Need something to scratch that gardening itch? Grow microgreens

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Gardeners are getting the itch. The gentle tickle that makes you want to get outside and work on the garden is beginning to build, and you want to scratch it!

Alas, it’s still a bit early to work outside but there are some things you can do inside to take care of that itch.

Something you can start right now is to grow some microgreens. Microgreens are nutrient-dense take very little space and provide a source of many required nutrients.

Microgreens are the shoots of seeds and are smaller than sprouts. Sprouts are smaller than baby greens and baby greens are smaller than a full plant. You can find all of these packaged at the grocery store at times.

Microgreens are grown in a tiny space in a short amount of time. Depending on the seed, you can grow them in 10-14 days. Typically, they are harvested after the first true leaf forms.

When a dicot (two cotyledons) germinates, the cotyledon leaves come up first. These provide food for the developing seed. After these leaves come the true leaves.

The easiest microgreens to grow are arugula, broccoli, radish, turnip, cress, Pak choy, mustard, and lettuce. Being cool-season crops, they germinate quickly, and easily and can be grown on the windowsill or small table in the house at room temperature.

Other seeds that can be used for microgreens are amaranth, basil, peas, sunflowers, cilantro, beet, chard, and carrots. These are warm-season crops and require a little more warmth and manipulation to succeed.

I am going to start some this weekend; I am looking forward to fresh microgreens to add to sandwiches and salads!

During the pandemic, I asked my colleague and great friend Dr. Natalie Bumgarner (Associate Professor of Plant Sciences at The University of Tennessee) to do a Horticulture Lunch and Learn for our Master Gardener Volunteers on microgreens. Go to for the recording on growing microgreens.

In addition, she co-authored a bulletin on small-scale microgreen production in which you can learn more about growing microgreens. Go to

Speaking of the pandemic, since we had to go virtual for almost everything, we developed the Horticulture Lunch and Learn and Horticulture Happy Hour series for Master Gardener Volunteers in Ohio. We have since opened these up to anyone who wanted to join.

If you are a little bored and tired of winter and want to step up your gardening knowledge, go to the following website and check out previous recordings of this series as well as upcoming programs. These are all free and contain tons of knowledge from university experts from around the country.

The link for the webinar series is:

Click on the left-hand side to see the past recordings and the upcoming live webinars. All of them are recorded and linked from this page so if you miss any, you can easily catch up.

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

About the Author