From Seed to Harvest: The Life Cycle of Microgreens

Hey there! Are you a fan of microgreens, those tiny plants with a big punch of nutrition and flavor? If you are, have you ever wondered how these plants grow from seed to harvest? Well, wonder no more! In this article, we're going to explore the life cycle of microgreens, from the beginning stages of germination to the final stages of harvest and post-harvest care. 
What are microgreens, you ask? They are tiny, edible plants that are harvested when they are only 1 to 3 inches tall. These little guys are grown in soil or other growing mediums, and are typically ready to harvest within a few weeks. That's way faster than their mature plant counterparts that can take months to grow!
The life cycle of microgreens can be broken down into four stages: germination, growth, harvest, and post-harvest care. Let's take a closer look at each of these stages.


Stage 1: Germination - Sprouting Baby Plants

The germination stage is the very first step in the life cycle of microgreens. This is where the seeds sprout and begin to grow into small plants. 
Germination is a pretty cool process. First, the seed absorbs water, causing it to swell and eventually break open. Next, the root emerges from the seed, followed by the shoot, which grows up towards the light. It's like a tiny little miracle happening right before your eyes!
Several factors can affect the germination of microgreen seeds, including temperature, humidity, light, and soil quality. To get the best results, keep the temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity around 70%. For this stage, light isn't necessary, as the seeds should be kept in a dark, warm place to encourage sprouting. And the soil or growing medium should be loose and well-draining, with good airflow.
There are a few different methods for germinating microgreen seeds. Some seeds, like peas and corn, benefit from being soaked in water for 12 hours prior to planting. After soaking, you can plant them in a tray filled with soil or other growing medium and water them thoroughly. Other seeds, like broccoli or kale, can be planted directly into a tray filled with soil or other growing medium. Make sure the seeds are evenly spaced and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Water the tray thoroughly and cover it with a lid or plastic wrap to maintain humidity. Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the cover and place the tray in a location with bright, indirect sunlight.


Stage 2: Growth - Tiny Leaves and Roots

The growth stage is when the microgreens really start to take shape. During this stage, the microgreens begin to develop their true leaves and grow in size. 
The timeline of growth for microgreens can vary depending on the type of plant. For example, Amaranth microgreens can take up to 20 days to grow, while radish microgreens can take only 8 days. So, be patient and monitor your microgreens closely!
During the growth stage, light and nutrients are crucial for the healthy development of microgreens. Provide your microgreens with bright, indirect sunlight for 12-16 hours per day. If you're growing microgreens indoors, you can use grow lights to supplement natural light. Additionally, it's important to provide your microgreens with the proper nutrients by fertilizing the soil or watering with a nutrient-rich solution.
When caring for your microgreens during the growth stage, it's important to avoid overwatering or underwatering. Microgreens have delicate roots and can easily become waterlogged, which can lead to root rot. Water your microgreens regularly, but be sure to allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
Fertilizing is also an important part of caring for microgreens during the growth stage. Depending on the type of fertilizer, you can add it directly to the soil or mix it with water and apply it as a liquid solution. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package and apply it at the appropriate intervals.
Finally, pruning is an important step in caring for your microgreens during the growth stage. Remove any dead or yellowing leaves, as well as any seed hulls that may be left over from germination. This will help promote healthy growth and prevent the spread of disease.


Stage 3: Harvesting and Storage

Once your microgreens have grown to their desired size, it's time to harvest them. This is typically done by cutting the greens just above the soil line with a sharp pair of scissors or a knife. Be sure to rinse the greens thoroughly with cool water to remove any dirt or debris.
Microgreens are best consumed immediately after harvest, but if you need to store them, there are a few options. One method is to wrap them in damp paper towels and place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. This can help keep them fresh for a few days.
Another option is to store them in a plastic container with a lid, but make sure to leave some space for air circulation. You can also place a piece of paper towel in the container to absorb any excess moisture.
It's important to note that microgreens are delicate and can easily wilt or spoil if not stored properly, so it's best to use them as soon as possible.
In addition to using microgreens in salads and sandwiches, they can also be used as a garnish for soups, omelets, and other dishes. Get creative and experiment with different ways to incorporate these flavorful and nutrient-packed greens into your meals.


Stage 4: Post-Harvest Care

After harvesting your microgreens, it's important to take proper care of them to ensure their freshness and longevity. Here are a few tips for post-harvest care:

- Wash your microgreens gently in cold water to remove any dirt or debris. You can use a salad spinner to remove excess water.
- Pat the microgreens dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
- Store the microgreens in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge. They should last for 3-5 days, depending on the type of microgreen.
- Before using your microgreens, inspect them for any signs of spoilage or discoloration. If they don't look fresh, it's best to discard them.
By following these tips, you can extend the shelf life of your microgreens and ensure that they're fresh and delicious when you're ready to use them.



Microgreens are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal, and they're easy to grow at home. By understanding the stages of the microgreen life cycle, you can successfully grow and harvest these tiny plants and enjoy their delicate flavor and high nutritional content.
From the germination stage to post-harvest care, each step in the microgreen life cycle is important for the healthy development and longevity of your microgreens. By providing your microgreens with the proper care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest and add a burst of flavor and nutrition to your favorite dishes.
So why not give microgreens a try? Whether you're a health-conscious eater, a chef, or a home gardener, microgreens are a fun and easy way to incorporate fresh, nutrient-rich greens into your diet. Happy growing!