Step-by-step instructions to grow your own windowsill microgreens indoors.

Melissa Pasanen
Updated April 17, 2020
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Microgreens, the first shoots of plants like collard greens, beet greens and mustard greens, are prized by chefs for their beauty and concentrated fresh flavor. They're great for salads, sandwiches or sprinkling them on avocado toast for a little extra nutrition. They are available at the grocery store for everyone to buy…at a price–some fetch up to $50 a pound! But for less than $10 you can buy the seeds and soil to cultivate your own sunny windowsill crop. They're very easy to grow and if you're ambitious about working them into your salad greens, you can plan it so you have a constant supply to harvest each week. Just follow these steps, and you'll be one step closer to growing your own food.

Step 1: Buy seeds.

Try a mix for a variety of colors and flavors (look for mixed seed packets). You can find seeds packets of microgreen mixes and microgreen growing kits with instructions online or at a nursery, but if they're sold out, you'll probably be able to find seed mixes at a hardware store or big box store with a garden center.

Step 2: Fill a shallow tray with soil.

Get a shallow seeding tray (not more than 2 inches deep) or shallow pot with a drainage hole and fill to the top with light potting mix, such as one recommended for seed starting. The soil level should be 1-2 inches.

Quick tip: You can find microgreen trays at nurseries, but you can also repurpose items you have on hand: a shallow pie pan or pan, egg carton, old plastic containers, take out containers, etc. Just make sure you can drill drainage holes into them.

Step 3: Plant seeds.

When your tray is ready, moisten the potting soil using a spray bottle. Then sprinkle seeds evenly over the soil so they are close but not touching, piled or layered. To top the seeds, sift a thin layer of soil over the top to cover the seeds. Mist the surface of the soil again.

Step 4: Give your budding plants light and water.

Place trays in a west- or south-facing window and make sure the room temperature is between 60° and 70°F. Avoid drafty spots. Keep the soil moist with a daily misting, ideally in the morning. Don't let the soil dry out.

Step 5: Add light & water.

After 3-5 days, the seeds should be poking through the soil. At this point, make sure your emerging microgreens get 12 to 14 hours of light per day. At darker times of year and in certain regions, you might need to invest in a grow light, but this shouldn't be difficult during the summer in the United States.

Make sure to keep the soil moist at the roots, but try not to saturate the leaves.

Step 6: Harvest.

When seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall and have about two sets of leaves, snip and prep. Make sure to rinse them and pat them dry with paper towels or toss them in the salad spinner to dry them out and they're ready to eat. Sprinkle microgreens on your breakfast toast, toss them in a salad, or even use them to garnish soup.

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