While kale microgreens have a somewhat delicate name, the process of growing them in your garden is pretty simple. You don’t even need special equipment or large garden space to start since it can hydroponically nurture well. Just a basic understanding of how to grow kale microgreens, and that’s what we’re going to tackle here.
Whether you’re a gardening buff or someone with a growing love for nourishing plants, this guide could be useful in helping you grow a heap of fresh, wholesome kale microgreens.
Equipment Needed to Grow Kale Microgreens
One doesn’t require an urgent visit to a local tool shop to grow microgreens. Most pieces of equipment are easily accessible around your home. Hence, making it a sought-after plant in many gardens.
Here’s a list of supplies you will need:
- Kale microgreen seeds – you can purchase them either in the form of a distinct blend of microgreen seeds or regular vegetable seeds (the former is ideal for beginners)
- Soil – with organic potting soil as the preferable option
- Growing Medium – it could be a container, hemp mats, tray, or whatever medium you opt for maturating the kale
- Light – natural (sunny window) or artificial method (grow lights)
- Spray Bottle – as possible, use a new spray bottle to make sure it is free from chemicals
- pH test kit/strips – to check the water’s pH level
- Nutrients (optional) – specifically recommended if you intend to grow the kale microgreens hydroponically.
How to Grow Kale Microgreens in Soil?
Before everything else, prepare the seeds, a growing medium, and an empty spray bottle. The kale microgreen seeds you’re going to use must be from a reputable supplier. This one is important, or else you will end up with infected or weak growing plants.
If you intend to use a tray, a 10×20 dimension is sufficient. Get two trays – one to hold the plants and another to store the water underneath. Your growing medium could be sterilized soil for added nutrients to ensure it will grow bloomingly.
Some use earthworm castings, while others find coconut coir a much ideal alternative. Besides the adequate amount of nutrients your plants will get, they are also well-sheltered from extreme wet.
Stock up the tray or container with soil. Spread the seeds across the soil surface. You don’t have to overcrowd since the kale plants won’t be in there for longer, neither get it to space out uniformly or even out seamlessly.
Take a little bit more soil and then scatter over the microgreen seeds. Press down your hands lightly to lay them inside. Be sure not to compress too much.
For the last planting step, give your kale plants an appropriate drink of water. Use a clean spray bottle to do so. But be cautious! You don’t want them to dip in a pool of water. As long as they’re incredibly moist, you are good to go on the next step.
Only use a light-tight cover to keep all the sources of light out. Assuming you are using a 10×20 plant breeding tray, you can use the same tray measurement to cover the plants by flipping it upturned. Any covering materials will work, though, providing you keep the plants in absolute darkness.
After two or three days and you notice the initial signs of germination, it’s time to give your kale some light. Place the growing medium in an area where the sun loves to show up. Another alternative is to put it directly beneath a grow light. See the instructions indicated on the product to know how close the light should be and other related information.
Watering doesn’t only stop after the planting process. Like flowers and other plants, you also need to ensure the kale microgreens are receiving adequate water after uncovering them. You don’t have to mist them. Just pour small amounts directly inside the container or tray. Either use a hydroponic solution or water using pH balanced water.
What makes microgreens a popular indoor and outdoor plant is how quickly they develop. Within ten to twelve days, you can have them on your kitchen table and enjoy their healthful benefits.
To harvest, cut in the stem base with a sharp blade. You will know the plants are ready to harvest if the leaves are wide open and green. Rinse and dry well, then put between damp paper towels in a ziplock or plastic bag.
Store in your refrigerator to lengthen their shelf life. You can get them whenever you want to prepare healthy dishes.
How to Grow Kale Microgreens with a Grow Mat?
Soak the Mat and Seeds
First, you have to cut the mat with a size fitted to the growing medium you’re going to use. But if you already have a pre-cut mat, you can skip this step. Now, soak the grow mat and seeds in water for quite a few hours – around 6 to 8 hours (ideally for seeds).
Put the Grow Mat
Place the grow mat of your choice in a propagation tray or container. Sprinkle with a suggested amount of seeds as evenly as possible.
Keep in Dark
You may choose to put the plants in a moisture arena and keep them in the dark for up to four days. It promotes stalwart rooting and high sprouting.
