Microgreens are essentially a variety of greens, lettuces, or herbs that are harvested at a young age, usually after they have developed their first true leaves. Gardeners often enjoy growing microgreens because they can be raised at any time of the year, due to their ability to thrive indoors (and outdoors in mild climates). Another reason why people enjoy having microgreens is because they usually do not take long to develop.
How long do microgreens take to grow? How long a microgreen takes to grow depends
on its unique variety. On average, most greens can germinate within 2 to 3 days
and are ready to harvest between 8 to 21 days.
As you can tell from this range, there are
fast-growing microgreens as well as slow-growing microgreens to consider. Some
of the faster-growing types take as little as eight to 15 days to grow, while
slower-growing varieties require up to 25 days before they are ready to
harvest. It all depends on the microgreen’s individual crop cycle.
The Microgreen Crop Cycle
Each microgreen plant undergoes the same type
of crop cycle, which starts with the gardener planting its seeds within a
designated tray. This step is followed by a blackout period, in which the
microgreen is left in a dark, humid environment to germinate. Next, is the sunlight
period, when the plant can begin to grow its first true leaves. Finally, there
is the harvest, during which time the gardener can then store or use the fresh
microgreens for a multitude of dishes.
As with any plant, the first step to growing microgreens is planting the seeds into your desired medium (soil-based, soil-less media, hydroponic).
Quick Tip: For a successful microgreen crop, we recommend that you scatter around 1 oz. of seeds across your of your tray. This ensures that you will get a more significant yield and will have an easier time harvesting the plants later.
Once you have sown your chosen microgreen
seeds in the tray and watered them, the microgreens are placed in a warm and
dark environment to officially begin their growing cycle.
Germination (Blackout) Period
The germination phase for microgreens happens
during this “blackout” period, in which the tray is covered with a dark lid (or
blackout dome) or dishtowel to create a dark, warm, and humid environment,
which is ideal for this process to take place.
It is during this period in which the growing
times of different microgreen types start to vary. For example, it can take
arugula around two to three days before its seeds germinate, while asparagus
can take as long as nine days. This is why there is such a large difference in
growing times for some microgreens when compared to others.
Not long after the microgreen seeds have
germinated, they are removed from the dark environment and placed under a
source of light for the duration of their growth phase (usually once they have
reached an inch to an inch-and-a-half in height).
Again, depending on the variety, microgreens
will also differ in growing times between when they are first introduced to
light and when they are ready to harvest. For a green like arugula, this may be
another two to three days, while asparagus will be an additional nine to 10.
Microgreens are ready to harvest once they have developed their first “true” leaves, or are about two to three inches tall. Due to the vast differences in germination and growing times, different microgreens will be ready to harvest at different times.
Most fast-growing microgreen varieties are considered the “easiest” to grow compared to other greens. They are usually ready to harvest in around 8 to 14 days. The following tables* list the crop cycles and their respective timelines for each microgreen type:
Other common fast-growing microgreen varieties
Cress (Cressida, Persian)
Slow-growing microgreens usually take around
16 to 25 days to grow before they are ready to harvest. Although their growth
period is more extended, these plants can be raised any time of the year,
similarly to fast-growing greens. However, some gardeners note that these
microgreens require more care due to their longer germination and growing
The following tables* list growing cycle
timelines for common slow-growing microgreen varieties. From the list, you will
notice that many of these plants consist of more herbs than vegetables.
*Note: There are many types of microgreens, some of which may not be included on either the fast-growing or slow-growing microgreen list. For more details on additional microgreens, see the comparison chart offered on the Johnny Seeds website; it has information about nearly every type of common microgreen available, and also mentions whether they are of the fast or slow-growing variety.
please note that many of the timetables mentioned here are averages. The exact
time in which your microgreens will be ready to harvest will depend on the
environment they are in, in addition to their variety.
Most microgreens only take between eight to 25
days to grow, making them ideal for gardeners who want to reap the rewards for
raising beautiful, nutritious greens in just a few weeks’ time. Because each
microgreen is different, their harvest time will depend on their variety, how
long it takes for them to germinate and grow, and the type of environment they
are raised in.
In conclusion, this eight to 25-day timeline offers just enough time for these plants to germinate in the dark, and thrive in the sunlight, before being ready to harvest. However, if you are feeling a little impatient, especially about a crop of possibly slower-growing microgreens, remember that good things come to those who wait, no matter how long.
AMAZON ASSOCIATES DISCLOSURE Microgreens Corner is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases.