Spinach Microgreens Ultimate Growing Guide
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Want a microgreen that packs an amazing nutritional punch and is super simple to grow? You have got to try spinach microgreens!
Out of all the microgreens I’ve tried, these are by far one of my favorite greens as I’m an avid spinach fan. They are delicious raw or cooked and are amazingly versatile. Plus, they are soooo good for you!
Spinach Microgreens Profile
Flavor: Mild, spinach taste, similar to baby spinach
Germination: 5-10 days
Harvest: 10-14 Days
Difficulty Level: Easy
Tips and Tricks for Growing Perfect Spinach Microgreens
Please note that this is different than growing sprouts. Sprouts are grown without soil and eaten seed and all. Microgreens grow their first leaves before being consumed.
1. Choose the right soil. You may be vulnerable to pests if you use typical garden dirt as a growing medium for microgreens, and it isn’t the finest source of nutrition for these plants. We’ll go through what makes excellent soil in greater detail later.
2. If you notice fungus growing on your spinach microgreen shoots, spray with food-grade hydrogen peroxide to kill the fungus. It won’t hurt the plants.
3. I have also read that adding a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender to your misting water can help ward off the disease known as dampening off, but I have not tried it with spinach.
Growing Spinach Microgreens (Step by Step)
Supplies You Need to Grow Baby Spinach Greens
Seeds are the first thing you will need to grow your micro greens. Without them, you won’t be able to grow anything!
You can use any regular spinach seeds. You do not need special microgreen seeds, although you can certainly buy some of them if you wish. Spinach is a plant that is very easy to grow, especially as microgreens.
You’ll need a container to germinate your seeds in. You won’t need any soil if you want to sprout your seeds, and the container will be different. We’ll require more since we’re growing microgreens.
It’s ideal to use a shallow container for this sort of seed, with a depth of only 1 to 2 inches. The greens will be picked before they get too big, so you don’t need anything more.
There are a million different shallow containers like this, and they all can function if there is enough drainage. If you don’t allow drainage, the water will collect in the container and cause rot to the roots, so make sure your container has adequate drainage.
You must also make certain that your container is sturdy and food-safe, so avoid utilizing pressure treated wood or any other substance that might make the greens hazardous to consume.
You may recycle old milk cartons or jugs by cutting them down, or invest in artistic new microgreen trays. It’s up to you whether you make it yourself for free or spend a lot – it’s your choice!
Following are some tips on how to grow excellent microgreens. Any soil will do if you’re growing some greens outside. However, most people cultivate microgreens indoors, which adds to the appeal of these tiny vegetables.
The soil you choose should have adequate nutrients for your baby greens. Indoor potting mix is the greatest option for this. This is because they are safe to use inside (no fungus, insects, or molds!), they allow for ample drainage but still retain moisture for baby roots, and they include air pockets in the soil.
You can also cultivate spinach microgreens in coconut coir. Coconut coir is composed of – you guessed it – coconut husk! It’s specifically the fruit husk of the coconut. Coconut coir retains moisture effectively. It’s resistant to bacterial decay and is easier to moisten than peat moss, making it a fantastic alternative
If you would like recommendations for a complete growing kit, be sure to visit the shop !
Spinach seeds do not require soaking, so for this type of microgreen, you can skip this part! Yay!
Give your seeds a quick rinse and they are ready to go! Growing microgreens is very easy.
To begin, fill the growing tray about an inch deep with soil from your plant. It is irrelevant whether you are using ordinary dirt or organic material as stated above. Simply make sure it’s clean and intended for indoor usage (ideally).
Then, you will want to add your seeds. You want to completely cover the top of your soil with seeds, making sure there aren’t any on top of each other.
Finally, cover the seeds with a little bit of soil, just enough to barely cover the seeds, then put your growing tray in a warm place out of direct sunlight.
I’m sure you’ve been told that your plants should be in the light because you want them to thrive, but plants truly require darkness to germinate. Consider it: They’re usually planted deep underground, not in direct sunlight when they’re growing.
Many sources recommend putting them in the dark for a period of time before bringing them out into the sun. I typically do this for a day or two by covering the tray. Try both methods and see what works best for you!
Once the seedlings emerge they will need light. All seedlings need sunlight (or a grow light) on those new baby green leaves to grow, so make sure to move them into the sun or a grow light after they break the soil.
You want the soil in the container to be damp but not soggy. Many people will mist the soil with a sprayer so that there isn’t too much water accumulating at the bottom. This is how I prefer to do it.
Just be careful not to overdo it with the sprayer as you could attract mold or even rot the stems. This is one of the early mistakes I made when growing seeds indoors.
Check to see whether the seedlings have enough fresh air. I tried growing lavender once and kept the lid on the little greenhouse throughout, but it did not work out for me. While they require some humidity, too much can cause the stems to decay, which is what happened to my lavender plants (I’ve learned a lot since then!).
So if you use a container with a transparent cover (whether you buy a mini greenhouse or make your own), be sure to remove it after the seedlings start to develop..
The ideal harvest time is 10-14 days after planting. You want to see the seedlings push their seeds off.
You want two large leaves (cotyledon), or seed leaves, on your sprouting spinach seeds and the true leaves just beginning to form in the middle. Try some at 10 days and continue trying them as they get older to discover which way you like them best!!
