Everyone can grow microgreens. In fact, most people will have already… a punnet of cress on the windowsill for a school project almost certainly counts!
Microgreens are a great way into homegrown flavour if you have limited space, time or experience. Even if these things aren’t an issue, microgreens are so easy to grow and packed with nutrients, everyone should have a tray of them on the windowsill. They can be added to salads, wraps and sandwiches, used to make pesto, or scattered over soup or a freshly baked pizza.
Start now and you could be harvesting seriously tasty greens in just a couple of weeks.
What you need
Shallow container with drainage holes in the bottom
Peat-free multipurpose compost
Tray to stand container on (to catch any water that drains out)
Seeds – rocket, kale, basil, dill, coriander, radish…
A spray bottle
Piece of cardboard slightly larger than your container
How to grow
Fill your shallow container with compost to a depth of about 2cm and firm down very gently – more to level the surface than anything else. Stand the container on a tray which will protect your windowsill from water spills. Sow the seeds evenly over the surface of the compost. You want to sow them quite thickly, a lot thicker than you would if you were going to grow the plants to full size but not so close that they are touching. It can be tempting to sow a mix of seeds in one tray, but it’s best to stick to one thing at a time because different growth rates will make harvesting difficult.
Give the seeds a light watering using the spray bottle, then cover the top of the container with cardboard, or anything that will keep light out. Check each day for signs of germination, it should be about 3 or 4 days before you see roots appearing. Once the plants are growing, remove the cardboard and move the tray onto a light windowsill. Keep your microgreens watered as they grow, but don’t overdo it.
Microgreens are usually harvested when the first true leaves appear. Use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to snip the seedlings. If you’re careful you should be able to harvest them cleanly, avoiding taking any compost with them. Growing your own microgreens means you can use them at their freshest and most flavourful, immediately after harvest. But if needed, they will keep in the fridge for a few days.
The growing container can be emptied, washed and reused, while the roots can go on the compost heap for minimal waste.