UW Urban Gardening 101_ Microgreens

Urban Farming 101_ Microgreens


Time stamps_ 

  • Food System + Sustainability_  1_45

  • What are microgreens?: 5_45

  • The Nutrition Scoop_ 7_15

  • Supplies: 10_15 - 14_10 

  •  Soil Method_

    • Run down_ 25_15

    • Follow along_ 28_45

  • Soil-less Method_

    • Run down_ 35_30

    • To follow along_ 40_30

  • Harvest + Store_ 49_30

  • Recipes: 51_30

Seed + Supply Prep

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Begin by washing your hands & your growing containers. You may use a mild bleach solution but soapy water will do fine! Rinse your seeds under cool water for 1 minute, discard any seeds that float to the top. Check seed instructions, some may require soaking (eg peas/sunflowers need up to 24 hr soak time)

MV Kit Coconut Coir_

  • The coconut coir in your kit will serve as your growing medium. Break off small sections and add water. The coconut coir is dehydrated and will expand 5 fold once it is moistened - so a little goes a long way! You'll need enough to fill your container with ~2 cm layer of hydrated coir. 

MV Seed Kit Soak times_

  • Peas: 8-12 hours

  • Radish, Chives_ 4-6 hours

  • Amaranth, Broccoli, Mustard_ 2-4 hours


Soil Method


Add a 1-2cm layer of potting soil to a shallow container, you don't need a lot for microgreens. Spread seeds on top of soil, leaving gaps for airflow and also for room to grow. Mist soil & place in a warm, dark place to germinate

note: always use a new batch of soil for each grow, do not re-use the soil for microgreens.


Water daily as needed & move to a sunny spot once leaves emerge. Keep them in a well ventilated area to prevent mold. 


Paper Towel Method

Setup & Sowing 

We built a siphon system using a container with a flat lid. Begin by filling the lower portion of the container with a water for the reservoir (1-2cm depth should be enough). Poke two holes in the lid and thread the paper towel through, so that the tail ends are directed downwards to the water. Close the lid, this will create a wick! 

You can lay another paper towel on top of the lid to maximise growing surface, it just needs to touch the previous towel so that it also receives water supply.

Spread your seeds on top of the paper towel, leaving gaps for airflow & room for the seeds to grow. Place in a warm, dark area 


No need to water, the siphon is self watering. Move to a sunny spot once leaves emerge. Keep them in a well ventilated area to prevent mold. 


Depending upon the type of seeds you've selected, your microgreens will be ready to harvest about one to three weeks after planting. Look for the first set of "baby leaves" as a sign of readiness. Then grab your scissors and snip the greens just above the roots. Rinse & enjoy!

5 Ways to use Microgreens.

There is no right or wrong way to include them, it’s all about experimenting and having fun!

  1. Top it off Finish off a pizza, pasta or stir fry. Try a seasonal Peach Microgreen Pizza for a fun twist!

  2. Go for Green Add to salads of all kinds, like this simple Microgreen and Lime Vinaigrette recipe

  3. Fill it up Use as a flavourful addition to sandwiches, pitas and wraps

  4. Get Dipping Add to hummus or try an easy Microgreen Rocket Pesto

  5. Garnish Away Everything from omelets to mocktails looks fancier with some microgreen action


Which Microgreens do you recommend?

Try a bunch out! Some of our favourites are_ broccoli, mustard, radish, kale, peas, beets! Would love to hear about your top picks too :)

Here is a helpful resource_ plants:https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/microgreens-directory

How long do I have to wait to transfer it to a sunny spot?

Once you see yellow leaves growing on the sprout, you can move it to indirect sunlight.

What are other suitable mediums?

Any well draining medium will do. Potting soil mixed with perlite, coconut coir, paper towel, among others will work. You can also sprout microgreens in a jar without a medium - just rinse them daily (this will result in curly microgreens, but they will still taste great!)

Can I use cotton as a growing medium?

While we haven’t tried this personally, it is possible to use this instead of soil. Just make sure to drain out excess water from your tray so there is no stagnant water to avoid mold growth.

My seeds have tiny white fuzz! Is this mold?

Look closely, they may be root hairs. Generally, root hairs are white and fuzzy and may look like mold (which is usually more grey in colour). A quick way to tell is if you spray some water on them and the fuzz disappears for a few hours, it is just the root hair - whereas mold will not disappear after a rinse. 

Here are two helpful resources to help you distinguish between mold and roots_

What's the best way to avoid mold? 

To have the healthiest microgreens possible_ 

  • Make sure your soil is well draining, and not soggy

  • Don’t overcrowd the seeds by planting them too close together

  • Keep the microgreens in a well ventilated area, or near a fan

  • Use quality seeds that have a high germination rate, un-germinated seeds tend to mold

  • You can sanitize your seeds by soaking them in diluted food grade hydrogen peroxide solution, and periodically misting the young sprouts with it too


Contact us

UW Sustainability Office_

UW Food Services - Registered Dietitian_

Maison Verte_