Cauliflower is notoriously difficult to grow. Even with the growing tips from our guide on growing cauliflower, it takes quite a bit of commitment. If you’re after the nutrients without the hard work, we have the perfect alternative to grow: cauliflower microgreens!
Though it’s the exact same plant, cauliflower microgreens look drastically different. Instead of the classic, white head, you’ll get a bushel-full of vibrant, green leaves. The cauliflower plant is harvested right when the cotyledons open, which is very early in the plant’s natural life cycle. This means the whole process takes just over a week (perfect for gardeners with little patience). Besides being fast, this is one of the easiest microgreens to grow with a high success rate. It’s a great learning opportunity for beginners.
Cauliflower microgreens are as nutritious as they are easy to grow. Like most plants in the Brassicaceae family, they’re full of vitamins and minerals that can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Health benefits aside, they also have a deliciously crisp texture when eaten raw. They’re said to taste similar to mature cauliflower, but with a mild peppery flavor present in most other microgreens.
So whether you’re in this for the fast growth time or easy access to nutrients, choosing to grow cauliflower microgreens is a fairly easy way to start out your home microgreens garden. After just one harvest, we’re sure you’ll be hooked and love microgreens as much as we do!
Cauliflower Microgreens Quick Info
|Flavor:||Mild cauliflower taste|
|Ideal Harvest:||8-12 days|
Growing Cauliflower Microgreens
If this isn’t your first time growing microgreens, you’ll already have some of the supplies on hand. Each item is important, so be sure to fill in the blanks of your inventory before planting your own microgreens at home.
- Seed: choose high-quality cauliflower seeds from a reliable supplier, like True Leaf Market
- Growing medium: seed-starting mix or coconut coir
- Light: a T5 grow light is best
- Container: two shallow growing trays, one with drainage holes
- A misting bottle
- Kitchen shears
You can find some of our favorite True Leaf Market-supplied cauliflower seeds here:
- Igloo Cauliflower Microgreens
- Violetta Italia Cauliflower Microgreens
- All Year Round Cauliflower Microgreens
- Cheddar Cauliflower Seeds
As we mentioned earlier, microgreens aren’t a type of plant but a growth stage. You don’t need seeds specifically intended to grow microgreens. Any variety of cauliflower seeds will do the trick! For the best chance of a high seeding rate, use disease-free seeds from a reputable brand.
We know a pricier item like grow lights is tempting to skip, but we really do recommend it if you’re serious about growing microgreens. Grow lights give you perfect control over how much light your cauliflower microgreen gets. Most importantly though, you can position them directly above the growing tray, which ensures healthy and even growth. The alternative, placing them in a window, too often results in indirect sunlight and inconsistent microgreens growth.
Some microgreen seeds have a low seeding rate and need a pre-soak in cold water to jumpstart the germination process, but cauliflower is not one of them. These round, reddish-brown seeds have tender seed hulls that will break open easily on their own.
Using the tray with drainage holes, fill it ¾ full of a fine-grained growing medium. Seed-starting soil or coconut coir are both great choices. Smooth out the soil and tamp it down a little. That’s it for soil prep! Pretty easy, right?
Next, grab your seed packet and sprinkle the cauliflower seeds evenly across the soil. Cauliflower microgreens can be spaced more densely than other microgreens, so really crowd each seed in there. However, make sure there aren’t clumps of seeds overlapping. Gently press the microgreens seeds into the soil and give them a healthy misting of water.
Instead of covering the microgreens seeds gently with a thin layer of soil, we’ll use the second, hole-less growing tray. Set the bottom of it directly on top of the microgreens seeds. The tray should block out all light to the soil. For good measure, place a weight on top of the cover tray (up to 5 pounds). When the microgreens pop up, they’ll collectively push up the weight, which forces them to grow stronger and evenly.
Now that you’ve planted the cauliflower microgreen seeds, give them some time to germinate. Cauliflower only takes 2-3 days to germinate and has a good seeding rate, so peek in on them every day. After they’ve sprouted, continue to let the cauliflower microgreens grow under the cover, misting the growing medium as needed.
About 5 days after planting, your fast-growing microgreen sprouts will have lifted the cover. They’ll be at least an inch tall and very pale. This is your signal to remove the cover and switch on the light source. Hang the grow light 2-3 feet directly above the soil and microgreens. Turn the light source on for at least 12 hours each day.
Growing microgreens are easy and fast, but you’ll likely need to water them at least once before harvesting. We’re going to be bottom watering, which prevents bacteria growth by keeping the plants and soil surface dry. To do this, you only need the same microgreens tray you used as a cover (and water, of course!).
Fill your hole-less tray with a couple of inches of water. Instead of putting it back on top though, place the cover tray underneath your growing tray. This way, the soil will absorb the water through the drainage holes. Leave it for 10-15 minutes and then remove the tray. You should water like this whenever the soil starts to dry out.
After a few days in the light, your cauliflower microgreens will regain their color. The two-lobed cotyledons will be bright green, supported by white stems with pink highlights. The microgreens will also be 2-4 inches tall. These are all signs that it’s harvest time!
Using your kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the lower stems in bunches. You can harvest the cauliflower microgreens over the space of a few days or all at once. All the microgreens should be cut before harvest time is up – before the true green leaves grow in.
Cauliflower microgreens don’t regrow after harvest time, so toss the spent soil into your compost bin. You can remove the old roots and reuse them for another crop, but new, sterilized soil is recommended for growing healthy microgreens.
After you harvest microgreens, use them right away for optimal freshness. Add these leafy greens to your salad mix or as a garnish on hot or cold dishes. The nutrient-dense microgreens will add a fresh taste and numerous health benefits.
If you end up with more green leaves than you need, you can store microgreens at home for up to a week. After drying them off, wrap the microgreens in a paper towel. Then, place them in a sealed bag and put them in the fridge. You may need to change the paper towel as the microgreens release moisture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the disadvantages of microgreens?
A: Microgreens have a short storage and harvest time, so you need to keep up with them. Also, most microgreens don’t grow back after harvest, so you’ll need to replant every 2-3 weeks for a continual harvest.
Q: What are the healthiest microgreens to eat?
A: You really can’t go wrong with any microgreens since they’re usually vegetables with plenty of health benefits. However, anything from the Brassica genus is full of nutrients. Some of the most popular are kale microgreens and broccoli microgreens. The genus also includes brussels sprouts, collard greens, and of course, cauliflower microgreens!
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