I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

How to Grow Microgreens

I've been growing sprouts - mostly alfalfa and clover - for at least a decade, but I never really got into microgreens. These are harvested at the next stage of growth, usually when their first set of “true leaves” appears, which can take somewhere between 1 1/2 to 2 weeks.

Microgreens have been a trendy thing in many restaurants these last few years. They are bursting with freshness, intense flavor and are so vibrant and beautiful. They're also a wonderful and economical way to get lots of nutrition yet without requiring as much time and space as full grown veggies.

Still, microgreens are still a relatively new thing. While there's not that much information about how to grow them on the net, yet you can find a number of very helpful videos on YouTube. I thought I'd share with you here the way that Matt and Dawnen have been doing theirs.

First you'll have to find them a good growing spot. Unlike sprouts, microgreens are grown in soil rather than glass jars. They don't require a large space but they will need lots of light. Matt & Dawnen have a portable green house next to their trailer which is dedicated to their microgreen operation. They've set up a couple of shelves in it covered with large heating mats controlled with thermostats and with lights hanging above them. If you have a warm house then it isn't necessary to use mats, although it sometimes helps things grow faster.

You can grow all sorts of fun veggies, lettuces and herbs into microgreens; from daikon radish, mizuna, kale, and beets, to arugula, miner’s lettuce and basil.

Matt's favorite pea seeds come from Sproutman.com as he feels that all of their stuff is of superior quality. Dawnen likes to order from Johnny's Selected Seeds, as they sell micro mixes in bigger sizes than just the small packets that you usually find at the store. It works out to be a lot cheaper that way. (By the way, I'm in no way affiliated with Sproutman.com or JSS, I'm simply stating the facts of where Matt & Dawnen purchase their seeds from.)

One of my readers pointed out to me that Johnny’s Selected Seeds gets some of their stock from Seminis/Monsanto. Eeek! Upon investigation Matt found out that "only 40 of Johnny’s varieties (4% of their stock) comes from Seminis, and they are actively working to replace those with seeds from other sources." Phfew! That's good news! I strongly recommend that you check out this post on the matter.

Matt starts off by sprouting the larger seeds such as peas and sunflowers first. He soaks them overnight, then lets them sit for a day or two on the counter, rinsing a couple of times daily, until the seeds grow a little tail.

Time to transfer these into containers at least two inches deep. You could use the more conventional plastic trays or even recycled small clear plastic containers (such as the ones you buy strawberries or tomatoes in) with the tops cut off. For his part Matt really likes to work with glass pyrex dishes.

He begins by spreading a thin layer of organic soil (you have to experiment with which potting mix you prefer), which he taps down lightly with a piece of wood.

Then he waters the soil well.

He puts a second layer of dirt and pats it down again to make it easier to spread the sprouted seeds.

A little paint brush helps ensure that the seeds are spread out evenly, yet without damaging the new sprouts.

Covering the peas with one last layer of dirt.

Matt then places the glass dish on the heating pad, under the lights and with a weight on top. This helps keep the roots into the soil, otherwise with no weight on top they would push and possibly lift themselves out of the soil. I think that it also encourages the sprouts to push harder and therefore grow stronger.

Once the shoots begin to peek out and are properly rooted into place, Matt removes the second tray.

This is what they look like after a few days.

It will take somewhere between 10 to 14 days in order for the microgreens to be ready to be harvested. In the meantime Matt makes sure that the soil is kept nice and moist.

Microgreens can be easily harvested with a pair of scissors and stored in an airtight container or bag.

Sunflowers - my faves!

While Matt is in charge of the larger seed varieties, Dawnen looks after the smaller types of microgreens. In this one tray she planted 3 different kinds: beets, sorrel and some Asian greens.

Once the seeds are spread out evenly Dawnen gives them a good watering.

She then covers the tray with a piece of black plastic (you could also use an empty tray). This prevents the seeds from drying out and also makes them believe that they're into the ground. Matt has recently discovered that turning a black tray upside down on top of the micros works even better; you can let these grow until they touch the bottom of the tray that covers them. This will cause the shoots to grow taller and make stronger plants as light slows down the growth. Plus longer microgreens means easier harvesting and more to munch on. Matt reminds me that there is a happy place for the micros and we need to find what it is for ourselves.

Look at those beauties!

Enjoy your fresh home-grown microgreens on salads, on Veggie Stew (as shown below) or use them to brighten up any dish!


  1. Hi Carmella, thanks for this wonderful article on microgreens. The pictures are very helpful as I'm just getting started with this hobby myself.

  2. This step-by-step is wonderful. I have also done a lot of sprouting. I have read a bit about microgreens, but was a bit timid to try. This encourages me. Does the indoor temperature matter? I live along the Minnesota/Iowa border. This is one reason I would really like to do this. Fresh greens in the winter would be welcome.

    1. Matt told me that microgreens tend to grow faster in a warm house. If yours tends to stay on the cool side then the heating mats will help keep them nice and cozy.

  3. Thank you so much for this post! I've been wanting to try growing microgreens for so long now. This really broke everything down into smaller, realistic bites. Will definitely be starting this as soon as I get some good seeds! Thank you again.