Growing basil microgreens isn’t just easy, but you’ll enjoy seeing the process of germination and how these sprouts turn into seedlings.
Why everyone is after microgreens?
Because, of its abundant health benefits.
There are studies that show that microgreens have more nutrition than its fully grown counterparts and that too with low calories. Apart from this, these home grown microgreens are free from chemical filled pesticides.
You can actually eat them without cooked and they are extensively used to flavor the dishes and garnish your food.
Most people prefer to consume this super food in raw, so they don’t lose any nutrients.
Also Read: How to Grow Broccoli Microgreens?
Basil varieties: Which One Should I Prefer?
There are more than 20 basil varieties, but Genovese basil is one of them common basil that is used. However, few people opt for purple basil microgreens due to its artistic color.
Basil microgreens are packed with abundant health benefits when compared to fully grown basil leaves, which I’ll discuss later in this article.
Steps to grow any variety of basil microgreens at home are same. You can get the preferred basil seeds varieties from online or local store.
I prefer to grow both purple and Genovese basil. Purple basil seeds are costlier compared to other varieties.
Microgreens are small seedlings of the plant; they are packed with abundant nutrients as mentioned above and have stronger taste than fully grown basil. So you don’t have to be in a wrong perception that small plants means smaller flavor.
How to Grow Basil Microgreens at Home?
Best thing about growing any microgreens is that they just require shelf space, water and light to grow.
Depending on the microgreens, germination and growing takes in 15-20 days. Compared to other veggies, basil microgreens take more time to grow. However, you can expect to harvest them in 15 days.
Also Read: How to Grow Corn Microgreens?
What do you need to grow basil microgreens at home?
- Growing kit that includes three trays
- Coconut coir
- Genovese Basil seeds (or any other variety)
Steps: Growing Basil Microgreens Indoors
Instead of buying growing kits you can actually start with your own home available plastic trays.
One tray at the bottom that will be used to water microgreens, second tray is used to grow microgreens.
You second tray in which you filled coconut coir must have holes in it. This will allow extra water to drain and also helps seedlings to absorb water from third try which has water in it. (I’ll include a video at the end of the article you can check it.)
(Also Read: How Many Tomato Seeds per Hole?)
The third is to cover the second tray; this is used till basil microgreens seeds germinate. After that you can remove it.
Now, let’s start.
Also Read: How to Grow Beet Microgreens?
Fill your tray with coconut coir or potting soil mix. Many gardening experts recommend coconut coir to avoid any fungal infection.
Get basil microgreen seeds from local gardening store (or online) depending on the variety that you’d prefer to grow. As mentioned above Genovese basil is most common, you can take two types of basil seeds (purple and Genovese basil microgreens).
Based on your tray size, sprinkle basil seeds without soaking them, for instance you can grow 2 tablespoons of basil microgreens in 10×20 sized tray.
Note: You don’t have to put these seeds in a hole like you do when growing full fledge plants.
Step: 2 (Watering)
Using water sprinkler to water the sprinkled seeds.
After few seconds you’ll see a white gel is formed around the seeds. Don’t worry basil form mucilage gel that helps them to stick to soil and protect them till they germinate.
Over watering isn’t recommended.
Now, you don’t have to bother to water these seeds till germination. After germination, you must add 1 cup of water in the bottom tray. Don’t sprinkle or water directly on seedlings. You can see video included at the bottom of this article.
Tip: You must cover the tray with black lid or tray to give warmth to seeds. This will help faster germination. However, few gardening experts don’t recommend. You can try on your own.
Step: 3 (Germination)
Unlike other seeds, basil takes little longer time to germinate and grow. However, you can expect to harvest basil microgreens in 10-15 days depending on the climate.
In summer, you can expect faster germination and in winter it can be little longer.
Pro Tip: Once the seeds are fully germinated, place black try on it (microgreen growing tray) as mentioned above, but invert the tray. This is called blackout phase. This is recommended so that microgreens grow tall to some extent and it will be easy for you to harvest.
Also, you must place a weight or cover the black tray to avoid light.