Place Under A Natural or Grow Light
Otherwise, omit the step above and allow the plants to have access to sunlight or grow light. They will need it for approximately 8 to 10 hours regularly. It should not be too damp.
Give A Good Spray
While waiting for the new growth, mist with water once or twice every day. It will keep the mat properly saturated as well. Never allow it to dry out.
It’s Harvest Time!
Once ready, get a scissor, and harvest your crop. Enjoy having those delectable greens on your plate!
How to Grow Kale Microgreens on Wood Shavings?
This propagation process is sometimes called confetti. Wood shavings are not reusable and could be somewhat cluttered compared to other methods here.
But on a positive note, our mother nature would definitely approve of it to breed your kale microgreens due to its sustainable feature. Not to mention compostable.
Purchase it from the feed store or one specifically tailored for growing microgreens. The process is similar to flourishing kale plants in soil, only that you have to use the wood for stuffing the flat.
Soak the Wood Shavings
You first need to soak the wood shavings in water for a handful of hours, then fill in the flat. Put a little bit into place.
Sprinkle the seeds squarely over the surface. You should leave some space between the seeds. Let’s say a half-centimeter or up to three centimeters.
Another good thing about using wood shavings is that they require less water since they have a decent amount of moisture. Be careful not to overdo watering the plants.
Care for Plants
Your seeds have now germinated. Finally! Allow the plants to get enough sunlight directly through the sun rays or grow light. Doing so will encourage healthy growth.
Grab a pair of scissors or a blade and then cut off piece by piece. Wash around three to four times before drying out on a paper towel. Store in a tightly sealed vessel until you are ready to use for your favorite recipes.
How to Grow Kale Microgreens on Growing Paper?
If you are looking for a clean alternative to wood shavings, the growing paper might satiate your interest. It holds moisture too. There’s no need to cut it out because most are perfectly sized to fit any standard container or tray.
Soak the Paper
Soak for quite a few hours and do the same for the seeds as well. Have two tablespoons of kale seeds and put them in a clean glass or cup along with water.
Place In The Tray
Get the growing paper and place it in the lowermost of a container or tray. Make sure to exhaust surplus water thoroughly.
Spread out the seeds across the paper. Using this method will require less intricate work as you won’t have to prepare any covering supply. Just leave it as it should be.
Spray a virtuous amount of water as necessary to keep the paper moist and further assist with fast, healthful sprouting.
And just as you do in soil, mats, and wood shavings, set the plants in a sunny window or have a grow light in your space.
Ready to Harvest
The seedlings usually take one week or so to sprout before ready to cut off and consume.
How Can You Speed Up Growth?
We understand the excitement of picking your healthy kale microgreens after a few days of planting and taking care of them. Although relatively small, these green plants are a massive trend you can usually find anywhere – from food stores to corner cafes and restaurants. Add them to your sandwich, salad, and any recipes you adore.
However, do remember that growing kale microgreens is not all about reaping benefits. There are hitches, too, such as the likelihood of getting the plants infested or slow growth. To avoid such a scenario, the following are essential tips you should start taking on board now.
Tip #1: Invest in A Commercial Kit
Kale microgreens do not support expensive planting and growth, so a commercial kit is optional. But since we are talking about fast sprouting, why not take the valuable risk? You can choose a simple sprouter medium. If you like a fancy option, there’s an array of commercial kits with implanted seeds in the grow mat.
Tip #2: Consider the Best Lighting
Unless you’re living in an area where summer, spring, or fall mostly arises, you should not worry too much about your plants getting adequate sunlight. A window that faces west or east is your best pick. In case your climate temperature continually deals with winter, your plants need a sunny south-facing windowsill.
Kale microgreens are typically reaped very early than traditional plants, so spending hundreds of dollars on an over-the-top grow light is not recommended. Go for starker options, such as tabletop or gooseneck light. Another low-cost alternative is the fluorescent bulb. So long as it perfectly fits the tray or container.
When using a commercial grow light, leave it on for sixteen to eighteen hours daily. Some have an automatic timer feature so you can sleep at peace or do other errands without checking the time recurrently. It automatically turns the light off as soon as the plants have reached the desired light intensity.
