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If you are an avid gardener then you probably hate the winter months. The days are short, and you can’t cultivate anything outdoors because of the temperamental weather. Have you considered growing microgreens and sprouts indoors? Fresh microgreens and sprouts are little powerhouses that are bursting with flavor. Best of all, they are easy to grow and remarkably rewarding! 


Understanding Microgreens and Sprouts


Nowadays, it seems like everyone banters the words microgreens and sprouts interchangeably but they are really two unique stages. Sprouts are germinated seeds. The small plant bursts out of the seed, pushing the seed shell up and out of the soil. The shell usually hangs precariously on the top of the sprout. Currently, you harvest the sprout, and you enjoy the tender plant and the seed. The combination of crunchy goodness is loaded with nutrition.  


A microgreen is the next stage of the plant’s life right after it sheds the seed shell. Most people think of the microgreen phase as the toddler stage of a plant’s life and the sprout phase as a baby stage. 


Types of Microgreens and Sprouts


Sprouts are usually seed-type plants such as chickpeas, peas, lentils, or mung beans. Microgreens are green leafy plants like kale, cabbage, spinach, arugula, chard,  or broccoli. However, you’ll discover that there is a lot of crossovers when people talk about sprouts and microgreens and not everyone agrees about the plants. Honestly, any edible flower, green, or veggie has the potential to be a microgreen or even a sprout. Most beginners like to grow sunflowers, cauliflower, buckwheat, chia, mustard, or cauliflower. A great way to grow the tiny plants is to mix it up on one tray. Grow a variety of plants together in a single tray for a true flavor burst. 


Growing Microgreens and Sprouts in Soil


Soil is messy. Many people like to buy hydroponic mats or coconut coir that they place in the tray in place of soil. However, if you prefer working with soil (lots of gardeners enjoy the feeling of dirt under the fingernails) then use nutritious potting soil to cultivate your microgreens and sprouts. 


Amount of Light for Sprouts and Microgreens


Place the tray of sprouts or microgreens in a south-facing window. The small plants need four to six hours of sun per day to flourish. If you don’t have a south-facing window then you might need to invest in an LED grow light to provide enough light during the winter months. 


Watering Microgreens and Sprouts


Microgreens and sprouts are delicate. If you pour water into the tray then you can easily flood the seeds and destroy them. Instead, use a spray bottle to lightly spritz the plants with water three or four times per day. Keep them moist but not water-logged. 


Harvesting Day


With sprouts, you can only harvest one time because you are pulling up the entire plant to consume. However, with microgreens, you can cut off sections of the tray to enjoy over the course of at least a week. Remember to start harvesting microgreens when they are 10 days old and stand about 2 inches in height. Use a pair of shears to cut the small plants. 


You don’t need to fertilize sprouts, but microgreens will benefit from a  spritz of Humboldts Starter Kit nutrients. Please contact us to learn more. 

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