How long is this blackout period?
Depending on the temperature and seed variety blackout period will be changed. From 48 hours to 4 days. However, you must check after 2 days to make sure the seedlings are well rooted and have grown stronger. You can remove the tray after this phase.
After 5-6 days you’ll see the microgreens are fully germinated and seedlings are grown tall enough. Now, place them under sunlight or grow led lights.
With ideal temperature, basil microgreens take 14 days to grow.
Step: 5 Harvesting
After 14-15 days you can harvest by using sharp knife or scissor. Preserve and use them in salads. With exceptional benefits and alluring flavor you’ll love to have microgreens in your food.
If you miss to harvest them on time, you may have to grow them into basil plants and not microgreens.
Ideal height when you must harvest is 2-3 inches tall with half circled leaves.
Tip: Before harvesting, stop watering them before 8 hours. This is to ensure the microgreens are a bit dried.
Also Read: Will Spinach Grow Back After Cutting?
How to Store Basil Microgreens after Harvest?
Harvest and put them in a clean glass jar. Wash them only before use, because dry microgreens stay longer.
You can store microgreens up to a week.
Gardening experts recommend to eat them raw, to reap all its nutritional benefits. Cooking it will destroy its health benefits.
Health Benefits of Basil Microgreens
Microgreens are fall between sprouts and baby plants. Its leaves and stem is edible and can be store about a week as mentioned above.
A research states that microgreens are nine times more nutritious than its mature greens.
Nutrients like potassium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, antioxidant and polyphenols are packed in microgreens.
This research states that microgreens are more nutritional than sprouts and fully grown plants.
- Antioxidants present in basil microgreens helps to reduce stress and diabetes.
- Polyphenols in this microgreens helps to fight various types of cancer in your body.
- Antioxidants and polyphenols both help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Regular intake of these nutrients will help reduce bad cholesterol and enhance healthy functioning of your heart.
- Calcium residing in this natural food help to strengthen teeth and bones.
- Zinc, magnesium and vitamins housed in basil microgreens regulate hormonal imbalance.
- Blood clotting and formation is also ensured due to rich amounts of iron and vitamin K in this microgreen.
- Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ability of basil can found in its microgreens too that can help you tackle infection and reduce inflammation.
- Prefer best quality seeds to ensure nutritional basil microgreens.
- To avoid washing away of seeds while watering, it’s recommended to use sprinkler.
- After germination, water from microgreens from below by placing a tray filled with water. Place your seed tray on this tray filled with water.
- Watering directly will damage your seedlings.
- If any of seed germinated in wrong direction, in initial stages cover it using potting mix soil or coconut coir.
- You can grow microgreens in greenhouse or on window sill.
- Don’t use any fertilizers or pesticides. Because microgreens are grown for its natural health benefits.
Watch this Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8DjJGR3wW8
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Basil Microgreens Take to Grow?
Compared to other microgreens basil may take little more time. Also, basil seed germination and growing may be affected by temperature change. In summer you can expect basil microgreens in 10-12 days, while in winter it may take 15-20 days.
What is Blackout Period?
All microgreens need darkness before they are exposed to sunlight. This phase of growing is commonly known as blackout period. It is essential because, it helps your microgreens to grow stronger and get ideal height.
As mentioned above, you can keep a black tray and place a weight for 2-3 days for faster germinated seeds. Basil seeds may need 3-4 days of blackout period, depending on the climate.
Note: Keep an eye on germination and seedlings, by seeing the germination process you can assess their growth stage.
When Should You Expose Microgreens to Light?
Once this blackout period is over, you can place the tray under grow lights or expose it to sunlight.
How to Harvest Basil Microgreens?
Process is same for all microgreens. Once the microgreens reach ideal height, you can cut the stem close but above the soil.
Too close to the soil can bring some soil particles with it and you might need to wash them.
How to Store Microgreens?
Avoid moisture on leaves. This is the ideal way to preserve microgreens for longer time.
Wrapping it up
Process of growing basil microgreens appears simple, but you must take extra care of seedlings. Else, you may end-up damaging them.