We adore these tiny greens in our home, and the kids can’t wait for them to get very big, so they seldom make it past 14 days. We like them either way when they reach that length. When they grow beyond that point, we still love them becuase spinach is such a great edible green at any stage!
To harvest, snip the seedlings at the base with a small, sharp pair of scissors (you don’t want any soil on them, so cut just above the soil line). Then you’ll need to wash the greens. Some people prefer using a salad spinner for this, but we simply lay them on a towel or paper towel and then use another towel or paper towel to gently pat dry. The children may sometimes sneak them before they’re washed!
Harvest as many as you want to use and leave the rest to harvest later. I find that this works better than harvesting them all at once and storing them in the fridge.
You can store them in a ziptop bag in the refrigerator, but they are best if you harvest them when you need them. If you grow more than one type of green, I recommend labeling your bag with the name and date of harvest.
Once cut, a spinach sprout will not regrow, so you will need to compost the soil that the roots are left in.
Can you Grow Spinach Microgreens Without Soil?
This is a very common question and the answer is YES!
To grow these greens without soil, you will need the same supplies as above, but without the soil.
You just need seeds and a soil-less growing mat!
Here’s where it gets different:
Typically, spinach microgreens are produced in a thin layer of potting soil, but they may also be sprouted and cultivated on vermiculite or perlite or even just a few layers of paper towel.
If using a jute mat, place it in your growing container and place the seeds on top of it. Keep it moist and the seeds will put down roots into the mat.
If you want no type of substrate at all (no soil, no mat), use a liquid fertilizer to grow some on a paper towel. I haven’t tried this myself, but I know people who’ve had success with this method and I’m interested in testing it out.
Water once per day and make sure they are getting enough light and air. Harvest at the same time as their soil-based counterparts!
How to Eat Spinach Microgreens
These amazing little fresh greens can be added to almost anything.
You can eat these greens raw or cooked, but if cooking try to add them at the end to retain their nutrient value and their delicate crunch. They are pretty delicate!
I love to add mine to pizza, sandwiches, omelettes, soups and salads. I also blend mine into smoothies (see our smoothie recipes here and sub microgreens for any other greens!), sneak them into dips and a lot of other special sneaky recipes I’ll be sharing soon!
Common Problems Growing Microgreens
We are going to assume that you’re growing your greens indoors and go over some of the most frequent issues faced by spinach microgreens growers.
1. Mold, Mildew or Fungus
This is by far the most typical issue with microgreens. We previously spoke about using food-grade hydrogen peroxide and adding lavender to the misting water, but here are a few more ideas.
Excess dampness is one of the most common causes of mold, mildew, or fungus. These kinds of things thrive in wet situations, so be careful not to overwater and allow your soil to become soggy. Make sure there’s enough drainage so this doesn’t happen.
Too much humidity can also lead to too much moisture. This is what happened to me when I didn’t remove the top of the greenhouse (okay, one of the reasons!). It also allowed an excessive amount of moisture, causing my plants to decay.
2. Yellow, “Leggy” Stems
This is a problem I used to have with all of my seedlings (especially tomatoes!) and it took me a long time for me to figure out why it was happening!
Microgreens will generally be yellow in color when they first emerge from their seeds, but as the young plants get some light, they should become green.
If your seedlings remain yellow and develop tall, leggy stems, the problem is most likely that they are not receiving enough sunshine.
At the time we were growing our seedlings in a small, lean-to shed that we had converted into a greenhouse with transparent panels on the ceiling. Unfortunately, this wasn’t providing them with enough light.
You will need bright, direct light for these plants. Place them in a sunny area or use a grow light if you have one. We’ve bought the bulbs rather inexpensively and they’re working well. Remember to switch them off at night so that the plants get some rest!
3. Seeds are Slow to Germinate
It’s so disappointing to check on your greens expecting to see growth and find that nothing is happening. I’ve been there! However, there are a few things you can do to help in this situation.
To begin, be sure that your seeds did not get waterlogged. Before they have a chance to sprout, damp soil can rot them before they’ve even grown.
Also, make sure you’re buying good quality seeds. The germination and growth rates of seeds from different companies will vary, so be careful when selecting them. You don’t have to spend a lot, but be sure you’re getting seeds from a reputable place.
Common Questions about Spinach Microgreens
Spinach makes an excellent microgreen because you still get all the taste and nutrition of spinach (actually even more than the adult version!) but you can grow these in around half the time. Plus you can always have fresh spinach on hand if you grow these at home.
These little greens have a wonderful spinach taste that is slightly sweet. If you like baby spinach, you will love the microgreen version. They also hide perfectly in smoothies, salads and soups.
While baby spinach is harvested earlier than the mature version, microgreens are harvested even earlier than the baby stage, which means that baby spinach in the store is not considered a microgreen.
Health Benefits of Spinach Microgreens
These little greens pack a significant nutritional punch. Just because they are small doesn’t mean they aren’t mighty!!
We learned that microgreens have up to 40 times more nutrients than the mature plant following this research. Other studies have shown that eating these tiny greens may be even healthier for you than consuming the uncooked seeds, especially in terms of how efficiently your body absorbs magnesium and zinc.
Fresh microgreens are a great source of nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, iron, and calcium. All of these nutrients come in intense doses compared to the benefits you would get from eating mature spinach leaves. This makes spinach microgreens a great addition to your diet for anyone looking to boost their nutrient intake.
Man, this makes me want to grow another batch for my family right now!!