Tip #3: Use A Heat Mat
A heat mat has been a go-to option when it comes to fast-tracking microgreen growth, and we’re sure you will also love adding it to your gardening supplies. It is waterproof initially used for seed starting. But today, many gardeners and plant enthusiasts are relying on it to nurture seeds quickly than before.
What this mat basically does is elevate the soil temperature – approximately ten degrees. Hence, creating an ideal environment for quick plant propagation. Fret not, as this material won’t cost you huge bucks. It comes at a relatively cheap price tag designed for long-term use.
Tip #4: Add Organic Fertilizer
Kale can protect itself against pests. However, its shielding capabilities have limitations as well. Cutworms, aphids, etc., can heavily affect your harvest.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, consider adding organic fertilizer. It is a natural, effective way to prevent diseases and pests from ruining your effort and lovely greens.
Tip #5: Plant Alongside Bordering Plants
As the saying goes, no man is an island. People tend to live happier and healthier in the company of others. The same goes for kale plants.
They generally flourish along with herbs and other varieties, including beetroot and cabbage. Not only will you get the germination faster, but you will also enjoy a fruitful of nourishing plants in your garden or backyard.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Kale Microgreens?
Most have been acquainted that the larger the plant is, the more health benefits it contains. Kale microgreens prove otherwise. They are among the lush greens with a high volume of nutrients.
It is believed to have more than 40 times the nutrients compared to adult kale, and a study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry authenticates this report.
So, if you want to add a big punch to your diet without breaking the bank, we highly suggest having your own small garden of kale microgreens. Share its wholesome chews with your neighbor!
Let’s explore the nutritional benefits below:
More Vitamins & Minerals
Kale microgreens are among the best sources of minerals and vitamins C & K. They are additionally stuffed with folate, manganese, and several other nutrients.
All of the vitamins and minerals contained in a whole cabbage or lettuce are compressed in this small leafy vegetable. Integrate a few servings into your diet to achieve the health of your dream.
Health & Wellbeing
A cup of raw kale microgreens can keep the doctor away. It boasts 80 milligrams of vitamin C to boost immunity – preventing common colds and viruses. Your body will certainly need this miraculous plant as it can also assist with healthier skin.
And did you know that kales are filled with over thirty times more antioxidant properties compared to similar plants? These cover polyphenols, beta-carotene, and flavonoids.
Gut Microbes backs up the statement about the benefits of kale in your digestive health. It contains prebiotic fibers that can arouse the growth of intestinal bacteria. Vitamins B and C promote absorption of iron – crucial for converting food into energy.
You can now drop your worry about the side effects of consuming over-the-counter supplement pills. Substitute it with kale instead, thanks to the water and fiber in the plants. You’ll quickly feel fuller to prevent extreme food cravings.
The fiber also aids with managing diabetes. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, have a delicious intake of kale, and your blood sugar would thank you.
The carotene included in kale helps protect eye cells. Eating it more often could lessen expensive visits to the optometrist. Especially for adults, you will need an amount of it to keep your vision for longer.
A small research published by The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states that microgreens could reduce cholesterol levels in an individual.
Glucosinolate content is a significant component in kale plants that helps combat cancer. It activates phase 2 detoxification enzymes, which are responsible for removing carcinogens from the body.
According to this study, adding more vegetables to your plate could minimize the risk of heart complications. Several studies have shown how beneficial microgreens are for maintaining a stronger heart all year round.
What Pests/Diseases Can Damage Microgreens and How to Stop Them?
Even with cute tiny size, kale microgreens are prone to different pests and diseases as well. That’s why you need to check them from time to time, alongside using natural solutions. How severe the issue depends on where the plants mature. You may only encounter one, or in worst cases, all of the pest infections or diseases.
According to professionals, Phytophthora and Pythium are the graver threats to your kale and other types of microgreens. They target the roots and stems. It might be due to overcrowded seeds or no air circulation at all.
- Check the humidity, temperature, spacing, and tray or any growing medium you have
- Practice appropriate sanitation whenever you plant and reap your crops
- Use organic fungicides – either purchase one at a local store or make your own
To prepare a solution, mix hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar (four teaspoons each) with water. For removing garden pests, you can have peppermint soap spray or organic garden pest control.
