Still, waiting for your parsley to leaf out or the basil to get big enough to eat? Extend your season of flavors with a micro herb garden. Microgreens are simply herbs grown from seed and harvested when they are about 2 inches tall. Tiny little plants packed with flavor. I like to have trays of microgreens, especially in the off-season, when I can’t go outside and harvest fresh from the garden.
Herbs for Microgreens
The best herbs for microgreens are ones that germinate reliably, quickly and have a lot of flavors in their leaves.
Diversify your flavor mix by adding leafy vegetables and greens. Lemon Gem marigold, lettuce, greens, kale, mustard, radish, mustard, cress, and arugula.
• Seeds germinate best when the soil is kept consistently warm-about about 65 to 70 degrees F. Seedling heat mats are handy to help with this.
• Once the seeds germinate, your baby plants will need light to grow healthy, flavorful leaves.
• Use a small lamp with a grow light bulb to add additional lighting. I have a small set up on my counter with a heat mat and desk lamp with a grow light bulb in the lamp.
Fill a shallow tray ( I use small plant flats) with two inches of lightweight soilless seed mix. Sprinkle seed evenly over the tray filling all the space. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you just don’t want the seed to be clumped up in one spot.
Lightly press the surface with your fingertips to make sure the seeds contact with the soil.
Small seeds do not need to be covered with soil. Large seeds the size of sunflowers or peas need to be covered with a thin layer of soil.
Water gently with a spray mister bottle. Do not pour water directly over the tray to avoid disturbing the seeds. Keep the soil consistently moist and never let the trays dry out. To help retain moisture, cover with clear plastic wrap (or one of the domes that come with seed starting kits). Keep warm with a seedling heat mat. Once you seed the seedlings emerge, remove the cover and give additional lighting over the trays. Once the seeds are up and growing leaves, I turn off the heat mat.
Harvest microgreens when the cotyledons (the first leaves that appear from the seed) have fully developed, and you begin to see the first true leaves emerge. Most microgreens will be about 2 inches tall. Cut the greens off at the soil level and give them a light rinse before eating.