Vegetables

Indoor Gardening All Year Long with Microgreens

Rambo radish microgreens

A guest blog by Parker Garlitz

Traditional outdoor gardening is a wonderful hobby that is fun, healthy and delicious. Nothing provides a connection to nature like growing your own food. Let’s face it … food from your own garden is likely to be the freshest, most alive food you eat.

However, if there is one drawback of traditional gardening, it’s that it is seasonally limited. Most of your fresh garden vegetables are available only during the harvest season. Short of a very expensive greenhouse type setup, what’s the best way to experience the joy of growing and eating truly living foods all year long? The answer might be microgreens!

What are Microgreens?

Microgreens of cilantro Leisure Splits

Microgreens are vegetable seeds that are grown in a growing tray indoors and harvested before they mature (usually about 10 days) into full-grown plants. These micro-greens typically have the same flavor as the full-grown vegetable, but often the flavors are stronger and more intense. 

Think about it this way: Take a seed like broccoli. You can grow and enjoy the broccoli plant at different stages of growth. The same seeds will yield three different options, depending on when you harvest.


Sprouts — Broccoli seeds grown without a grow medium. Typically grown in a sprouting tray or mason jar with a strainer lid and rinsed a few times daily for 3 or 4 days before they are ready to be enjoyed.



Microgreens — Broccoli seeds grown indoors in a nursery tray in soil (pictured) or on a hydroponic grow mat. Grown for 8 to 12 days and harvested to use in salads, sandwiches or a garnish.



Vegetable — Grown outdoors in the garden until ready to harvest at about 85 days as the broccoli vegetable we are all familiar with.

Why Microgreens?

Microgreens are fun to grow! If your green thumb itches through the cold winter months, growing microgreens can scratch that itch. Unlike sprouts which are very easy to grow, microgreens are a little trickier. There is satisfaction in experimenting with growing techniques, growing media, fertilization, light and temperature makes it fun and challenging. The challenge becomes deeply satisfying when you grow a stunningly beautiful crop of micros. 

Microgreens are delicious. They have a powerful flavor intensity that adds something different from your salads, soups, stir-fry and garnishes. For example, if you love basil, the flavor intensity of micro basil may make full-grown basil a flavor disappointment going forward (so beware!). With microgreens, you can add flavor to things that otherwise might be awkward. You don’t often see sliced radishes on a sandwich, but micro-radish works perfectly and provides the identical flavor. 

Microgreens are healthy. We all know that most people don’t get enough vegetables in their diet, and most of us don’t get anywhere near enough vegetables picked and eaten promptly at their peak of freshness. Microgreens are rich in what I call “Vitamin L”. L is for Life. A tomato you pick and eat right out of your garden is teeming with Vitamin L. By the time a grocery store tomato is picked, processed, shipped, shelved, bought, stored in your home and finally eaten … well it’s just not the same, is it? Microgreens are alive when you harvest and eat them. Imagine enjoying garden fresh produce, teeming with Vitamin L, all year long.

Microgreens are beautiful. I think this one speaks for itself…

Getting Started

How do you get started growing microgreens? There are countless video tutorials you can find on YouTube, but you could find a good collection here: https://www.trueleafmarket.com/pages/how-to-tutorial-videos#microgreens1. But that might be more time than you are looking to spend on learning how, and truth be told, it’s not really that hard to get started. We have put together variety of microgreens starter kits that have everything you need to start growing your own microgreens on your own kitchen counter with easy, step-by-step instructions. The kits run the full spectrum from stick a toe in the water, to let’s get serious.


Parker Garlitz is an expert microgreens grower and
a co-founder of True Leaf Market Seed Company
All photography supplied by True Leaf Market Seed Company.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

3 comments on “Indoor Gardening All Year Long with Microgreens

  1. very interesting
    pattysperspective.org

  2. Pingback: Growing Vegetables Indoors Over the Winter: Not So Simple! – Laidback Gardener

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: