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 increasingly available for everyone to buy…for 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 windowsill crop. Here’s how:
Step 1: Buy seeds. Try a mix for a variety of colors and flavors (look for mixed seed packets). Territorial Seed Company (territorialseed.com) sells a “Micro Greens Mix” and sproutpeople.org carries “Micro-Greens Sampler” kits with instructions.
Step 2: 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. Moisten lightly with water.
Step 3: Sprinkle seeds evenly over the soil so they are close but not touching, piled or layered. Sift a thin additional layer of soil over the top just to cover the seeds. Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the soil.
Step 4: Give your budding plants light and water. Place trays in southern- or western-facing windows in rooms that are 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: Once the seeds have germinated (i.e., poked up through the soil), which should take 3 to 5 days, 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.) Keep the soil moist at the roots, but try not to saturate the leaves.
Step 6: When seedlings have reached 1 to 2 inches in height and have about two sets of leaves, snip and eat!