How to Grow Kale Microgreens Fast and Easy
Kale microgreens are some of the faster and easier to grow micros out there, making them a great starter crop for beginners. It’s hard to mess these up! They perform equally well hydroponically or in soil. However, if you are harvesting them past the 10 day mark I would recommend either growing in soil or supplementing your hydroponic media with some nutrients.
The cultivar that I prefer to grow is Red Russian Kale, mostly due to the beautiful coloration on the stem — a light, pinkish-red hue that paints a stark contrast with the green leaves. It’s a cheap seed to get as well.
Kale Microgreens Quick Info
- Flavor: fresh, milder than most other brassicas.
- Soak – No
- Rinse / Drain – No
- Germination – 2-3 days
- Ideal Harvest – 8-12 days
You can either watch the full grow-along video or follow the step-by-step guide. Either way, let’s get growing!
Everything you need to grow kale microgreens.
Most of what you need to grow kale microgreens you can find around your house. Aside from the seeds, of course. I like to buy in bulk because I grow commercially, but you can use seed packets found at the local garden store if you want. Otherwise, look to a reputable seed company online (like Everwilde Farms, where I buy my seed).
- Container (I use 10×20 plant growing trays)
- Potting soil (I use a 50/50 mix of organic potting soil and coconut coir)
- Light (I use a 4′ T5 CFL grow light if growing indoors)
- Seeds (I buy mine from Everwilde Farms)
- Spray bottle
Fill your container just below the brim 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. As mentioned above, you can grow these hydroponically as well, but I prefer soil for flavor reasons.
If growing in a 10×20 tray, use around 1-1.25oz of seed for the tray, doing your best to distribute as evenly as possible. I use an old spice shaker to get a good distribution, but you can do well with your hands or a simple glass too.
After planting, lightly mist the seeds once more and cover them with something that will keep out all light. I grow in 10×20 plant propagation trays, so I like to use another 10×20 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 micros to make sure they’re germinating and to mist them lightly with water. You should see most of your seeds germinate within 3 days – if not, something went wrong (usually temperature or bad seed).
After 3-4 days, your micros are ready for the sun. At this point, you have the option of putting something on top of your container to press down on the young seedlings to stress them a bit before putting out in the sun. People do this to force the plant to struggle, meaning a larger, more healthy plant.
For the next week or so, be sure to water your plants regularly – but don’t overdo it, especially in the middle of the tray. That’s an easy way to get mold or fungus. The amount you have to water will depend on two things:
- Are you growing with sunlight or artificial light? You’ll have to water more if growing in the sun.
- How deep is your growing medium? You’ll have to water less the deeper it is.
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, where they straddle the line between microgreens and baby greens, but that’s up to you.
When harvesting, it’s important to use a technique that avoids the need to wash your greens. Washing greens will dramatically reduce their shelf life as well as waste a lot of your time. Provided you’ve grown in a clean, safe environment and you harvest in a way that avoids debris, you can completely skip washing your greens.
The way I do this is with an extremely sharp knife, slicing through about 1/2″ above the soil line at an angle. This way I dodge the soil completely and quite a bit of the seed husks as well, as they are usually near the bottom of the stem.
Kale microgreens typically yield a minimum of a 5:1 ratio of greens to seeds, meaning that you should get at least 5oz of greens off of 1oz of seed. I typically get 9-10oz off of my trays though!
Make sure your kale micros are completely dry and store them in a sealed container in your fridge. They should last at least a week, if not longer.