Most nutrient dense microgreens are grown in rich soil that has already been tilled and layered with organic matter such as compost. After planting, the seed is covered with a thin film of organic mulch and allowed to grow until it is about one inch tall. The growing tip should be completely covered with rich organic matter such as compost, shredded newspaper or garden trimmings. These factors promote growth of microgreens that contain the highest nutritional value.
Because microgreens need protection from extreme temperatures, an ingenious technique has been developed to protect young plants during their first two growing seasons. To achieve this, young seedlings are planted in groups of six to eight in a large terracotta pot filled with well-rotted garden compost. As the plants develop, they will climb the slopes of the pot and move toward the light source in the center. Just before they turn, however, the pots are flipped over to face the sun, so that they can absorb the light while the green sprouts.
When choosing which pots to use for growing microgreens, it’s important to choose a potting mix that is free from hazardous chemicals. Typically, organic mulches are used for covering young plants. The advantage of chemical-free mulches is that they will not add undesirable organic matter to the soil, which would alter the chemical makeup of the plant. A benefit of using microgreens in organic mulches is that they retain nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil, as the microgreen mat begins to grow. This means that you will have a continuous supply of healthy nutrients throughout the growing season, without the need to add these nutrients after planting.
One way to make most nutrient dense microgreens is to use them as organic mulches around the plants. Simply mulch the top of the young plants with several inches of organic material, such as wood chips or newspaper. Then, plant the microgreens about two to three inches deep around the mulch, allowing them to soak up as much water as possible.
If you plan to buy a kit, be sure to look at the lists of ingredients. Many companies include fiber that will help the microgreens get started faster, but it will not help them get established once planted. A good approach to growing these plants is to start with about four bags of seeds, and put the microgreens in the bags upside down, with the white side down. Within a week, you should have six to eight leaves and a handful of roots forming. The nutrients will get started almost immediately by soaking up the water from the inside of the bag.
For those interested in having the most nutrient dense microgreens, it might be worth considering growing old mill building microgreen plants. Old mill building trees often contain large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous. A compost pile can easily contain enough microgreens for planting in your garden, and since the trees are already older, they have developed large root systems that are ideal for taking up excess nutrients. The benefits of old mill building microgreens are twofold: first, you save yourself time from growing them yourself, and second, they are extremely nutrient dense.
If you are interested in eating your microgreen seeds, keep this advice in mind: Most insects will not eat them, as they are bitter. However, there are a few species that will eat them if you rinse them very well before eating them. If this is the case, be sure to dry them very well, and then eat them within 24 hours of opening the bag. There have also been reports of birds eating microgreens, so they might be worth putting into your bird cage to try.
Your next step is likely to be transplanting your microgreen garden into your garden. If you choose to do this, make sure that your pots are large enough to hold the microgreen seeds without over-filling them. The larger pots make the process of transplanting easier since they allow for proper draining. If you choose to use soil, be sure to use a low nitrogen, high quality potting mix.