soak: No; not necessary for these seeds.
rinse/drain: No, also not necessary!
Time to germinate: 2-3 days
Time to harvest: 8-12 days
Step 1 – Getting Ready
You’re going to need the seeds; you’ll have to make sure they come from a reputable company or you may find they are poor growers or even infected.
You’ll also need a growing tray, 10×20 should suffice. It will need drainage holes and you’ll want a second tray that slots under this one to hold the water.
Your growing medium can be sterilized soil, or you may prefer to use coconut coir and earthworm castings; this provides your plants with extra nutrients while preventing your growing medium from getting too wet. It’s very effective!
An empty and clean spray bottle is also a good idea.
Start by adding your growing medium to the grow tray, but don’t pat t down too firmly or the roots of your seeds will struggle to find a way through.
Step 2 – Planting
The next step is to moisten the soil thoroughly. You can pour water over it but you’ll need to give it 30-60 minutes for the excess water to drain out and into the water tray.
Then sprinkle your seeds across the top of the growing medium, approximately 1.25oz of seeds should do a 10×20 tray.
You now need to very lightly mist the seeds with your spray bottle of water. Then, add a lid to your tray; making it dark for your seeds.
Slide the entire growing unit into a dark area where you can easily access them. You’ll want to keep the room temperature between 60°F and 70°F. Lift the lid every day to lightly mist them and check that they are okay.
On day 2 or 3 you’ll see the first signs of germination.
Step 3 – Sunlight
Your microgreens are now ready for some light, this will help them to grow. You can use a grow light, artificial light or indirect sunlight. They don’t generally like direct sunlight as it dries them out too quickly.
If you want you can add something transparent but moderately heavy to the top of the growing medium. The theory is that this will make the plants struggle more; ensuring they are stronger and healthier when you’re ready to harvest them.
It is important to keep feeing the soil and ensure it stays moist.
Top Tip: If watering conventionally do this from the side of the tray, this will prevent the weight of the water squashing your plants.
A better option is to maintain water in the water tray. Providing the growing medium is no more than 1-2 inches deep, the plants will stretch their roots down and get the water they need.
When your kale microgreens are between 8-12 days old they’ll be ready to harvest. The leaves should be green and open. You can sample a few each day until you have the flavor you like the most.