Welcome to our series on Microgreens!
It may be a bit over the top but I can't resist calling it:
"Microgreens with Marilee!"
(I just had to do it)
Over at Seattle Seed we are celebrating the arrival of microgreen seeds! These vitamin-packed adolescent versions of popular plants are tasty and fun and tiny and cute. I'm also told they are very easy to grow indoors year-round and that's where this little "Microgreens with Marilee" blog series comes in.
My goal here is to take all the mystery and intimidation out of growing microgreens. Sort of an "if I can do it, you can do it" kind of thing.
And trust me, I'm a fool-proof test case for how easy these guys are to grow. I've come a long way but I am not a natural green thumb by any means. I'm generally poor with pesky details like precise measurements and accurate depths. And I can be a bit forgetful about essential things like watering. In addition, my microgreens will be grown in a house with two rambunctious kids, a big hairy dog and an un-observant husband; rest assured that my little plants will be exposed to a wide variety of potential microgreen household disasters.
So let's do this: join me as I see just how easy it is to grow microgreens: it's time for Microgreens with Marilee!
I decided to start with Broccoli Raab because I am intrigued by the flavor description ("mild peppery...with hints of cabbage and radish") and because the cuteness of this picture cannot be overstated.
I mean - really - how adorable are those little broccoli raab microgreens?
1st Step: Choose your tray. I'm sure there are special trays you can buy that are exactly the right size and shape to grow microgreens easily on your windowsill. And if we find a particularly great one we may even sell them here one day! For now, you can use pretty much anything you want. I went with the bottom of a plastic container that previously held a dozen muffins. I've heard aluminum pie tins work really nicely as well as takeout containers. The whole idea is for tray to be shallow (for ease of harvesting) and not too heavy or wide (so it fits on your windowsill).
One website I found advised drainage holes in the bottom but that seemed like a lot of work and the other sites I read didn't call for it so my broccoli raab will be growing in a drainless pan. A bit risky? Well, that's how I roll. I'll let you know how it turns out.
2nd Step: Fill it with soil. Since I work at this amazing seed store in Madrona that sells gorgeous little potted succulents, I have easy access to high quality growing soil. As with any plant, your microgreen seeds would probably prefer a nicely balanced soil that is rich in nutrients. However, considering that these guys are only going to be in this soil for two weeks maximum, they'll probably be just fine in whatever kind of dirt you happen to have lying around your yard. Just make sure your dog hasn't visited that patch recently!
You need approximately 2" of dirt, lightly packed down.
Here's my happy little plastic container all full of dirt, just waiting for those seeds...
3rd Step: Scatter the seeds. Nothing fancy here. Just scatter those seeds all over. Don't worry about spacing. They are only going to grow two inches high and can be totally crammed together. I figured, "the closer the better" and "more seeds = more plants" so my layer of seeds was generous and thick.
Fourth Step: More Dirt. Just a thin layer, and it might not even be necessary. One website said to use a sieve and sprinkle no more than 1/8" on top. WAY too many tools and precise measurements for me. I just sprinkled what looked like "a thin layer" over the top. I noticed a few spots where the seeds were showing through. So I sprinkled a bit more there. Then I packed it down a bit.
The packing down was another opportunity for some crazy Marilee risk-taking. None of the websites I read said to pack the soil down after the top layer. But I just wanted to. So I did. I'll let you know how all these risks turn out.
5th Step: Water. I used a spray bottle so as not to disturb my very thin layer of soil. I'm sure any method of gentling getting the soil moist would work.
Last Step: Cover with plastic and stick in the sun.
I'm really not sure if a ziplock bag is the way you're supposed to go here. But I didn't have any plastic wrap or a fitted plastic cover like the websites suggested so I used what I had. I expect this step is meant to amplify the heat a bit and hold in moisture so the ziplock bag is probably better than nothing. Maybe start with plastic wrap, though, if you have it.
So my broccoli raab microgreens are happily soaking up their warm sun and their cool water right now. I'll be sure to update you as soon as they sprout and when I start my next round of seeds. Thanks for reading!
Oh! Don't forget to water! Holy cow, I seriously almost forgot to tell you to water. See, I really am a fool-proof test. So! Keep them moist (a good dousing once a day) and they'll be happy.
Now, just to make sure I set a good example, I'm going to give my little raabs another drink right now.
Buy your broccoli raab microgreen seeds (and our other 3 varieties) HERE!
For More Info:
- Here's a great website for more detailed information on growing microgreens.
- I also really like this one for some good information on microgreens and how they're different from sprouts.
UDPATE 7/17/15: They are already sprouted, just a couple days!
UDPATE 7/23/15: Radish greens and new starter kit!
We've been loving the success of our microgreens since just last week and now we have a great, affordable starter kit available so you can try all four greens at home. Just add water!
Here's a picture of our radish greens after just a few days! And they taste amazing.