How to Grow Kale Microgreens in 5 Easy Steps

Kale microgreens are one of the fastest and easiest-to-grow options, making them a great starter for beginners. Kevin Espiritu shows you how to grow kale microgreens in five easy steps.

How to grow kale microgreens


If you’ve never tried growing microgreens indoors, you’re missing out. These adorable greens are perfect for impatient gardeners, ready to harvest in less than two weeks. Plus, they’re packed with flavor and nutrients, ideal for topping your salads or sandwiches.

Kale microgreens are one of the fastest and easiest-to-grow options, making them a great starter for beginners. Follow these five easy steps to go from seed to harvest in as little as 10 days.

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What You’ll Need

Close up of microgreens in a wood tray with a pair of red scissors next to it.
It doesn’t take much to get your microgreen garden started.

One of the great bonuses of growing kale microgreens is you don’t need much to get started. In fact, most of what you need to grow kale microgreens can be found around your house (aside from the seeds, of course).

The cultivar I prefer to grow is Red Russian Kale, mostly due to the beautiful coloration on the stem. Its light, pinkish-red hue provides a stark contrast against the green leaves. Dwarf Blue Curled Kale is another interesting option if you prefer blue hues.

Next, you’ll need a container. You can use any shallow container, as long as it has drainage at the bottom. Seed starting trays are my go-to if you have some extras lying around.

To fill the container, you need a light and well-draining soil mix. I use a mixture of equal parts potting soil and coconut coir to boost drainage while retaining enough moisture to boost growth.

Finally, consider your available sunlight. If you don’t have a sunny window that receives several hours of direct sun per day, you may want to invest in an indoor grow light. They are also great for starting seeds indoors in cooler climates and will give you a steady supply of microgreens year-round.

How To Grow Kale Microgreens

Woman picking through trays of red and green micro greens on a table.
There are a lot of really great products that will help your microgreen endeavors be a success.

With all your supplies gathered, it’s time to get planting.

Step 1: Plant

Close up of black, plastic seedling trays with tiny, green sprouts.
Lightly pat soil in your trays to avoid making it harder for seeds to take root.

Fill your container just below the rim with soil, mist it, and pat it down slightly. Don’t compact the soil too much or the roots will have a rough time digging in.

Remove the seeds from the packaging and sprinkle them on top of the soil, doing your best to distribute them as evenly as possible. I use an old spice shaker to get a good distribution, but hands work too.

Step 2: Cover

Metal shelf with several black, plastic trays with clear covers fitted over the trays. Each tray top is dripping with condensation inside the container.
Covering your trays will help to keep your seedlings from drying out.

After planting, lightly mist the seeds and cover them with something that will keep out all light. I like to use another tray flipped upside down. But as long as you keep it dark, anything will work.

Over the next few days, check in on your kale microgreens to ensure they’re germinating. Also mist them lightly with water to stop the soil from drying out. The soil should be damp, never soggy or waterlogged.

You should see most of your seeds germinate within three days. If not, the soil temperatures may not be high enough to encourage germination. In that case, you’ll need to sow again and place the tray on a heating mat.

Step 3: Add Light

Close up of a small, clear, plastic tray of green sprouts sitting in the sunlight.
Your microgreen seedlings will need at least 4 hours of sun or a grow light per day.

After around four days, your microgreens are ready for the sun. Move them to a sunny windowsill or place the tray under a grow light. Aim to provide around four hours of sun per day, preferably more in winter to stop the microgreens from becoming leggy.

If you’re using a windowsill, where the light is coming from one direction rather than above, rotate the tray occasionally to prevent uneven growth.

Step 4: Water Regularly

A variety of clear, plastic trays of bright green microgreens being watered by a mist spray from a garden hose.
Depending on what tray type you have, your watering habits may vary.

For the next week or so, water your plants regularly. Don’t overdo it, especially in the middle of the tray, as that will encourage mold or fungus.

The amount you have to water will depend on two things: light source and tray depth. Trays in sunlight will need water more often than trays under grow lights. Shallow trays will need water more often than deep trays.

Step 5: Harvest

Close up of a woman trimming a small container of microgreens with a pair of scissors.
Harvest unwashed microgreens in order to maintain a longer shelf life.

Around ten days after planting, your kale microgreens should be ready to harvest. You can let them grow longer and pass into the true leaf stage, straddling the line between microgreens and baby greens, but that’s up to you.

When harvesting, avoid washing your greens. Washing microgreens will dramatically reduce their shelf life. Provided you’ve grown in a clean, safe environment, trimming above the soil and keeping the leaves clean should be enough when harvesting.

I do this with a sharp knife, slicing about half an inch above the soil line at an angle. This way, I dodge the soil completely and quite a bit of the seed husks, as they are usually near the bottom of the stem.

Ensure your kale microgreens are completely dry and store them in a sealed ​container in your fridge. They should last at least a week, if not longer.

Final Thoughts

If you’re new to growing microgreens, kale is a great way to start. Follow this method for a consistent supply of delicious and nutritious kale microgreens.

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