If you’re looking for a way to add some fresh, healthy greens to your diet, microgreens are the perfect solution. These tiny plants are packed with nutrients and flavor, and they’re incredibly easy to grow. In this post, we’ll introduce you to the 12 fastest growing microgreens that you need to try. From broccoli to sunflower, these microgreens are ready to harvest in as little as 5 days. So whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a newbie, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh, homegrown microgreens in no time.
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What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are harvested just after the cotyledon leaves have developed with one set of true leaves . They are not to be confused with sprouts or shoots, which are germinated seeds and are typically consumed as an entire plant (root, seed, and shoot), depending on the species. Microgreens are tiny plants that make food look, taste, and feel better. They’re even smaller than baby greens because they’re picked shortly after sprouting before the plant gets big. People use them to decorate salads, soups, sandwiches, and plates. Some recipes sprinkle them on top for a finishing touch, while others make them a key part of the dish. They’re like nature’s colorful and flavorful decoration for your meals! Some recipes use them as a garnish while others use them as a main ingredient.
Microgreens are produced from various kinds of vegetables, herbs, or other plants. Microgreens are tiny plants, about 1 to 3 inches in size, including the stem and leaves. When they’re ready to be harvested, the stem is cut just above the soil line. These little greens have fully grown cotyledon leaves and typically one pair of small, not fully developed true leaves.
Nutritional Benefits of Microgreens
Microgreens are packed with nutrients and are considered baby plants, falling somewhere between a sprout and baby green. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds that are linked to a lower risk of many diseases.
Microgreens are like tiny nutritional powerhouses! Research shows they pack more nutrients than regular-sized veggies. They’re not heavy on calories but rich in good stuff like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Inside these little greens, you’ll find important things like lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and sulforaphane. What do these do? Well, they help keep your immune system strong and work against chronic diseases. So, including microgreens in your meals can give your health a nice boost. They are also rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper .
The 12 Fastest Growing Microgreens
Microgreens are young vegetable greens that are harvested when they are only a few inches tall. They have a variety of flavors, colors, and textures, and they are packed with nutrients. In this blog post, we will introduce you to the 12 fastest growing microgreens that you can grow at home in less than two weeks. These microgreens are:
- Arugula: Arugula microgreens have a peppery and nutty flavor that adds a kick to salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, which support your immune system, blood clotting, and DNA synthesis.
- Broccoli: Broccoli microgreens have a mild and crisp flavor that resembles the taste of mature broccoli. They are loaded with sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant that may protect against cancer, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
- Cabbage: Cabbage microgreens have a slightly bitter and earthy flavor that goes well with creamy dressings, soups, and stir-fries. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and glucosinolates, which are compounds that may help detoxify your body and prevent cancer.
- Corn: Corn microgreens have a sweet and crunchy flavor that resembles fresh corn kernels. They are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and zeaxanthin, which are important for your eye health and vision.
- Cress: Cress microgreens have a spicy and tangy flavor that can spice up any dish. They are also known as watercress or garden cress, and they are one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron, which are essential for your immune system, bone health, and red blood cell production.
- Kale: Kale microgreens have a mild and sweet flavor that resembles the taste of baby kale. They are one of the most nutritious microgreens, as they contain high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and antioxidants.
- Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi microgreens have a mild and sweet flavor that is similar to cabbage or turnip. They are also known as German turnip, and they are a member of the brassica family. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium, which are important for your immune system, metabolism, and blood pressure.
- Mustard: Mustard microgreens have a spicy and pungent flavor that can add some heat to your dishes. They are also known as mustard greens, and they are related to cabbage and broccoli. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and phytochemicals, which may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects.
- Pea: Pea microgreens have a sweet and crunchy flavor that resembles the taste of fresh peas. They are also known as pea shoots, and they are one of the most popular microgreens. They are high in protein, fiber, and vitamin C, which are important for your muscle growth, digestion, and immune system.
- Radish: Radish microgreens have a spicy and peppery flavor that can add some zest to your salads, sandwiches, and wraps. They are also known as radish sprouts, and they are one of the fastest growing microgreens. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that may protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Sunflower: Sunflower microgreens have a mild and nutty flavor that can complement any dish. They are also known as sunflower shoots, and they are one of the most versatile microgreens. They are high in protein, vitamin E, and magnesium, which are important for your muscle function, skin health, and nerve function.
- Wheatgrass: Wheatgrass microgreens have a grassy and bitter flavor that can be juiced or blended into smoothies. They are also known as wheat sprouts, and they are one of the most popular microgreens. They are high in chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron, which are important for your blood health, oxygen transport, and energy production.
Best Growing Conditions for Fast Growing Microgreens
Microgreens can be grown indoors or outdoors, as long as they get enough light, water, and air circulation. The best growing conditions for fast growing microgreens are:
- Light: Microgreens need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, or 12 hours of artificial light. You can use a sunny windowsill, a balcony, a greenhouse, or a grow light to provide adequate light for your microgreens. Avoid placing your microgreens in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day, as this can scorch the leaves and reduce the quality of your harvest.
- Water: Microgreens need to be watered regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. You can use a spray bottle, a watering can, or a drip irrigation system to water your microgreens. Avoid overwatering or underwatering your microgreens, as this can cause mold, rot, or wilting. Water your microgreens from the bottom, by placing the tray or container in a shallow dish of water for a few minutes, or from the top, by misting the soil and the leaves gently. Do not wet the leaves too much, as this can increase the risk of disease.
