Microgreens 101 // Getting Started

So, you want to grow your own microgreens. Or, perhaps you’re curious what all the buzz is about? Microgreens have become quite popular in the permaculture and health communities. You may have even seen these little tender leaves in your local grocery store, selling anywhere from $5 and up.

Growing microgreens at home is an amazing way to up your nutrient intake and save money on what otherwise could be a heavy dent in the pocket. It is also a fun, easy way to connect with your food and ensure it is grown in a healthy environment.

This article aims to give you everything you need to know to start your own indoor microgreen garden. I will also be giving you some interesting and useful information about microgreens and why they would be a wonderful addition to your home and diet.

About Microgreens

Microgreens are small, young, edible tender leaves that are generally 2-4 weeks old from germination to harvest. They are nutritional powerhouses that are bursting with life and flavor.

There are various types of microgreens that can be useful for any type of dish. Flavors often range from mild to spicy, making them perfect for anything from smoothies to soups to salads or wraps.

Microgreens contain 2-6 times the nutrient density of both baby greens and mature plants. Only a handful of red cabbage microgreens is the nutritional equivalent of one pound of red cabbage! I don’t know about you, but I would much rather eat a handful of microgreens a day than a pound of red cabbage!

Image from draxe.com listing a variety of benefits that microgreens offer.

These little superheroes also make a wonderful natural humidifier, as they release excess moisture into the air through evaporation, making them the perfect companion throughout the dry winter months.

Common weeds found in your yard are oftentimes perfect for use as microgreens. First, ensure your yard hasn’t been treated with chemicals in at least 6 years, then do your research to verify the plants naturally popping up to be edible and safe.

Some examples of weeds that may be used as microgreens are:

  • Amaranth
  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Celosia
  • Sorrel
  • Alfalfa

Have fun with it and again, do your research to see what works for you. Once you have identified safe plants to use, simply collect the seeds to be used for microgreens. No additional processing is necessary and they don’t even need to be rinsed!

Getting Started

First, I invite you to consider your “Why?” Why do you wish to embark on this journey of growing microgreens? Is it to add healthy and nutrient-rich foods to your diet? Do you enjoy growing things for stress relief and mental health? Is it so you can begin selling microgreens in your local community, to benefit the health of others and make a hefty profit? Whatever the reason, it will help to have a solid “Why” that keeps you accountable to this journey.


  • Lights
    • LED full-spectrum lights are the best way to go for energy efficiency. You can use anything from the fanciest lights in the market, to some old office lights you found at a thrift store. When I learned about microgreens, the speaker had been using T5 Full-Spectrum lights with great success.
  • Seasoned Tray or Wooden Flat
    • To plant the seeds in, you have a choice. You could opt for a seasoned plastic tray with a dome to cover, or you can build your own wooden flat. If you go for wooden, opt for untreated Cedar or Cypress wood as it is antibacterial, prevents microbial and fungal growth, repels insects, and is resistant to warping.

  • Watering Can
    • It is recommend for the best results to use a watering can that sprays out from an upturned spout. This helps prevent seed from flooding out of the tray, as well as reducing any potential soil erosion.

  • Soil
    • Morgan Composting Seed Starter 101 was the top soil recommended. You could also make your own if you’re feeling ambitious!
    • DIY Soil: 3 parts of peat moss/coco-coir + 1 part of sand (optional) + 1 part of perlite + 0.5-1 part of compost [X]

Now that you have your base supplies, we can begin to build our Microgreen nursery!

Planting Seeds

Preparing the Soil

In a bucket, add a few large handfuls of your soil. Next, begin to add water to the bucket with your soil. You want to make sure the soil is evenly coated, not to dry or too wet. Squeeze the soil to ensure it holds its shape and only 1-6 drops of water fall out. This step is especially important when using the Morgan Composting Seed Starter 101, as it is a hydrophobic soil and repels water. Adding it to the tray without moistening it first will cause it – and your seeds – to flood out of the tray.

Once the soil is hydrated, begin adding it to your tray or flat. Leave 1/2 to 1 inch of space between the soil and the top of the tray.

Press down on the soil to evenly distribute it through your flat and prevent any air pockets.

Adding Seeds

Choose what seeds you wish to grow and start spreading them evenly across the soil. It doesn’t need to be too dense, only about 2-6 seeds per square inch.

Leave the seeds to sit on top and don’t cover them with more soil. This will give the best results and often a greater harvest.

It is also important not to mix the seeds unless they are of the same family. Seeds vary in growth time, and while one type of plant may bee done growing others in the tray could still be trying to catch up. It is best to use one type of seed per tray to ensure an even growth time.

Handout from highmowingseeds.com listing different varieties and growth times.

Water the seeds again lightly after they have been added to the tray. Put a dome on and allow to germinate for the next 5-7 days.

You may need to water them if the soil starts to get dry during germination.

Continuing Care + Tips

  • Once the seeds have begun sprouting, water daily by counting from 5-10 seconds.
  • Lights should be hung about a foot from the tray. The higher the lights, the taller the stems of your microgreens. You may also experiment with this and start the lights closer to the tray and raise them as the plants grow.
  • Leave the lights on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours to mimic the sun during summer.
  • Avoid leaching water into the bottom of the tray. This could cause nutrient loss from the soil, making it harder for the microgreens to gain nutrients.
  • When buying supplies, it an be more economical to buy in bulk with friends, and more fun as you will have a community to embark on this adventure and share different varieties of microgreens with!
  • When buying seeds, opt only for Organic and Open-Pollinated. A couple great companies to buy from are Johnny’s Selected Seeds and High Mowing Seeds.
  • Have fun!

This post is for educational purposes and is not sponsored.

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