Best Way To Grow Basil Microgreens

Best Way To Grow Basil Microgreens

As a microgreen farrmer, knowing the best way to grow your basil microgreens will go a long way to determine the quality of your harvest.

Microgreens pack a nutritious punch and give a delicious crunch for sandwiches, soups and salads, and are also very healthy and refreshing. 

Studies have shown that basil microgreens contain 4-5 times the nutrient content of mature basil! Naturally, you would want to eat this raw to retain these nutrients. 

The growing of Basil microgreens includes several different methods. Some may need special equipment, while others do not. 

For an answer to your question, the best way to grow basil microgreens is by using a grow mat. 

This method can be used to produce young edible shoots of several different species of plants, such as radish, kale, beets, coriander, basil, amaranth and others.

We’ll be taking a look at this and other methods of growing basil microgreens including growing basil microgreens in soil and on wood shavings.

How To Grow Basil Microgreens Using A Grow Mat

In my view, a growing mat rather than soil is the easiest method of growing microgreens. The grow mats can be reused several times, it is clean and easy to use. However, you need some special equipment. That is, the mat itself. 

Microgreen grow mats can be made from many different materials that all work well (though some need to be watered more often than other ones). Among my favourites are:

  • Hemp grow mats (I like the biodegradeable ones or this hemp grow pad)
  • Jute grow mats (this one is a favorite).
  • Felt microgreen grow mats (My favorite felt one comes in an easy-to-use roll).
  • Wood fiber grow pads (I like this one as well as this one that is sized to fit a flat perfectly).

You need nursery flats without drainage holes, mats and seeds to grow basil microgreen as well as many of the other sprout varieties on a mat. That’s just it.     

Grow mat is a great choice for growing soil-free microgreens. 

Grow mats like these listed above allow for microgreens and sprouts without using soil.

How to Grow Other Microgreens on Grow Mats

Begin by cutting the mat in order to fit it into the bottom of the flat. Do not do this if the mat is already the right fit.

The next step is to soak the mat in water for some hours, no matter the material it’s made from. Soak the seeds in water for some hours too, while your mat is soaking.

Remove the surplus water from the flat.

Distribute the soaked seeds across the top of the mat. You don’t have to cover them with anything.

Place the flat on a sunny windowsill or under grow lights. Water it properly. Do not allow the grow mat to get dry.

After a few days, your basil microgreen seeds will germinate and grow.

The segmented microgreen tray allows you to grow several varieties at once using grow mats.

How To Grow Basil Microgreens In Soil

Planting seeds in soil is one way to grow microgreens, but it can be pretty messy. 

Only a few pieces of equipment are required for the job such as: 

  • Coir-based potting soil or organic potting soil 
  • A container without drainage holes, other containers can suffice too, like take-out containers, plant pots, and empty yogurt containers.

Steps for Growing Basil Microgreens in Soil

Begin by filling the flat or potting container with soil within one inch of the upper rim. 

Then, thickly sow the seeds. Since your basil are harvested young, they don’t need much space to develop. 

Water the seeds then spray a little dust of potting soil on the tray.

Place the tray in a sunny window or under grow lights. 

Keep the ground watered well, but keep in mind that it’s easy to overwater, especially if there are no drainage holes found on the bottom of the plate .. 

Basil Microgreens and other species are ready for harvest once their first set of true leaves are produced. 

Note: Do not use the potting soil again to produce more microgreen because nutrients are depleted. Empty the tray and grow the next round with fresh, potting soil. 

It’s easy to grow microgreens in the soil. For this reason, you can use nursery flats, pots or even manufactured bags.

How To Grow Basil Microgreens On Wood Shavings

Another way is to produce microgreen basils on wood shavings or “confetti.”   These are slightly more messy than growing mats and not reusable, but they are durable and compostable. You can purchase wood shavings from a feed store that are used for animal bedding, or better still, buy wood shavings specially made for microgreen production. 

Use the wood “confetti” to fill the flat instead of the soil, taking the same steps as growing microgreens in the soil. A few hours before filling the flat, I would suggest soaking shavings in water. There is an astonishing amount of moisture in the wood taps so they do not have to be watered as much as soil.

How To Grow Basil Microgreens On Growing Paper

Using growing paper is another clean and simple way of growing microgreens. It is created to hold moisture. It can have little rows to hold the seed in place or it can be smooth like the normal paper. But either way, growing paper is a lovely way to grow microgreens and sprouts. You can purchase sprouting papers here. Most of them come in sizes that  fit into a standard nursery tray.

Steps for Growing Microgreens on Growing Paper

Put the paper at the bottom of the tray.

Soak your paper for a couple of hours in water. Soak 2 spoons of seeds simultaneously in a cup of water. 

Drain the surplus water from the tray. 

Disseminate the seeds over the paper. You don’t need to cover the tray with  anything.

Make sure the paper remains consistently moist and if necessary, add water to the tray. 

Let the plants grow for a week or two before cutting off the sprouts (if you want to harvest as microgreen). 

The best micro-green seeds are organically grown.

Using A Kit To Grow Microgreens

When contemplating how to cultivate microgreens, your last choice is to use a commercial kit. That easy! 

Kits are easy to use, but they are just one way to grow sprouts. Sprout kits are simple to use, and tiered models allow you to simultaneously develop different kinds of sprout. 

Grow papers make it even easier to grow microgreens. 

When a seedling heat material is used under the growing flat or container, seeds & sprouts grow much faster. 

Let the seedlings grow until they develop their first true leaves when you grow microgreens. Then, make your harvest using a sharp pair of scissors or pruners with micro tips. Rinse them under cool running water and enjoy. When you plan on storing, don’t rinse the harvested microgreens. Instead, pack them in a plastic zipper-top bag and put them in the fridge. This way, they will last up to 4 or 5 days. Rinse when you are ready to eat.

Supplies Required To Grow Basil Microgreens

The tools you’ll need to grow your basil microgreens include:

  • Basil Seeds: your favourite variety
  • Container: Tray, preferably with drain holes
  • Potting Soil: Well-draining organic potting soil
  • Water: Filtered or non-chlorinated, if available
  • Light: Sunny window or grow lights

Step-by-step Guide to Growing Basil Microgreens in Soil

Setting Up

First of all, collect supplies for the cultivation of basil microgreens (or buy a small indoor gardening kit). Many practical kits for growing small amounts of basil microgreens are available, such as;

  • Mini Eco Planter for Organic Basil Seeds (Soilless, Passive Hydroponic)
  • Recycled Steel Windowsill Box Garden Kit with Organic Culinary Herbs
  • Basil Harvest Gift Set

   A good sized tray is 10×20 with a growth media of approximately 1 inch. You can also use any size you wish, for instance, a 5×5 tray can be used. 

Basil Microgreens can also be cultivated in a baking tin, old pick-away tray or a special microgreen tray. Make sure your selected tray / container has drain holes that can allow the escape of surplus water. It’s also a good idea to have a second tray under the growing tray (without holes) just to catch the water after it draines, so that it doesn’t end up on  the countertop. 

It is best to obtain quality seed from a local or online provider, since you will be needing basil seeds. 

Here are some basil microgreen seeds to try:

  • Italian Genovese Basil Seeds (Organic, Heirloom) – large size packet
  • Ciao Bella Organic Basil Blend Microgreens Seeds
  • Heirloom Thai Basil Seeds (Large Pack)
  • Certified Organic Basil Seeds – Choose Variety (small packets only)
  • Sweet Basil Microgreens Seeds

You will be needing potting soil if you are making use of the the soil method. You can use sterilized soil and may find it preferable to coconut coir, or a mixture of both.

For your potting soil, select a well-draining type. Some high-quality potting soils are specially created for growing plants from seeds. These “seed-starting mixes” are perfect for growing basil from seed, as well as high-quality all-purpose potting mixes. 

Some quality mixes out there include :

  • Burpee Natural Organic Premium Growing Mix
  • Espoma Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Mix, and
  • Dr. Earth Pot of Gold Organic All Purpose Potting Soil

There is also need for clean water and either sunlight or grow light.

Once you have the container and the growing medium, simply fill the container with soil, mist it with water  so it will be damp (clumpy) but not wet (muddy).

Ideally, the excess water is drained into a tray under the growing tray. 

If their roots get waterlogged, basil plants can “drown.” The  soil should have both air and water which are required for plants. You should be careful not to overwater them (and check for signs of excess moisture), if you cultivate it in a bakery tin or something without drainage. 

The plants are suffocated by saturating the soil for a long time. If it is saturated with water, there is not much space for air in the soil. The only time basil seeds can get a bit extra water is in the early germination process of growing basil from seeds. Once they have roots, let them dry a bit between waterings.

Seeding Time For Your Basil Microgreens

A fair estimate is 2 tablespoons of seed for your 10×20 tray or 1/4 tablespoon for a 5×5 tray. 

You must sprinkle these over the top of your growing medium. 

They may be 1 cm (1/2″) apart or closer to each other. Imagine that you sprinkle ground pepper on pasta. 

Sprinkle a small amount of soil on top of the tiny basil seeds (less than 1 cm or 1/2′′). It is all right, if every seed is not covered with soil. The seeds that are directly above the soil will grow and germinate even more quickly. 

Water your soil carefully until the top of the soil is saturated and the seeds have water contact. 

The seeds absorb soil water, so it has to be thoroughly moistened first. They’ll be surrounded by a gel sac and will not need watering until they germinate. 

The signs of germination should take about 2-3 days before they are seen.

Keeping Your Basil Microgreens Alive

Put the container in a warm area to aid in the germination of seeds. 

Keep the soil warm and moist as the seeds sprout into basil seedlings. If the environment is too dry to support sprouting, you will experience germination problems. 

Regularly water the sprouting basil  microgreen. The watering may be reduced once basil sprouts have been established. The greens may be almost ready at this point.

Watering them from the ground is not a smart idea because this will cause the seeds to swell, and this can result in clumping together of the seeds by reason of the gel around the seeds. A hand-held misting flask is the best way to water it. This way the seed do not move. 

Harvest Time

Make sure your plants are watered and monitored daily. In about 15 days, they will grow 2-3 inches long. They are ready to be harvested at this stage. 

Basil can be harvested as microgreen once the sprouts are several centimeters high. Yum! Basil microgreens make a beautiful pasta garnish or a perfect additon  to tomato salad. 

Save a few of the seedlings if you have too much basil seedlings to grow into big plants! Pot it up, enjoy it, or give it to friends. 

Basils are low growers.  Be sure to cut close to the soil to keep the full plant intact. Make sure that the whole plant is cut close to the ground intact. Take time during harvest to keep your scissors from catching excess soil.”

Considerations For Growing Microgreens In An Indoor Environment

Can you grow basil microgreens indoors? Yes! you can certainly grow basil microgreens indoors with a few tricks that mimic nature. Growing basil microgreens indoors rather than outdoors does require some special considerations to make sure your basil sprouts are healthy. Read on to learn about growing the healthiest greens.

Light is Key to Growing Basil Microgreens Indoors

Light is key to the growth of indoor basil microgreens. 

The most important thing is that ample light is given. Place your basil green tray where it gets plenty of light through the entire day if you have a sunny window.. 

Please note that basil plants enjoy 12 hours of light every day and require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to grow so  you should carefully pick your window. 

If you doubt that your basil gets enough light, get a plant light for yourself . It is    either you  buy a fantastic plant lighting or a standard fluorescent light. 

Recently, some indoor gardeners have been switching to low-cost compact LED plant lamps. Place the basil plant under the sun so that all rays are soaked up. Gardeners who grow basil microgreen under artificial lights normally set the light for 12-16 hours a day and each night for at least 8 hours of darkness.

The Right Climate For Your Basil Microgreens

Other environmental factors such as heat and humidity should also be taken into account.  It could be affected negatively by the cold if your microgreen trays are very close to a drafty window. 

Indoor moisture can also affect Basil. The dry winter air can dry the soil and dry the plant in heated homes. Consider using a moisturizer if the air is especially dry in your home.

Air Movement for Indoor-Grown Basil Microgreens

Basil sprouts improves from some sort of air movement. If there is no active air movement system in your house, a fan can be used to simulate the environment outside. Air movement helps your basil sprouts grow strongly and discourages diseases and pests.

Health Benefits of Basil Microgreens

Surprisingly, basil microgreen are full of nutrients. Protein, vitamin E, A, K, B6 and C; calcium, iron and zinc are also present in them, as is magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and even potassium!   

It adds up to a lot of benefits:           

Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-bacterial 

A variety of chemicals which are found in basil microgreens are known to minimize inflammation of the body and also to fight bacterial infections which includes citronells and linalol. 

This adds to your diet greatly, especially if you suffer from aches and pains. 

Bone Strength

Calcium in basil microgreens ensures your teeth and bones remain strong. The array of nutrients can also contribute to the elimination of osteoporosis.

Hormone Regulation

Your body requires protein, zinc, magnesium and several other nutrients found in this plant.  Adequate amounts of these will help to keep your hormones balanced. It will also help you stay healthy. 

Blood Clotting & Formation

The iron and vitamin K found in basil microgreens will help ensure that your blood clots properly after a cut and you have the maximum number of red blood cells possible. These are the cells which carry oxygen throughout your body, they are quite important.

In Conclusion

Growing basil microgreens is quite the exciting project! Use grow mats for the best experience while growing. Your welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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