Basil microgreens can be grown by sowing the seeds on a moistened growing medium, covering them lightly with soil, and providing plenty of light and moisture. Basil microgreens prefer warm temperatures and require consistent watering to prevent the soil from drying out. With proper care, you can enjoy the distinctive aroma and flavor of basil in just a few weeks.
What You'll Learn
Select the Right Seeds
Choosing the right basil seeds is key for a successful microgreens harvest, so make sure you pick some that are high quality and will grow well!
Depending on your needs, you can select from bush or large-leaf types of basil. Bush varieties tend to be smaller but more compact when grown as microgreens, while large-leaf varieties have larger leaves with more flavor.
A variety selection may include sweet basils, such as Genovese or Thai; spicy basils like cinnamon or lemon; and aromatic basils like Holy or Greek. Determine what type of flavor profile you’re looking for in your finished product before selecting the type of seed.
When shopping for your basil seeds, look for those labeled non-GMO and organic if possible. Make sure to read the package directions carefully as all seeds will vary in terms of germination rate and how long it takes them to reach maturity when harvested as microgreens. Generally speaking, most types of basil will take 7–14 days to reach their full size once planted.
Once you’ve selected the right type of seed for your needs, it’s time to prepare it for planting. Soak the seeds overnight in room temperature water before sowing them onto moistened growing medium—a mixture of potting soil and compost works well here too—and cover lightly with additional soil mix until they begin to sprout.
Place the tray near a light source that provides at least 12 hours per day and keep an eye on moisture levels throughout the growing process—too little water can lead to wilting while too much can cause mold growth or rot! Providing adequate light and moisture is essential for healthy growth during this stage so take extra care not to overwater or leave your trays out in direct sunlight where they may dry out quickly.
After a few weeks, you’ll be able to harvest vibrant green clusters of flavorful microgreens perfect for salads, sandwiches, soups, pestos—the possibilities are endless!
Prepare the Growing Medium
Preparing the growing medium for basil microgreens is an important step in the process. You’ll need to use a soilless mix, as this’ll provide all the nutrients and moisture your basil needs to thrive.
Once you have the mix, make sure to moisten it before sowing your seeds. This’ll ensure that your microgreens get off to a great start!
Use a Soilless Mix
For the best results, it’s wise to use a soilless mix when growing basil microgreens; after all, you get out what you put in. Soilless mixes are ideal for container gardening and they provide the perfect environment for seed germination.
Here are some benefits of using a soilless mix for your basil microgreen project:
- It supplies essential nutrients necessary for healthy growth
- It helps retain moisture without becoming waterlogged
- Its structure supports adequate aeration
- It is sterile and free from weed seeds or other potential contaminants
- It is lightweight and easier to work with than soil
- It can improve soil structure and drainage.
Moisten the Growing Medium
Once the soilless mix is ready, it’s time to make sure it’s properly moistened for your basil microgreen project. Depending on the size of your container selection, you’ll need to decide how much water and soil amendments are necessary to saturate the mix.
To start, fill a bucket with warm water and slowly pour over the soilless mix until it feels evenly saturated throughout. You can lightly press down on some of the mix with your fingertips to check if there are still dry areas needing more moisture.
Once all of the growing medium is moistened, let any excess water drain off before transferring into containers for sowing seeds.
Sow the Seeds
Sow the basil seeds evenly on your growing medium, making sure they are lightly covered. It’s important to ensure that the seeds are not too deep in the soil – typically no more than a 1/8 inch, as this will reduce their ability to sprout. If you want larger yields from your basil microgreens, aim for a seeding depth of about 1/16 inch.
You should also check the soil fertility before sowing your seeds, as this will impact how well they germinate and grow. Adding fertilizer to the soil can help boost its fertility and ensure that all of your basil microgreens have enough nutrients for healthy growth.
Once you have planted your seeds, it is important to keep them consistently moist until they start sprouting. As soon as you see small seedlings emerging from the soil, cut back on watering slightly so that they don’t become waterlogged and drown in moisture. You should also provide adequate light for your basil seedlings; either direct sunlight or artificial lighting works fine for most varieties of basil microgreens. Make sure that whatever light source you choose is bright enough to promote healthy growth without scorching or burning them!
