Red amaranth microgreens

The perfect indoor crop for home gardeners is microgreens, according to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).

Microgreens are edible vegetables in miniature form. Because of their fast growth, they are a concentrated source of nutrients, packed with beneficial enzymes. Microgreens are simple to grow indoors, yielding a year-round source of veggies right on your kitchen counter.

The most common vegetables grown as microgreens are lettuce, kale, spinach, radish, beet, cabbage, sunflower, broccoli, green peas and amaranth. These ones taste the best, and they are appealing to look at while growing inside your home.

Supplies you will need

  • A shallow tray, approximately 2 inches deep
  • Potting soil to fill the tray
  • Black plastic mat to speed germination
  • A sunny spot in a south-facing window or a grow light
  • Seeds (special microgreen seeds are not necessary)

How to grow microgreens

  1. Find a south-facing window with plenty of sunlight or install an inexpensive grow light (e.g., mounted under a kitchen cabinet).
  2. Place an inch of potting soil in the tray and smooth it out as evenly as possible.
  3. Scatter seeds over the surface of the soil, densely and evenly.
  4. Sprinkle a thin layer of soil over the seeds and gently spray or mist the surface with water.
  5. Place the black mat over the tray to accelerate seed germination.
  6. Pull back the mat to mist the seeds. Do this a couple of times a day to keep the soil evenly moist.
  7. One or two days after germination, remove the mat and expose the sprouts to sunlight or the grow light.

In two weeks or less, the microgreens should be ready to harvest, but be patient—the time may vary slightly, depending on your light source and the types of greens you are growing.

Cut the microgreens right above the soil level with sharp shears and rinse with clean water before adding to salads. Microgreens also make a colorful, aesthetic garnish for almost any dish.

For any questions on growing your own microgreen garden, contact Rosemary Gutierrez-Coarite, CTAHR assistant extension agent.