprouts & baby salad greens?

These are all different stages of a plant’s growth:

  • Sprouts: Sprouts are the first stage of a seed’s development and generally grow without a growing medium (soil), but are sprouted and rinsed in a sprouting tray, jar, or bag. They are usually eaten soon after the seeds germinate.
  • Microgreens: Microgreens typically grow in soil or other growing medium and are the second stage of a plant’s life, where roots establish themselves and the first leaves (called cotyledons) appear. They’re harvested at this stage or just as the true leaves (adult stage leaves) emerge. Plants in the microgreen stage are typically at their peak of flavor intensity and nutritional content.
  • Baby Salad Green: Baby greens are allowed to grow for a week or two beyond the microgreen stage when the true leaves have emerged. They’re harvested while they are still juvenile plants. The flavors are much closer to their full adult stage. These greens have had time to pull nutrients out of the soil they are growing in.

Why should I grow and eat microgreens?

Microgreens…

  • Are an easy way to get extra vegetables in your diet.
  • Offer great flavor and freshness.
  • Altought they are small, microgreens are packed with vitamins, mineral and antioxidants and offer a wide range of health benefits. In fact, evidence show that microgreens provide up to 40X more vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting properties per bite when compared to their full-grown counterparts. (according to a study performed by the University of Maryland).
  • Are quick, easy and inexpensive to grow. 
  • Provide intense flavor pops to your food.
  • Add vibrant colors to make your dishes more visually appealing.

How nutritious are microgreens?

Because microgreens are harvested at the seedling state, the plant’s nutrients are extremely concentrated. Microgreens contain high levels of vitamins, mineral and antioxidants and offer a wide range of health benefits. In fact, evidence show that microgreens provide up to 40X more vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting properties per bite when compared to their full-grown counterparts. (according to a study performed by the University of Maryland).

How do I eat microgreens?

Microgreens are incredibly easy to incorporate into your meals. If you are brand new to eating microgreens, an easy way to start is to use microgreens in place of lettuce. On sandwiches, burger, wraps, tacos, ect. Microgreens are also great on eggs, salads, soups and so much more. Take a look at my top 10 microgreen meal boosters to get some more ideas!

Growing

How do I start growing microgreens?

I offer simple easy DIY Microgreen Growing kits. If you are brand new to growing, these kits are a great place to start. The kits have everything you need to start growing including step by step instructions.

If you want to grow on a larger scale I recommend seeding in flats or trays that measure 1-2inch depth.

Just give it a try!! The best way to start, is to start! Check out my free, quick 10 minute video and I’ll walk you through the basic steps to growing successfully at home!

What are the easiest microgreens to grow?

In my experience the easiest and most consistent microgreens to grow are; radish, broccoli, kale, pea and mustard.

What are the hardest microgreens to grow?

More challenging microgreens include: amaranth, beets, basil, cilantro, beets, sorrel, and popcorn. The more you grow the more fun experimenting with different varieties will become.

Growing microgreens in soil vs. hydroponics?

You can always grow any microgreen in soil. Some crops like sunflower, buckwheat, pea, cilantro and beets are very challenging to grow hydroponically, so these really MUST be grown in soil. Choosing a growing medium comes down to a personal choice. I personally choose to grow in soil because I love the simplicity of it. Growing in soil requires no synthetic nutrients or additives. I have also found that growing in soil consistently gives me the healthiest microgreens.

What kind of growing lights should I use for microgreens?

If you grow indoors, your microgreens will need to be exposed to light at the right time. LED, incandescent, fluorescent, and direct sunlight will all work fine. LED grow lights have many benefits. They are light, consume vastly less electricity, produce very little heat, and only give plants the blue and red ends of the spectrum which is what plants absorb.

What is the best way to water microgreens?

Most microgreens varieties prefer bottom watering to overhead watering. To bottom water, be sure to plant into a tray with drainage holes. Seat your planted tray into an empty tray with no holes. Add water to this bottom tray and allow your microgreens to soak up this water without getting leaves wet.

Which microgreen seeds need to be pre-soaked?

Sunflower, buckwheat, beet, pea and fava all need to be pre-soaked in cold water. Each should soak for 6 to 12  hours and be rinsed thoroughly before planting.

How densely should I plant my microgreens?

As a general rule of thumb, seeding densities should be thick enough to cover your sowing surface, but not to the point of inhibiting air flow. Both small and large seeds should be planted thickly (⅛–¼” apart).

  • Small seeds: 10–12 seeds per square inch
  • Medium to large seeds: 6–8 per square inch

Seeding too densely can result in lack of air circulation which increases risk of disease.

My microgreens are wilting, what am I doing wrong?

Wilt is caused by either under-watering or excessive heat.

Why are there sections of rot in my microgreen crop?

Several things can cause rot. Rot in a crop is usually caused by sowing seeds too thickly or over-watering.  It can also be a pH issue if your water is too alkaline.  Lack of air flow in your grow environment can be another contributor to rot.

Will my microgreens regrow after cutting?

Second harvests are often weaker than the first, but it can be done, especially if growing in soil. Certain varieties are more resilient in regrowing after being cut. I personally like to get a second cutting on pea shoots. You will most likely have less success with regrowth when growing hydroponically.

My microgreen crops are pale, what am I doing wrong?

They probably don’t get enough light. Try direct sunlight by a window or outdoors. Your crop may angle for light, so be sure to rotate periodically. LED grow lights are also a good solution.

My microgreen crops show burned or dry sections on the leaves, what am I doing wrong?

They probably get too much light or are too close to lights giving off excess heat.

My microgreen crops are growing very slowly, what am I doing wrong?

Your growing environment is probably too cold. Microgreens grow best when temps are consistently around 75 degrees. 

Where can I get seeds and supplies?

You can purchase most supplies at your local gardening center or agriculture supply store. You can also purchase online. I purchase nearly all my seed through True Leaf Market.

True Leaf Market exclusively sells Non GMO seed and has an extensive selection of Certified Organic microgreen seeds at a fantastic price. I have been purchasing through this company for years now and I’m so impressed with their customer service and other resources available. True Leaf also sells other microgreen supplies.

If you are interested in checking out True Leaf, consider using my affiliate link here.

Are there any safety precautions I should be aware of related to microgreens?

Most people can safely consume microgreens without any risk. However there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Microgreens often grow in a moist environment. While significantly less risky than sprouts, it is possible for microgreens to harbor E. Coli and other bacteria if not properly handled. So it’s important to thoroughly wash all microgreens before consuming them.
  • Microgreens can come from a wide range of different herbs and vegetables. If you have a food allergy to a specific vegetable, you may also be allergic to it in microgreen form. For example, if you’re allergic to soybeans, you may want to avoid soybean microgreens too.
  • However, some plants that would normally contain gluten such as alfalfa, wheatgrass, barley, and buckwheat are usually fine to eat for the gluten-intolerant since they haven’t had a chance to start producing gluten yet in their microgreen form.
  • Regardless, if you develop an allergic reaction after eating a microgreen, you should stop consuming it immediately and talk to your doctor. If you’re taking blood thinning medication like Warfarin, eating large amounts of microgreens may interfere with your medication. This is because many kinds of microgreens are high in Vitamin K, which is a vitamin that’s essential for blood clotting. Talk to your primary care provider if you have any questions about this or other medication interactions.

Growing for profit

Can you make money growing microgreens?

Absolutely! Growing microgreens requires minimal start up costs, has fast growing cycles and high profit margins. Growing microgreens can be extremely lucrative. If you are interested in learning more about growing microgreens for profit check out my free mini course. This course is designed to help you determine is starting a Microgreens business is right for you!