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Microgreens 7
Microgreens are a simple and easy place to start with seed sowing.

Essentially, you're harvesting plants at a tender stage to be added to sandwiches and salads. Many seeds can be grown as microgreens, such as salad and lettuce leaves, soft herbs like parsley, brassica (cabbage, broccoli etc) and some legumes, like peas.

They all produce tasty leaves to be harvested after two to four weeks, and sowing microgreens successionally every week can give an endless supply.

  • Sowing seeds provides us with hope and anticipation for the future.
  • It works our fine motor skills and dexterity.
  • Provides distraction and allows us to slow down and be in the moment as our mind is occupied in the task.
  • Offers a sense of achievement when the seeds germinate.
  • You could sow an extra tray for a friend or neighbour, so we connect with others.
  • Adds good nutrients to our diet.
  • Older children are likely to be able to do all the steps with these instructions.
  • Younger children may need help opening seed packets and encouragement to spread the seeds evenly. A good technique is to pour some seeds into the child’s less predominant hand and ask them to then use the thumb and forefinger of the dominate hand to take a few at a time and sprinkle.
  • Seed sowing can be done from a seated position.
  • Dispensing seeds into a saucer, plate or bowl can make them easier to deal with.
  • The potting tidy shown in the images can help seed sowing using one hand by providing a lip to help with scooping compost.
  • With sight loss, we can sow seeds best in modular trays and these can be used for micro greens. Keep one hand on the tray and shake from left to right and top to bottom. Take seeds from the saucer with the moving hand to where the other hand rests, place seeds in module, move hand on tray to next module and then use moving hand again to collect and deposit seeds in the next module.
  • You could even place a mix of seeds and compost (damp but not moist and definitely not wet) in a well-sealed black bag, store this mix together in a very dark place and just add to a tray each week. You would lose some of the seeds, but if enough are mixed into the compost you're likely get full trays of microgreens each time.

Step 1

To start, get set up with some compost (multipurpose or a seed sowing compost), some suitable seeds, a tray and a waterer with a fine rose. Other useful resources could be a sieve, labels and levelling board. Fill up the tray (a shallow reusable plastic food tray could work well, for micro greens you only need around 3-6cm soil depth) that has been cleaned using hot soapy water and well rinsed prior to use. Fill to the top of the tray and then gently firm so the soil is around ½cm from the top.

Microgreens

Step 2

Add the seeds, by thinly scattering them evenly across the compost around one to three seeds per centimetre squared is enough. Check the seed packet to see what depth the seeds you are using need to be sown at, some like peas and brassicas will need to be planted below the surface.

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Step 3

Sift compost over the top using a sieve or, away from the tray, rub the compost between your fingers and remove larger pieces so you can add fine textured compost over the seeds. A seed contains a store of energy and so compost that's too compact or too large may stop them reaching the light.

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Step 4

Water with a fine rose watering can, or as in the photos we have, use a bottle top watering rose which you can find online; they make excellent waterers for tabletop gardening.

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Step 5

Label the tray if you are sowing lots of seeds or will be successional cropping microgreens. Labelling is very important in horticulture but for home gardening less so and if you are only sowing a few things then you might remember what is in each tray. The most important thing to write on the label is the date, so you know that if four weeks have passed the seeds in that tray are not going to germinate unless it is a very specific plant that takes a long time to begin growing.

Now take the seed tray to where it will germinate, a windowsill is good. You are generally looking for a space with good light but not direct sun and away from draughts. Check on them every couple of days and make sure the compost is still moist.

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Step 6

Wait a couple of weeks, sometimes sooner, and the seeds will germinate. Then a week or two more will see them develop their true leaves and it is at this point they can be harvested.

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To harvest, use scissors to cut just above the compost level. Some may then grow another set of true leaves for a second harvest. A third is less likely and may start to lose taste and nutrition, so we would recommend only two.

Preparing beds and borders

Perhaps you are wanting to refresh a tired border or begin a new vegetable bed? Preparation makes a big difference to the end result and is easy rewarding work.

Find out more