tiny garden: microgreens, progress & troubleshooting.

May 7, 2019
brassica microgreens | reading my tea leaves

Forgive me my public garden journal, but here’s an update for anyone interested in how the growing’s going in my very tiny garden plot.

Good news first: We have sprouts. Lots of them.

On the suggestion of two readers, including a mircogreen green grower, I helped the initial sprouts along by covering my tray with a cookie sheet for a day or two. The idea is that covering the seeds will help the tray retain moisture and encourage the seeds to sprout, and it certainly seemed to help things along. Just a few days after planting, we saw little shoots.

Now, a little more than a week later, all three seed-types have sprouted their adorable cotyledons. The arrival of the sweet duo of tiny first leaves gives me hope that more or less things are moving right along as hoped.

mircogreens | reading my tea leaves

Above, the sorrel cotyledons with their tiny empty seeds still clinging to the top. If everything goes according to plan, the true leaves will come next. These leaves should resemble the leaves of the mature plant and they’ll be the ones we eventually harvest.

basil microgreens | reading my tea leaves

The less good news is that while the purple basil actually sprouted just fine, I mistook the fuzzy stuff around the seeds for mold. (Novice microgreen gardener alert.) I’ve since learned that the fuzzy white stuff is actually cilia, or root hairs, begging for water, poor things.

Of course, instead of giving them the water they needed, I laid off watering the basil altogether. The problem got worse not better. Within a day or two, many of the basil sprouts withered away, but the fuzz, as you see, remained. I’m back to watering now and hopeful that the little basil babies that have hung on so far will continue to grow. And here, a tip: For anyone else out there worried, a hopeful sign that any fuzz you spot is cilia and not mold is that when watered the fuzz—or cilia— shrinks back into the soil and all but disappears. Also: it’s white and odorless!

The more you know.

mircogreens | reading my tea leaves

What else? What are you guys growing?

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  • Reply @fortydaysofcalm May 7, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Doing this!

  • Reply jessie May 7, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    When my daughter was younger (teenager now) we went through several springs growing heirloom tomatoes from seed
    indoors for planting outside when weather permitted. We learned that the seedlings need air circulation….keeps mildew away and stimulates stronger growth. A small fan (plug-in or by hand) works well….i think you may have a couple of great fanning candidates in your home! Think of simulating outdoor conditions!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 8, 2019 at 6:54 am

      Ah, yes! Everything I’ve read about growing microgreens encourages dense planting!

  • Reply Amy Greenan May 8, 2019 at 9:42 am

    I love your microgardening posts! The more you know, indeed. I am excited to get back to gardening (both veggie and decorative) in my yard this year, after taking a couple years off. I love growing things, it’s an adventure in so many ways.

  • Reply eve May 8, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I’m working on growing more medicinal herbs this year, starting a lot from seed and hoping for the best! My 2.5 yr old and I also like to grow pea shoots inside to eat, they shoot (ha) up really fast and are tasty + fun to eat right off the plant. Love the microgreen updates!

    • Reply Cynneth Bonanos May 8, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      The fuzziness that you mistook for mould is deceiving when it comes to certain seeds. Sunflower shoots are prone to mould so if they get fuzzy, it would probably be mould. Radish also do the fuzzy thing but the good kind :). It’s a mine feild. I’m teaching myself how to grow shoots and microgeens at the moment too

  • Reply Rachel May 9, 2019 at 10:41 am

    I’m not much of a green thumb. I do well with keeping potted plants alive, but starting plants from seeds is where I lack knowledge. My snake plants probably need to be re-potted. They’re so hardy and difficult to kill. And my orchid is nearly in full bloom. Funny, how many folks say that orchids are hard to keep, when that’s the only thing that I can keep alive. I find that a more hands-off approach works well with orchids. It’s when I try to re-pot or trim the roots is when I find myself in trouble.

  • Reply Lisa May 10, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Please do keep sharing your garden journal! I’m enjoying the tips!

  • Reply claudia May 19, 2019 at 2:03 am

    I’ve killed almost everything I’ve brought into this new apartment, but I’ve gotten a few more snake plants and a spider plant, and I have high hopes! love these gardening posts, someday I want to try similar things!

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