When it comes time to harvest your crop of basil microgreens, make sure you wait until the plants are at least several inches tall before cutting them at ground level with scissors or shears. This will allow them to continue growing for a few more weeks after harvesting if desired! Afterward, be sure to compost any leftover plant material so that it can enrich future crops and keep those beneficial microbes alive in the soil!
It’s important to remember when growing basil microgreens that consistency is key – regular watering and light exposure are essential for success! With just a bit of patience and attention, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh batches of fragrant herbs whenever you please!
Cover the Growing Medium
Once you have your seeds ready, cover the growing medium lightly and keep it moistened to ensure your basil microgreens have everything they need for a healthy start! The purpose of covering the growing medium is to protect the germinating seeds from drying out while still providing air circulation and light.
A thin layer of soil or compost will do the trick – just enough to prevent evaporation. It’s important to not use too much soil, as this can impede oxygen flow and slow down growth.
Be sure to check moisture levels regularly, as basil microgreens require consistent dampness for their nutrient needs. Water lightly every day, either with a mist sprayer or by hand-watering with a watering can or jug. If using tap water, let it sit overnight before use so that chlorine has time to evaporate off.
When looking for signs that seedlings are ready to be uncovered, look for two true leaves at least an inch long – once these appear, it’s safe to uncover them entirely from the soil/compost layer.
If you’re keeping your basil microgreens indoors on a windowsill or under grow lights, cover them with some kind of fabric such as burlap or cheesecloth during their first few days in order to give them extra protection from light intensity and temperature fluctuations while still allowing some air circulation. Once temperatures are stable (around 18°C) you can remove this extra cover if desired.
It’s also beneficial if you can provide some kind of shade structure outside when growing basil microgreens outdoors; this will help regulate temperatures and prevent wilting due to direct sunlight exposure during hot summer months.
Keeping your plants well covered will give them what they need for optimal growth – healthy soil conditions and consistent moisture levels – leaving yourself with delicious homegrown basil microgreens!
Provide the Right Amount of Light and Moisture
Now that you’ve covered your growing medium, it’s essential to provide the right amount of light and moisture for your basil microgreens. Appropriate light intensity and watering techniques are key to ensuring healthy growth and a good harvest.
When it comes to light intensity, your basil microgreens need at least four hours of direct sunlight each day, or eight hours of indirect sunlight. Positioning them in a sunny spot on a windowsill is an ideal option if you don’t have access to an outdoor garden space. If natural sunlight isn’t available, then grow lights can be used as an effective alternative.
Just like any other plant, basil microgreens need regular watering in order to thrive. To ensure that soil doesn’t become overly dry, use the “finger test”- stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle; if it feels wet then there’s no need for additional water yet; however, if it feels dry or just slightly damp then water lightly until the top layer of soil is moistened but not soaked through. Watering too much can lead to root rot so caution is advised when using this method!
After two weeks or so, you should begin to see small shoots emerging from the soil – this means that your basil microgreens are ready for harvesting! Keep an eye out for signs of yellowing leaves which may indicate overwatering or too little air circulation around the plants – take corrective measures as soon as possible in order maintain healthy growth and prevent disease or pest infestation from happening.
Harvest the Microgreens
Harvesting your basil microgreens is incredibly easy – after two weeks or so, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of the hard work you put in! On average, one tablespoon of seeds will yield around 2 ounces of basil microgreens.
When it comes time to harvest your microgreens, there are a few key techniques that can help ensure you get the most out of your crop. Start by snipping off individual leaves with scissors when they’re large enough for eating, and avoid cutting too close to the stem as this could damage future growth. Then, use a sharp knife to cut off larger clumps from the base at soil level.
Once you’ve harvested all the greens, prepare them for storage by lightly rinsing in cold water and patting dry with paper towels or using a salad spinner if possible. This will help keep them fresher for longer periods of time. You can store basil microgreens in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days before using them or freezing them for later use.
With proper harvesting techniques and appropriate storage methods, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh basil microgreens whenever you need them!