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Microgreens and Baby Greens: A Sow and Grow Guide

October 19, 2016
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How to grow baby greens at home

What Are Microgreens and Baby Greens?
Micro- and baby greens are tiny, tender, flavorful seedlings of vegetables and/or herbs. Microgreens may be harvested for their youngest leaves, while baby greens are harvested at 2"–4". Both pack a big punch when it comes to nutrients. Studies show they can be up to 40 times richer in vital nutrients than their mature counterparts.

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Why Grow Them?
Microgreens and baby greens are not just for chef-inspired plates anymore. These nutrient powerhouses can grow right on your windowsill. Quick and easy to grow indoors, sow micro- and baby greens in successions for a continuous supply at your fingertips.

Grow your microgreens and baby greens in our Kitchen Garden Kit, which has everything you need to grow delicious and nutritious greens. The reusable growing system includes: a clear plastic dome, a perforated growing tray, a solid drip tray, and two sowings worth of specially formulated Wonder Soil Organic Seedling Mix (which is made from coco fiber, a sustainable alternative to peat), and a detailed instruction booklet with recipes. Carrying tray also available!

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How to Grow Micro- and Baby Greens
1. Place the perforated growing tray inside the solid drip tray. Place both inside the optional carrying tray (sold separately).

2. Fill with half a bag of Wonder Soil® Organic Seedling Mix. Slowly add 2½–3 cups of water until it has expanded into a light and fluffy sowing medium. Stir to aerate.

3. Sow according to each packet variety’s seed depth and spacing recommendations.

4. Water from the bottom by adding water to the solid drip tray, or from above by using a mister to avoid splashing soil. Check the drip tray a couple of hours after watering and empty it if there is still water in the tray.

5. Place the clear plastic dome over the growing tray to maintain humidity, moisture, and a consistent temperature.

6. When seedlings emerge, remove the dome and continue to water (using a mister or bottom watering; reducing soil splashing on leaves) as needed to keep media moist.

7. Keep the kit indoors on a sunny windowsill or underneath grow lights. This can be as simple as a shop light with cool white fluorescent bulbs, or a mix of cool-white and warm-white tubes placed 1"–2" from the top of your plants, and run for 14 to 16 hours per day.

The directions above are for using the Kitchen Garden Kit. If you are repurposing a container, do this:
Use a shallow container with drainage holes, such as a recycled plastic clamshell container, like those used for berries or cherry tomatoes. First, wash the container in warm soapy water to remove debris and then sanitize in a 1:9 ratio of bleach to water for 30 minutes. When the containers have finished soaking, rinse them in clean water prior to use. Fill your container with 1 to 2 inches of pre-moistened seed-starting media. Return to Step #5, above.

Tips
The optimal air temperature is 65°–75°F.
Fertilizer isn’t necessary for microgreens, but for baby greens, you can apply either an organic or half-strength, balanced, liquid fertilizer once true leaves appear.
Good air circulation is important to help prevent fungal disease.
For a continual crop, sow every 14 days.
Hand wash and sanitize trays and dome between uses.

 

how to grow microgreens at home

Harvesting
When seedlings emerge, the first leaf or pair of leaves to show are the cotyledons, which can look very different from the leaves that follow, called “true” leaves. Microgreens are ready to harvest in about 7 to 14 days after sowing when they have cotyledons, and baby greens are ready in about 20 days, when they have true leaves at 2"–4". Once cut, microgreens will not regrow, although if some leaves are left intact on baby greens you may see regrowth. Cool growing temperatures (below 65°F) may slow germination and growth. Harvest by cutting just above the soil line. Rinse and use, or store dry micro- and baby greens in the refrigerator in a sealed container. See individual seed packets for more information about growing and using each variety.

Try All of Botanical Interests’ Varieties

Microgreens
Be Mellow Blend (ORG)
Ciao Bella Basil Blend (ORG)
Cress Upland
Early Wonder Beets
Italian Amaro Blend
Mild Mix
Peas for Shoots (ORG)
Red Winter Kale
Savory Mix
Spicy Mix
Sunflower (ORG)
Umami Asian Blend (ORG)

Baby Greens
Apple Blossom Swiss Chard Blend (ORG)
Arugula (ORG)
Market Day Lettuce Mesclun (ORG)
Must Have Mustards
Red Winter Kale (ORG)
Snappy Fresh Mesclun (ORG)
Smoothie Mix
Spinach
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