Since they started showing up in menus in San Francisco back in the 1980s, microgreens have become more popular among health buffs. In fact, during the 1980s and 90s, the only well-known microgreens were cilantro, beets, kales, basils, and arugula. Now, microgreens are grown from any herb seed or veggie.
As the name “microgreens” suggest, they are the miniature version of some of the crops we already love, like radish and lettuce. These vegetable greens are normally harvested just after the cotyledons develop a leaf or two.
If you’re new to the world of microgreens and you’re looking to plant some greens at home, we suggest you start with these 11 best microgreens to grow in your small space or backyard.
Why Grow Microgreens?
You may have seen these miniature greens on delicious plates served in upscale restaurants and wondered how they are grown. Well, microgreens may look fancy, but in reality, they are quite easy to grow.
The best microgreens can take just less than 12 days to harvest. So, you can enjoy nutritious veggies without having to wait months for them to mature. Imagine growing these greens and every day, you can pinch a few stalks or leaves for your delicious salad of the day.
Another good reason why you should grow microgreens is that they are more nutritious than their mature counterparts. A study conducted by USDA researchers confirmed that microgreens are five times more nutritious than mature plants.
So basically, microgreens are easy to grow, and they’re more nutritious, making them a perfect solution for keeping your family healthy.
Wondering which ones you can grow easily? You can start with these microgreens…
The Best Microgreens to Grow
As a natural detoxifying product, alfalfa is one of the best microgreens to grow in your backyard. Alfalfa has been used to improve people’s health for centuries. In fact, the term “alfalfa” is an Arabic word that means “father of foods.”
In China, Alfalfa was used to relieve ulcers and stimulate appetite. That is because it’s rich in minerals, vitamins, and many other nutrients that promote good health. It also contains zinc, iron, potassium, calcium, and carotene.
Alfalfa is one of the few plants that do well when grown in a hydroponic system. Before planting them, make sure you don’t soak them in water. Next, pour an ounce of alfalfa sprout seeds into a 20″ by 10″ tray and cover them for about 5 days.
After they have germinated, you can uncover them and wait for about 8 to 12 days before harvesting them. When ready, it will have a mild flavor and are crunchy with huge deep-green leaves.
If you love adding color to your salad, then beets are a great choice. But you can also use beet microgreens, which are more nutritious than mature beets. They have an earthy flavor, just like a fully grown beet.
Beet microgreen is rich in vitamins K and A and antioxidants. Some of its benefits include improving the health of the skin, boosting digestion, and reducing inflammation.
You should know though that beets take a bit longer to grow, between 10 to 12 days between sowing and harvesting.
To grow them, first, soak the beet seeds in cold water for about 12 hours, and then place in the soil.
The seeds will start germinating within three to four days. When ready, they will have a vivid red color that will improve your salad. Beet microgreens have the same earthy flavor as the fully-grown ones.
Buckwheat is a gluten-free, nutritious, and colorful microgreen that has been consumed in Asia for centuries. Despite its unique name, this microgreen does not belong to the same family as wheat. Instead, it is closely related to sorrel and rhubarb.
This microgreen has high fiber levels; therefore, it can help slow down glucose absorption, making it a perfect meal for diabetics. It’s also rich in essential amino acids, zinc, copper, magnesium, and manganese.
Buckwheat has huge seeds, so they must be soaked for about 24 hours and rinsed before being planted in soil. You will need about 12 ounces of buckwheat seeds for every 10″ by 20″ tray you plan on using.
After planting them, you will have to wait for between six to 12 days to enjoy this delicious microgreen. When ready there leaves may be yellowish, but when they get enough sunlight, they turn green.
Collards are highly nutritious microgreens belonging to the Brassica family. Collards are high-yielding crops rich in both insoluble and soluble dietary fibers that can help control cholesterol levels.
Collards are also rich in phytonutrients, calcium, vitamins, magnesium, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They are dark green and have a cabbage-like flavor.
