While sprouts are grown in a dark and wet medium, microgreens are grown in soil or soil-like materials such as peat mos and require high light levels, if possible natural sunlight, with low humidity and good air circulation.
Microgreens seeds are planted at much lower density compared to the seeds used to obtain sprouts. The time to obtain microgreens can vary from 1-2 weeks to even 4-6 weeks, depending on the variety you are using. Microgreens are ready to harvest when the leaves are fully expanded and can vary in size from 2.5 to 8 cm including the stem and leaves. They have fully developed cotyledon leaves and also may have one pair of very small, partially developed true leaves.
Smaller than baby-greens and harvested later than sprouts, microgreens have stronger flavors compared to sprouts and they can be sweet or spicy. They are also known for their wide selection of leaf shapes, textures and colors. The microgreens are nutrient-dense and make a healthy addition to salads and sandwiches.
To grow microgreens at home you will need a shallow plastic container with drainage holes, a piece of cardboard to fit into the container, some organic potting mix, and seeds. Put a layer of about 5 cm of moisten potting compost on the bottom of the container and then press it gently with the cardboard to obtain a flat, even surface. Scatter the seeds evenly over the soil and then press them lightly with the cardboard to fix them into the soil.
Add a layer of about 1 cm of fine sieved potting mix over the seeds. Place the container onto a drip tray and carefully water the seeds with a gentle shower. Put the tray on a sunny windowsill or under growing lights. Keep the soil consistently moist but drain off any excess water that collects in the drip tray after watering. The seed will germinate in 3 to 7 days depending on what type of seeds you use. 7 to 14 days after germination, depending on the variety, your microgreens should become ready to harvest.
To harvest your microgreens use a scissor and just cut them above the soil surface, excluding the roots. Use them quickly, as once you remove them from their growing medium, they will rapidly begin to elongate and lose color and flavor.