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General Instructions for Growing Microgreens in Soil or Coco Coir

Read on to learn more about growing microgreens in soil or coco coir:

Materials Needed

  • Growing trays without drain holes
  • Soil mix or compressed coconut coir
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Seeds
  • Scissors

Note that trays may be reused many times, and it is fine to section multiple crops per tray.

Step by Step Instructions

What follows are general instructions for growing your microgreens in soil or coconut coir.

While you will find that microgreens are generally easy to grow, you may need to experiment a bit to get it just right. Based on the times for germination and harvest, you may need to sow your seeds at different times if you want to harvest all your greens at the same time.

  • Step 1: Pre-Soak Seeds – Most seeds that require soil as a growing medium require a pre-soak before being spread over your soil - including sunflower, peas, buckwheat, and cilantro. To soak, submerge the seeds in a jar filled with cold water. Make sure there is plenty of water, as some seeds (like peas) absorb surprising amounts of water. Keep in a cool place, even in your refrigerator on hot days. When pre-soaked for an appropriate time for the specific seed, rinse thoroughly with cold water. Optionally, you can transfer the seeds (except beet, which should be planted directly) to a colander and rinse every 12 hours for another day before planting.
  • Step 2: Prepare Your Trays – For microgreens, you will want about 1.5-2 inches of moist soil or coco fiber in the tray. Put moist soil in the tray, spread the soil evenly, and gently tamp it flat, (the back of a spatula is perfect for this). You want a flat, even bed of soil that is firm, but not compacted. Dampen the topsoil by sprinkling a little water gently and evenly over the soil. The soil should be quite damp but not soggy. Re-tamp gently if necessary.
  • Step 3: Spread Your Seeds – Spread your soaked seed evenly across the tray. Larger seeds like buckwheat, sunflower, and pea will end up being quite thickly spread.
  • Step 4: Water & Cover - Gently tamp the seeds flat into the soil. The goal here isn’t to crush the seeds into the soil, but to simply make sure that the seeds are making firm contact with the soil. Use your spray bottle to thoroughly mist the seeds directly on the soil. Now take one of the other trays and use your spray mister to spray the inside of it 4 or 5 times with an even distribution of mist. Use that misted tray as a black-out and humidity dome on your recently seeded tray. Your newly sown seeds need humidity and darkness to thrive. Set your tray in a place where it won’t get too hot, or too cold. 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
  • Step 5: Mist Every 12 hours – Uncover the seed tray every 12 hours or so and mist them again with your spray bottle. 15 to 20 evenly distributed sprays should do. Do not add additional water other than the misting. Recover your tray.
  • Step 6: Uncover the Tray – Your crop should be ready to uncover after 3-5 days (see specific product page). You can judge this by watching for when the baby leaves (cotyledons) of your crop first emerge, and then waiting one more day. It is important to keep your crop in the dark for the first 4 to 5 days to force your crop to grow in the struggle for light. This will help you grow a strong crop. Once you uncover the tray, make sure your crop gets plenty of light. We highly recommend LED grow lights. Direct sunlight, fluorescent, or incandescent lights are also good. If your crop angles for light, be sure to rotate the tray occasionally.
  • Step 7: Check Daily – Your crop should have the right balance of water from now till harvest. Check the soil. It should be moist, but not soggy. If necessary, replenish water by sprinkling or pouring water over the soil, avoiding the leaves as much as possible. Do not use the spray bottle anymore.
  • Step 8: Time to Harvest – Most microgreens will be ready to harvest in 10 days. Some crops can be harvested as early as 7 days. Most crops will not last past 14 or 15 days before they must be harvested. Search for the product page of your specific seed to know when to harvest your specific seed.
  • Step 9: Harvest – Move your trays to a cool, shady place. If your greens are harvested when it is too hot, they will wilt very quickly after harvesting. If harvested when cool (late evening, early morning), they will tend to stay fresh and crisp.

Harvesting Method: Use scissors to trim the microgreens just above the soil line. Think of it as giving your greens a haircut.

  • Step 10: Rinse & Dry – Use a colander to rinse your microgreens thoroughly under cold water. Dry the greens completely by spreading over a towel or paper towels and air dry. Speed drying by using a fan on a slow setting. Cut greens are best if served right after drying but can be stored loosely in a bowl in the refrigerator for several days. Do not try to refrigerate greens that are not completely dry.