Winter Starts and Microgreens

Winter is almost over, yet at the beginning of this season we were determined to bring more greens into our home during the cold months. We focused on microgreens and experimented with several methods. We used two mixes from Johnny’s Seeds, one was mild and the other spicy, mostly brassica mix.

Fresh and nutritious addition to any dish.

First, sprouts. Simple, straight forward, you just need a sprouting tray or jar with a mesh lid. You get sprouts in a few days after keeping the seeds moist and rinsing them. Downside is that you often can’t rinse off the seeds and the whole mix sometimes gets slimy.

Microgreens in a tray.

Next, microgreens in a shallow tray of soil. The temperature needs to be warm enough for germination, so grow under lights or a sunny window. You can seed them profusely by scattering them thickly over the soil. Sprouts come up in a thick mat, and you can snip them off as you need them, and you can continue to let them grow. Less mess than sprouts and the seeds stay separated in the soil. One rinse and you’re ready to go.

Aquaponics Microgreens – 5 days

Last method was to sow the seeds directly over the gravel in my indoor aquaponics system. We have a 12” x 24” unit with grow lights that fits over our 50-gallon fish tank. This method by far is the easiest. I sprinkle the seeds over the gravel and cover the trays for one day with a damp paper towel. Within 3 days I have short sprouts that I can harvest with a scissor and within a week I have big sprouts for a whole salad. I also can grow lettuce, parsley, celery or any leafy greens quite easily in this system.

Harvesting Microgreens


Microgreens mixed with lettuces and leafy greens.

Though our aquaponics system is no longer being sold there are a wide range of units out there for sale on the internet as well as plenty of do-it-yourself systems shared on Youtube.

Go and have some fun exploring but whatever you do…give this a try. We look forward to greens every winter now.

Since it is March however our fish will soon be moved outdoors to our 100-gallon system with three good-sized growing beds. More on that coming up in a later post.

Aquaponics System at Midwest Permaculture

Best… Will





3 thoughts on “Winter Starts and Microgreens”

  1. Hi Bill,
    Your blog on microgreens is very timely for us. We would like to grow them on a somewhat larger scale. We have been reading how Curtis Stone aka The Urban Farmer does it but cannot find a source of the germination mix he uses. What did you use for a soil mix when you did it that way?
    As always your content is great. Thanks for all you do for the planet.

    1. I myself grow microgreens and use 1 2.8 cubic ft container mix and 2 40 lb compost/manures. We get about 34 2 cell 10×20 trays filled up to the top with each batch. We mix in a water trough and like to air out the compost/manure a day before sowing to help keep down mold. You could use the container mix only (or potting mix) but it’s about 3x more expensive than the compost/manure and also sterilized (we like the living compost). The good thing is that all that soil makes its way into our garden after we’re done!

  2. Fantastic ideas Will! Thanks for sharing. Living in Miichigan, its often difficult to get FRESH greens and this looks do-able to me. Gonna put my hubby to work for next years’ winter project!

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