Microgreens have gained immense popularity due to their exceptional nutritional content, vibrant colors, and unique flavors. These miniature greens offer a quick and rewarding way to grow fresh produce at home, even in limited spaces. If you're new to microgreen cultivation, you might be wondering: how long does it take to grow microgreens? In this blog, we will take you through the journey from seed to plate, exploring the stages of microgreen growth and providing you with a general timeline for each step. Get ready to embark on an exciting adventure of growing and harvesting your own microgreens in no time!
Seed Germination (2-7 days):
Seed germination is the first step in growing microgreens. It is the process by which tiny seeds absorb water and begin to sprout. For many types of microgreens, it takes approximately 27 days for the seed to germinate.
The first step in germination is imbibition, during which the seed absorbs water and swells up its outer layers.
Seedling Growth (7-10 days):
After the seed has germinated and imbibed its water, it begins to produce a tiny shoot and root. This is known as the seedling stage, where your microgreens are just beginning to develop leaves. During this period, it’s important to keep your greens evenly moist so they can continue growing and developing at a healthy rate.
Mature Leaf Stage (10-15 days):
As your microgreens continue to grow, they will produce several leaves that are bigger and more mature in appearance. This is known as the mature leaf stage, where your microgreens are finally ready for harvesting. It’s best to harvest microgreens at this point, as their flavor and nutritional value are at their peak.
Harvesting (10-21 days):
After approximately 10-21 days, your microgreens should be ready for harvesting. It’s best to harvest them in the morning when they are most vibrant and flavorful. To harvest, simply snip off the stems just above soil level with scissors or a sharp knife.
It's important to note that the duration of each stage may vary based on several factors, including the specific microgreen variety, growing conditions, and environmental factors such as temperature and light. Some varieties may have a shorter growth cycle, while others may take a bit longer.
Factors Affecting Growth Time:
Several factors can influence the overall time it takes to grow microgreens. These include:
1. Variety Selection: Different microgreen varieties have varying growth rates. Some varieties, such as radish and arugula, tend to grow faster, while others, like sunflower and pea shoots, may require more time.
2. Growing Conditions: Providing adequate light, temperature, and humidity is crucial for optimal growth. Ideal growing conditions can accelerate the growth rate of microgreens, while suboptimal conditions may slow down the process.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Microgreens at Home
1. Seed Selection:
Start by choosing high-quality microgreen seeds. Opt for organic seeds whenever possible to ensure you're starting with the best foundation for your microgreens. Popular microgreen varieties include broccoli, radish, sunflower, and pea. Experiment with different varieties to discover your favorites.
2. Preparing the Growing Medium:
Microgreens can be grown without soil using alternatives such as coconut coir or paper towels. For soil-based growth, prepare a seed tray with drainage holes and fill it with a well-draining potting soil mix. Ensure the medium is moist but not waterlogged.
3. Seed Sowing:
Evenly sprinkle the microgreen seeds over the soil surface. Press them gently into the soil or lightly cover them with a thin layer of the medium. For hydroponic or paper towel methods, spread the seeds over the prepared surface.
4. Germination and Growth:
Place the seed tray in a warm and well-lit area, away from direct light. Maintain a humid environment by covering the tray with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap until the seeds germinate. Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the cover and move the tray to a location with indirect or artificial light.
5. Light and Watering:
Provide 6-8 hours of light daily, either through natural sunlight or a grow light. Avoid overwatering by ensuring the soil or growing medium remains moist but not saturated. Use a spray bottle or gentle watering to avoid disturbing the delicate seedlings.
6. Care and Maintenance:
As your microgreens grow, monitor their moisture levels and continue to provide adequate light. Ensure good air circulation to prevent mold or disease. Once they reach the cotyledon stage (the first pair of true leaves), they are ready for the next step.
When your microgreens have reached the desired stage of growth, usually 10-14 days after germination, it's time to harvest. Using clean scissors, cut the microgreens just above the soil level or the base of the stems. Rinse the harvested greens gently and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Growing microgreens at home is a fulfilling and straightforward process that allows you to enjoy fresh and nutritious greens year-round. With the right seeds, growing medium, and care, you can create the perfect environment for germination and growth. Harvesting your own microgreens not only ensures a cleaner and more sustainable source of nutritious greens but also adds a vibrant touch to your culinary creations.
Easy-to-grow microgreen varieties
Easy-to-grow varieties of microgreens offer a delightful and convenient way to incorporate fresh and nutrient-rich greens into your diet. Whether you have limited space or are new to gardening, these microgreens are perfect for home cultivation. Let's explore some of the popular and easy-to-grow microgreen varieties that will add a burst of flavor and nutrition to your dishes.
- Radish Microgreens: Radish microgreens are known for their intense flavors and peppery taste. They are quick to grow, often ready for harvest within 7-14 days. These vibrant greens add a spicy flavor to salads, sandwiches, and stir-fries.
- Pea Microgreens: Pea microgreens offer a fresh and sweet flavor reminiscent of freshly picked peas. They are easy to grow and are typically ready for harvest in about 10-14 days. These delicate baby greens make a delightful addition to salads, wraps, and smoothies.
- Cabbage Microgreens: Cabbage microgreens are known for their mild and slightly sweet flavor. They grow rapidly and can be harvested within 7-14 days. These versatile greens can be used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish for various dishes.
- Sunflower Microgreens: Sunflower microgreens are prized for their nutty flavor and crunchy texture. They are straightforward to grow and are ready for harvest in approximately 7-14 days. These greens make a delicious addition to salads, wraps, and sandwiches.
- Broccoli Microgreens: Broccoli microgreens are packed with nutrients and offer a mild and fresh flavor. They typically reach maturity in about 10-14 days and can be enjoyed in salads, stir-fries, or as a topping for soups and pizzas.
- Beet Microgreens: Beet microgreens are vibrant and offer a mild, earthy flavor reminiscent of beets. They are easy to grow and are typically ready for harvest within 10-14 days. These colorful greens can add a pop of color and flavor to salads, sandwiches, and smoothies.
- Basil Microgreens: Basil microgreens carry the classic aroma and flavor of basil leaves. They are relatively easy to grow and are typically ready for harvest in around 10-14 days. These aromatic greens are perfect for enhancing the taste of pasta dishes, pizzas, and sauces.
With these easy-to-grow microgreen varieties, you can enjoy a variety of flavors and textures in your dishes while reaping the nutritional benefits of these young and vibrant greens. Experiment with different combinations and explore the world of microgreens right in your own home. Homegrown microgreens not only provide a fresh and nutritious addition to your meals but also offer the satisfaction of growing your own batch of microgreens, allowing you to experience the joy of gardening indoors. So, get your shallow containers and high-quality seeds and start cultivating your favorite microgreens today!
Dr. Vandana K.