Growing Your Indoor Garden – Do you live where it’s cold and snowy – and can’t grow outside in the winter? Or, do you live in a warm winter climate (like I do here in So Cal) – can grow outdoors – but want the convenience of growing tasty greens inside on your windowsill? If you love to grow your own food, I know you have that gardening itch that needs to be scratched no matter what the weather! That’s what “Growing Your Indoor Garden” video series and blog posts are all about. This series makes it simple for you to grow food indoors year round. Together, we’ll plant easy-to-grow, quick-to-harvest crops that take up little space – microgreens, sprouts, salad greens, and herbs. Here’s how it works: I’ll give step-by-step instructions in my blog posts. There will also be a how-to video at the end of each blog post. No matter what format you prefer, I’ve got you covered! Now, let’s get to growing!
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are “mini” greens that can be grown from easy-to germinate seeds, and harvested when just a few inches tall. They are power packed with flavor and nutrients. In fact, a tiny micgrogreen has as much nutrition and flavor as the full sized plant, turning salads, soups, and sandwiches into a tasty power lunch. Microgreens are popular at trendy restaurants and upscale grocery stores, but can cost up to $60 for a very small amount. For mere pennies, you can grow them yourself on a kitchen windowsill.
How to Grow Microgreens
Step one – Choosing Your Seeds Microgreens can be grown from just about any seed that germinates quickly. Some popular varieties are radishes, broccoli, beets, lettuce, argula, and kale. You might already have some of these seeds in your seed collection. I love MIgardener’s Microgreens and Sprouting Seed Kit – premium seeds with an excellent germination rate. MIgardener offers 10% off seeds through this link, migardener.com/calikim29.
(When you purchase seeds through this link, it helps me out – and keeps the garden how-to’s coming!)
Step 2 – Choosing a Container Microgreens will grow in just about any container – adding fun to indoor growing! I like to use pyrex bread pans, spice jars, wine boxes, coffee cups, old produce containers, or aluminum foil pans. Just about anything you have around the house can be re-used as a growing container – so don’t be afraid to get creative!
Since microgreens have shallow roots, your container only needs to be a few inches deep and doesn’t have to have drainage holes, (although drainage does help – more this later in the post).
Step 3 – Soil Prep Pre-moisten your potting soil before planting the seeds. This helps the seeds germinate quickly. Use a good potting soil, add water until it is the consistency of crumbly brownie mix. A few drops of water should come out when you squeeze a \ handful of soil together. If a steady stream of water comes out, it’s too wet – mix in more dry potting soil.
Step 4 – Plant Seeds
Now for the fun part – planting! Add potting soil to your container and seed generously to maximize the space in your container. For us gardeners who are used to evenly spacing out our seeds, this takes getting used to. Since the plants aren’t growing to full size, no need to worry about planting seeds close together Even more challenging for many of us gardeners: when using small seeds such as radishes, broccoli, or lettuce, don’t cover the seeds with soil. This leads to uneven germination instead of a nice, thick blanket of microgreens. With seeds that have a hard outer shell, such as beets and wheatgrass, cover lightly with soil for quicker germination.
Step 5 – Water and Cover
Water very lightly, (with a spray bottle or a small pump sprayer) and cover with a dish towel to keep the heat in. Set aside out of direct light. Check daily (twice daily in a warm location), and give a light mist of water if the surface looks dry. As soon as the first signs of growth appear (3-4 days) remove cover and place in a windowsill or in a grow light box (6-8 hours/day). Microgreens will grow in indirect light, but growth will be quicker on a sunny windowsill or under grow lights.
Step 6: Harvesting and Storage
Your tasty crop of microgreens will be about three inches tall and ready to harvest in just a few weeks. Harvesting couldn’t be easier – just grab a handful and cut. Bingo! You now have nutrient dense food with at your finger tips ready to add a tasty zip to a salad! I like to harvest small amounts and eat them fresh, but they store well for 3-5 days in a canning jar in the fridge. Plant a small container of microgreens every week so you always have some to eat!
Where You Might Get Stuck
Once established, microgreens take very little care, but it’s good to be aware of potential bumps in the road on your growing journey.
#1 Watering – Microgreens have shallow roots, and need to be checked for water daily (sometimes twice daily, depending on how warm your growing location is).
Containers with drainage: Once the tiny microgreens are an inch high, watering from above with a spray bottle can damage their delicate stems. Place containers with drainage in kitchen sink or a larger tray that has a few inches of water in it. The plants will take up the water they need from the bottom. When the soil looks moist, take them out of the the larger tray and place back in the windowsill or under grow lights.
Containers without drainage: If your container does not have drainage, water carefully at the soil level around the edges of the container. Very gently push aside the microgreens and water in sections between the tiny stems, taking care not to damage them during the watering process. Careful watering allows you the flexibility to grow in some fun and cute containers that don’t have drainage!
#2 Slow Germination/Growth – Microgreens germinate and grow best between 65-75 degrees F with 4-8 hours of light a day. If your microgreens are growing slowly, put them in a warmer location and give them more light. A simple grow light set up or in an indoor grow light box will boost their growth.
Once you start growing microgreens, the sky is the limit. Experiment! Mix different seeds together to find flavors that your family enjoys. You’ll love it! When you have that gardening itch that needs to be scratched, growing tasty, green, colorful microgreens right on your windowsill that is will bring satisfaction to your gardening heart!
Watch my YouTube video below to see more about growing microgreens:
Comment below, let me know if are growing microgreens indoors with me!