Regrettably, your problem doesn’t only revolve around those annoying pests and diseases. You may also notice other issues, like:
Mold develops a spider-web strand in the tray. Along with fungi, it prospers without suitable lighting, drainage, and airflow. Try using an organic solution while reducing seed density and moisture level. Ignoring the first symptoms will allow them to climb over your plant stems and ruin your harvests entirely.
Soaking the seeds overnight already attracts pathogens. As possible, soak them in a sanitizer to control the spread or growth.
It takes for kale seeds to sprout approximately two to four days. If it is taking you a bit longer, something’s not right. In some cases, you may notice the plants have patchy growth. Perhaps the seeds are overly dry, or they lack enough light.
Have a hard time getting a uniform seed distribution? Seeds that are too compact are also likely to clump together. As a solution, ensure to sprinkle seeds more equally in the container. Minimize the seed quantity you plant.
It is a rare problem that usually occurs as a result of insufficient lighting. Remember that microgreens regularly need a good source of light to give you bountiful produce. Put the tray close to a stronger light and take off the cover earlier.
Planting the seeds too densely is like taking the plant’s breathe away. It will get drained and promote mold escalation. Seeds have varying sizes and weights, so finding how much you will need is quite tricky. Just measure the seed weight, and you’re off to go.
Kale Microgreens Vs. Kale Sprouts (Which is Better?)
Sprouts and microgreens are interchangeable, though they possess a unique definition, breeding process, and healthy benefits.
Kale sprouts require specialty seeds and clean supplies to prepare, take under one week to nurture, and are used in several dishes, while kale microgreens only take a number of days to grow and are packed with flavor and nutritional value.
Deciding which is better between the two is a matter of personal preference, so we recommend exploring both.
How Much Light Do Kale Microgreens Need?
Kale can tolerate partial and full sun for 8 to 10 hours a day. Some only require less light, around 4 to 6 hours every day. If the sun barely shows up in your location, you can use LED glow light instead and let it run for a maximum of 18 hours.
What Temperature Does Kale Microgreens Need?
Whether in summer or warmer conditions, these nutritious greens can yield good harvests with a temperature from 55 to 75 ° F (13 to 24 ° C). The optimum temperature is between 60 and 70° F (16 to 21° C). Anything beyond these figures could delay germination and increase the risk of disease.
How Long Do Kale Microgreens Take to Grow?
One of the most desirable things about owning some pots of kale microgreens is that you can harvest them within ten days. Sure, some seeds require more time to develop. But in particular, you can expect them to grow up to 12 days or a bit more before completely cutting off.
Do Kale Microgreens Regrow After Harvest?
Microgreens comprise of different varieties. Some regrow by cutting numerous times (like peas), while others do not. Unfortunately, kale microgreens fall in the latter part.
How Should You Harvest Kale Microgreens?
As we have indicated above, you need to cut the stem and take the leaves. When cutting, ensure it is beyond the level of the breeding medium.
How Should You Store Kale Microgreens?
Nothing beats the freshness and organic nutrition of eating newly harvest kale microgreens. But since it is made for prolonged consumption, best to store them in an airtight container. Don’t leave them damp inside if you don’t want to deal with mush later on.
Why Are My Kale Microgreens Falling Over?
Lack of water and over-seeding is considered the core reasons why kale falls over. Ventilation and air pressure could also cause the plants to grow weaker. You may want to consider humidity, temperature, and nutrients as well.
Kale Microgreens Flavor + How to Use Them
Eating this microgreen won’t give you a bitter or nasty flavor, providing you follow the right method to grow and harvest it. The taste is comparable to other leafy veggies – with a milder and a bit sweeter signature taste. Use it as you would use other greens, such as adding into soups, topping up sandwiches, and more.
How Do You Prevent Damping Off?
Contaminated or shortage of airflow can lead to mold and wilt. Efficient air movement strengthens kale transpiration and provides enough room for CO2 supply. Having fresh air would suppress minor to somber issues about mold, rot, and pests.
Kale is one of the faces of organic, healthy uprisings today. Well-known for its health benefits – preventing cancer, diabetes, and many related diseases. Growing it in your garden doesn’t need to be laborious and pricey, and we hope you found a true companion with this guide.