- Air circulation: Microgreens need good air circulation to prevent mold and disease. You can use a fan, a vent, or an open window to provide fresh air for your microgreens. Avoid placing your microgreens in a closed or crowded space, as this can reduce the air flow and increase the humidity. You can also thin out your microgreens by removing some of the seedlings to create more space between them.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Growing Fastest Growing Microgreens
The fastest growing microgreens are those that belong to the brassica family, such as broccoli, kale, radish, mustard, and arugula. These microgreens can be ready to harvest in 5 to 10 days, depending on the variety and the growing conditions. Here are the steps to grow fast growing microgreens:
- Step 1: Choose Your Fastest Growing Microgreens Varieties
Arugula, Broccoli, Cabbage, Corn, Cress, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Pea, Radish, Sunflower, Wheatgrass. You can buy microgreen seeds online or at a local garden center. You can also use regular vegetable seeds, as long as they are untreated and organic. You can mix different types of seeds to create your own microgreen blend, or grow them separately for different flavors and colors.
- Step 2: Prepare your tray or container. You can use any shallow tray or container that has drainage holes at the bottom. You can also use a seedling tray, a plastic clamshell, or a recycled takeout container. You can line the tray or container with a paper towel, a coffee filter, or a piece of fabric to prevent the soil from falling through the holes. You can also use a growing medium that does not require soil, such as coconut coir, peat moss, or vermiculite.
- Step 3: Fill your tray or container with soil or growing medium. You can use any potting soil that is suitable for vegetables, or make your own by mixing compost, perlite, and vermiculite. You can also add some organic fertilizer or worm castings to boost the nutrient content of your soil. Fill your tray or container with about 1 to 2 inches of soil or growing medium, and level it with your hand or a spatula.
- Step 4: Sprinkle your seeds evenly over the soil or growing medium. You can use a spoon, a shaker, or your fingers to distribute the seeds. You can also use a seed sower or a template to create even rows or patterns. You want to cover the entire surface of the soil or growing medium with seeds, but not too densely, as this can reduce the air circulation and the growth of your microgreens. You can use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds per 10 by 10 inch tray or container.
- Step 5: Cover your seeds lightly with soil or growing medium. You can use a sieve, a sifter, or your hand to sprinkle a thin layer of soil or growing medium over the seeds. You want to cover the seeds completely, but not too deeply, as this can affect the germination and the growth of your microgreens. You can use about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil or growing medium to cover the seeds.
- Step 6: Water your seeds gently. You can use a spray bottle, a watering can, or a drip irrigation system to water your seeds. You want to moisten the soil or growing medium, but not soak it, as this can cause mold or rot. You can also use a plastic lid, a piece of cardboard, or a newspaper to cover the tray or container, to create a humid environment and to prevent the soil or growing medium from drying out. You can remove the cover once the seeds start to sprout, usually in 2 to 3 days.
- Step 7: Place your tray or container in a warm and bright spot. You can use a sunny windowsill, a balcony, a greenhouse, or a grow light to provide adequate light for your microgreens. You can also use a heating mat, a radiator, or a warm oven to provide some bottom heat for your microgreens, to speed up the germination and the growth. You want to keep the temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and the light between 4 and 12 hours per day, depending on the type of microgreens you are growing.
- Step 8: Monitor and care for your microgreens. You can check your microgreens daily, and water them as needed, to keep the soil or growing medium moist but not soggy. You can also rotate your tray or container, to ensure even growth and exposure to light. You can also thin out your microgreens, by removing some of the seedlings, to create more space between them and to improve the air circulation. You can also trim or pinch off any yellow or brown leaves, to prevent disease and to improve the quality of your harvest.
- Step 9: Harvest your microgreens. You can harvest your microgreens when they reach about 2 to 3 inches tall, and when they have the first set of true leaves, usually in 5 to 10 days, depending on the type of microgreens you are growing. You can use a sharp knife, a pair of scissors, or your fingers to cut or pluck your microgreens, just above the soil or growing medium. You want to harvest your microgreens as soon as possible, as they tend to lose their flavor and freshness quickly. You can harvest your microgreens in batches, or all at once, depending on your preference and consumption.
Tips for Harvesting and Storing Your Microgreens
Microgreens are best enjoyed fresh, but they can also be stored for a few days, if you follow some simple tips:
- Wash your microgreens: You can wash your microgreens before or after harvesting, to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. You can use a colander, a salad spinner, or a paper towel to wash and dry your microgreens. You want to wash your microgreens gently, and dry them thoroughly, to prevent wilting or spoilage.
- Store your microgreens: You can store your microgreens in an airtight container, a ziplock bag, or a glass jar, in the refrigerator. You can also add a paper towel, a cotton cloth, or a silica gel packet, to absorb any excess moisture and to extend the shelf life of your microgreens. You want to store your microgreens in a cool and dark place, and consume them within a week, or as soon as possible.
- Use your microgreens: You can use your microgreens in a variety of ways, such as salads, sandwiches, wraps, soups, smoothies, juices, dips, sauces, or garnishes. You can also mix and match different types of microgreens, to create your own unique flavors and combinations. You want to use your microgreens as soon as possible, or just before serving, to preserve their freshness and flavor.
In conclusion, microgreens are not just a garnish but a powerhouse of nutrients. They are young vegetable greens that are rich in flavor and often contain higher nutrient levels than more mature vegetable greens. They are an excellent source of nutrients, including antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Microgreens contain important stuff that’s good for you, like lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and sulforaphane. These things help keep your body healthy. They also contain a high concentration of prebiotic fiber, stimulating the growth of beneficial microbes in your digestive tract.
Growing your own microgreens at home is a fun and rewarding endeavor. Microgreens are easy to grow because you can plant them in different places like outside, in greenhouses, or even on your windowsill.
So why wait? Start your microgreen journey today and reap the benefits of these nutrient-dense greens!