Microgreens are a delicious and profitable crop that’s a hot trend for home gardeners, but do you need special seeds to grow them?
While microgreens do not require special seeds, certain seeds do perform much better than others.
To help you unravel all the microgreen growing information, I explain how using regular seeds affects microgreen growth, what microgreen seeds are best and which to avoid.
Gardeners new to microgreen crop production often have confusion about choosing the right seeds.
While you may see seed packet labels with the word “microgreens” on them, you need to know that all the seeds inside are regular seeds from a herb, vegetable, or flower variety of plants.
There’s no such thing as a seed that only grows a plant to the microgreen stage and then stops.
Technically, a microgreen is any plant in the early stages of life, and not necessarily one that’s edible.
Many gardeners think microgreens and sprouts are the same things, but they are not.
Microgreens are the upper part of the plant cut off at the soil line, including the stem and one or two sets of true leaves. Harvest of microgreen seeds takes place 7-14 days after sprouting.
Sprouts are the entire young plant, including the root, stem, and only the seed leaves (cotyledon). Harvest takes place 3-5 days after initial seed growth.
The key to microgreen crop success is to find the plants that excel at having the best flavor and texture at the seedling stage when you harvest microgreens.
Another crucial factor is that some plants can be toxic during this early phase of growth and should never be grown as an edible microgreen type.
Regular Seeds To Avoid For Microgreens
Now that you know regular seeds can grow microgreens, let’s take a look at the ones you need to avoid planting and why.
Some plants, like tomatoes, have high concentrations of alkaloids, like solanine, in the microgreen stage.
Consuming a large quantity of microgreens with this chemical can cause stomach upset, so it’s best to avoid choosing to grow such plants.
Other plant seeds you need to avoid for microgreen gardening include:
- Bell and hot peppers
- Goji berries
Not only should you avoid certain plant seeds for microgreens due to digestive issues, but also because some plant seedlings taste bad and will be a waste of resources to grow.
You want to avoid using any seeds treated with chemical pesticides or fungicides.
Many commercial seed companies add such chemicals to increase seed germination rates and eventual crop yield, which is fine for standard gardening practices.
The problem arises when growing microgreens because these harmful additives are most potent during the initial growth stages, so more chemical residue ends up in your harvest.
The most popular and fastest seeds to grow into microgreens are:
- Mustard greens
- Red Cabbage
These varieties of seeds provide tasty microgreens and are ready for harvest in ten days or less.
Many gardening companies now create special microgreen seed blends to simplify the selection and harvesting process. By mixing different seeds, you can harvest a blend of flavors in one batch, as all will grow at a similar rate.
Another reason to look for special microgreen seeds is that more care goes into the seed selection for both quality and germination rates.
Seeds for microgreens tend to deliver optimal growth rates that take the guesswork out of selecting seeds, especially for novice microgreen growers.
Because you plant microgreens densely, you don’t want seeds to fight with each other over space and peter out. You’ll also want as many seeds to germinate as possible so you can enjoy a bountiful harvest.
Growing microgreens is an excellent way to add excitement to your home gardening hobby, and with practice, you can expand into a thriving business.
While you can grow microgreens using regular seeds, taking the time to select the best seeds by using the information above will help you increase your microgreen growing success.
With the right seeds for microgreen production, you’ll be on your way to growing and quickly harvesting the tastiest and most colorful microgreen varieties that’ll add extra nutrition to all your dishes!