What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are small, edible seedlings that are harvested between one and three weeks after planting. They are typically grown from varieties of vegetables and herbs, such as kale, radish, arugula, basil, cilantro and beet. Microgreens are prized for their intense flavor and nutrition. These tiny greens provide a concentrated source of vitamins C, E and K as well as car otenoids, which have powerful antioxidant properties.
Benefits of Growing Microgreens Indoors
Growing microgreens indoors has become increasingly popular over the last few years. The benefits of growing microgreens indoors are plentiful, from saving space and money to having a continuous supply of fresh, nutritious greens available year-round. Not only do microgreens provide all the nutritional benefits of their full-grown counterparts, but they can be harvested in as little as two weeks or less. In addition, microgreens are extremely easy to grow and require minimal space and care.
Choosing the Right Containers
When it comes to indoor gardening, choosing the right containers is essential. Microgreens are small and require shallow soil, so selecting a container that is wide enough to accommodate their growth is important. You’ll also want to consider the type of soil you’ll use and if there will be adequate drainage.
Plastic or ceramic pots and recycled containers are both good choices for growing microgreens, as are trays with drainage holes. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s clean and free of any bacteria or mold.
Soil Selection for Microgreens
When it comes to growing microgreens indoors, soil selection is an important factor in ensuring the success of your garden. Microgreens are typically started in a potting mix that consists of soil, compost, and other organic elements. It's important to choose soil that will provide your microgreens with the right balance of nutrients for healthy growth.
The best type of soil for growing microgreens indoors is a mix of compost, vermiculite, and perlite. This combination helps retain moisture and provides plenty of air pockets for roots to spread out and absorb nutrients.
Preparing the Soil and Microgreen Seeds
Preparing the soil for indoor microgreens gardening is an important step in ensuring a successful harvest. Depending on which microgreen variety you choose, the soil requirements might differ slightly. However, there are some basics that most microgreens need in order to thrive.
For starters, it is important to use a sterile potting mix specifically designed for microgreen seed starting. This will help ensure that your microgreens are not exposed to any harmful bacteria or mold.
When planting the microgreen seeds, it is important to follow the package instructions for depth and spacing. It is always recommended to buy untreated seeds. You should also make sure that the soil is consistently moist but not soggy.
Watering Requirements for Growing Microgreens
Watering is one of the most important aspects of growing microgreens indoors. Proper watering techniques ensure your plants have enough moisture to grow and thrive. Watering too much or too little can both lead to poor results, so it’s important to understand the optimal level for each type of microgreen you are growing.
For most microgreens, light and frequent watering is best. This means lightly water your microgreens once or twice a day, using a spray bottle depending on the type of microgreen and the climate you live in. You should also avoid letting the soil dry out completely between waterings.
Light Requirements for Growing Microgreens
When growing microgreens indoors, light requirements are an important factor to consider. Most microgreens need at least four to six hours of direct sunlight or equivalent artificial light to grow properly. So it is good to grow them in a sunny spot. If you don’t have access to natural light, you can use LED lights that will emit the proper spectrum of light and provide a good environment for your microgreens.
If you are using artificial light, it is important to make sure the lights are close enough to the plants so that they receive an adequate amount of light.
Temperature Requirements for Growing Microgreens Indoors
Growing microgreens indoors is a convenient way to enjoy fresh, healthy greens year-round. Microgreens are made up of young vegetable and herb plants that are harvested at an early stage of growth, just after the first set of true leaves have emerged from the seedling. While there are many types of microgreens that can be grown indoors, some may require specific temperature requirements for optimal growth.
Most microgreens require temperatures between 65°F and 75°F to thrive, so you may need to adjust the temperature in your indoor garden if necessary. Additionally, some microgreens will benefit from cooler nighttime temperatures, so it may be helpful to keep your indoor garden slightly cooler at night as well.
Harvesting microgreens is a simple process that can be done indoors with a few basic tools. The best way to harvest microgreens, regardless of the variety, is to cut the tender shoots at their base using sharp scissors or a knife when they are 2-3 inches tall. You should cut close to the soil line, leaving as little stem as possible behind so that you don't damage the roots of other plants. When harvesting microgreens, make sure to collect the entire plant including any roots.
Best microgreens to grow indoors:
Pea Shoots: Pea shoots are tender and sweet, offering a delicate flavor reminiscent of fresh peas. They are easy to grow and mature quickly, making them an excellent choice for indoor gardening. Pea shoots are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and fiber, providing a nutritional boost to your meals.
Sunflower: Sunflower microgreens are known for their nutty taste and crunchy texture. They are packed with essential nutrients, including vitamin E, which acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. These vibrant greens are a delightful addition to salads, sandwiches, and wraps, adding both flavor and visual appeal.
Radish: Radish microgreens are renowned for their peppery flavor. They are quick to grow and add a zing to your dishes. Radish microgreens are rich in vitamin C and various minerals, making them a nutritious choice for indoor gardening enthusiasts.
Broccoli: Broccoli microgreens offer a mild, slightly bitter taste similar to mature broccoli. They are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as sulforaphane, a compound known for its potential health benefits. Growing broccoli microgreens indoors allows you to enjoy their nutritional benefits at an early stage.
Cilantro: Cilantro microgreen provide an intense burst of spicy flavor, with hint of citrus and freshness. They are commonly used in Mexican, Indian, and Southeast Asian cuisines. Growing cilantro microgreens indoors allows you to have a steady supply of this flavorful herb at your fingertips, ready to elevate your dishes with its distinct taste.
Basil: Basil microgreens offer an aromatic and intense basil flavor. Growing basil indoors ensures a readily available supply of this versatile herb for adding to salads, pasta dishes, sauces, and more. The vibrant green leaves and enticing aroma make basil microgreens a popular choice for indoor gardeners.
Cabbage microgreens: Cabbage microgreens are a great choice for indoor gardening as they are very easy to grow and require minimal effort compared to regular-sized cabbage. They are packed with nutrition, containing high levels of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and magnesium. In addition, they provide a crisp texture that can be used in salads or as a garnish.
Arugula microgreens: Arugula microgreens are one of the best options when it comes to indoor gardening. Arugula is a type of vegetable that is known for its earthy flavor and nutrient levels.
Arugula microgreens offer many of the same benefits as fully grown arugula plants, but they can be grown in much less space, making them a great choice for indoor gardeners.
In conclusion, incorporating microgreens into your indoor garden adds a delightful pop of flavor to your culinary creations while providing a treasure trove of phytonutrient health benefits. From the vibrant pea shoots to the zesty radish and aromatic basil, these tiny greens offer a wealth of taste and nutrition. As some of the healthiest microgreens available, they pack a powerful punch in a small package, offering a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Growing your own fresh microgreens allows you to enjoy the entire plant, from root to leaf, maximizing the nutritional value of your harvest. So, embrace the joy of cultivating and savoring these nutritious gems in your indoor garden, and elevate your meals with the vibrant flavors and nourishing benefits of microgreens.
Dr. Vandana K.