Like most microgreens, collards also do well when grown hydroponically, but you don’t have to soak the seeds. Use an ounce of seeds for every 10″ by 20″ tray. Unlike alfalfa and kale, collard microgreens take about 12 days to mature.
Clovers are highly nutritious microgreens that come packed with zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. These versatile microgreens have green leaves with a fresh, mildly sweet, and nutty flavor. In fact, many chefs use clover microgreen to add fresh, crisp crunch to salads and sandwiches.
Just like collards, clovers also prefer being grown hydroponically. You need an ounce of seeds for every 10″ by 20″ tray.
Don’t soak the seeds. Instead, leave them under a blackout dome for about 5 days. The seeds will start germinating after 2 days, and they will be ready for harvest after 8 to 12 days.
Consuming kale microgreens is the best way to enjoy the health benefits of fully-grown kales. Kale microgreens taste like leaf lettuce and mild romaine. These microgreens are rich in zeaxanthin and lutein which help protect your skin and eyes. Zeaxanthin is known to help lower the chances of getting macular degeneration.
Kale microgreens prefer growing in a hydroponic system. You have to grow the kale seeds without soaking them in a 10″ by 20″ tray and cover them for three to five days. The seeds will start germinating after 2 days, and they will be ready for harvesting in 12 days.
Pea microgreens contain seven times more vitamin C than blueberries and eight times more folic acid than bean sprouts. They taste like fully grown peas and have more than enough vitamins to help improve your cardiovascular health.
Pea microgreens prefer to be grown in soil, but before planting them, make sure you soak the pea sprouting seeds for about 24 hours. Next, place them in a bowl and leave them there until they start sprouting, but make sure you mist them a couple of times per day.
Once they sprout, you can transfer them to the soil and block the lights for two days, but make sure the soil is damp. The pea shoots will be ready for harvesting within eight to 12 days.
Radish microgreens have 40 times more crucial nutrients than mature radish. They also have high levels of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Radish microgreens are crisp and tender; plus, they have a unique spicy flavor. They are also perfect for adding color and heat to salads.
Unlike most microgreens, radish germinates and grows quickly in cool and warm conditions. In most cases, radish microgreens are normally ready for harvesting within 5 days.
Remember, radish microgreen must be harvested at the cotyledon stage. If left for too long, they become woody. So make sure you harvest them as soon as the first true leaves appear.
9. Swiss Chard
Even though kale is considered to be the king of green veggies, Swiss chard microgreen can be equally impressive. Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin E, sodium, zinc, copper, calcium, and magnesium. It has low-calorie levels and is highly nutritious, which makes it perfect for a weight-loss diet.
Swiss chard microgreens thrive when grown using soil, but before sowing the seeds, you must presoak them for 24 hours. The seeds will start germinating after two days and will be ready for harvesting after 12 days.
Arugula has a unique peppery flavor that goes well with sandwiches and salads, among other dishes. They are rich in beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E, K, and A. Arugula microgreen has 5 times more vitamins K, C, and A, 8 times the calcium, and 4 times iron than lettuce. And the good thing about arugula microgreens is that they can be ready for harvesting within five to seven days.
Broccoli microgreens are considered to be more nutritious than their mature counterparts. And despite their small size, broccoli microgreens are rich in aromatic flavors and nutrients.
Broccoli microgreens can be consumed the same way you would a mature one, but they are less bitter. In fact, they are the best veggies for adding crunchy flavor and visual appeal to any dish.
The good thing about this plant is that they take care of themselves after being planted. Plus, you don’t have to soak the seeds. Broccoli microgreen seeds prefer soil as the planting medium, so make sure you place them in darkness for three days for them to germinate.
Broccoli microgreens are usually ready for harvesting after 10 to 14 days.
Despite their size, the best microgreens to grow have more nutrients than their grown counterparts. That is because, at the cotyledon stage, they need huge amounts of nutrients to grow. So this is the best time to enjoy their nutritional benefits.
Aside from adding crunch and flavor to your meal, these microgreens are pretty easy to grow, so why not start growing them at home?