Reposting of Windowsill Gardening: Micro-greens

(This is a post from a few Aprils ago to celebrate Earth Day, Every Day. I am re-posting it, because I think sprouting is a great way to start growing your own food.)

Sprouting is a great project to delve into, especially if you have no backyard garden to plant flowers and veggies. We have a patio, and my husband plants the flowers while I grow the herbs and some veggies. But “baby greens,” also called soil sprouts, gourmet sprouts, or micro-greens can be done on your windowsill. By sprouting organic seeds, you are growing locally and organically. How good is that?


Ready to harvest! Sunflower on the left
and buckwheat on the right.

Tools: Bowls for soaking seeds, strainers, small plastic tubs, organic garden soil, paper towels, dark plastic bags,

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Find some small containers, such as tubs from strawberries, tofu, or other foods that come in plastic containers. Wash and dry and fill with potting soil. (I buy organic soil from a local nursery and also may be able to obtain composted soil.)
  2. Soak about 1/2 cup of seeds of choice in jars or bowls overnight. Next day, strain and leave in the strainer to sprout a little before planting, maybe one or to days, rinsing the seeds at least once each day. You may not see any “tails” yet.
  3. On the second or third day, fill the tubs with soil and add water to soil to moisten. Spread the seeds onto the soil, shoulder-to-shoulder, that is, don’t worry about spacing. Moisten a piece of paper towel twice the size of the tub and fold in half over the seeds.  Moisten the paper towel. Cover with a dark plastic bag and tie off the end and then place on a warm windowsill. Check in 24 hours. If the paper towel is dry, moisten and place tub back in its mini-greenhouse.
  4. In 3 or 4 days you should see the black plastic looking higher than when you first planted the seeds. Time to remove the paper towel and black plastic and let the seeds sprout on your windowsill, giving them some water at least every other day or every day is the temperature on the sill dries out the soil.

Here are the micro-greens while they are still growing.
The black hulls are beginning to fall off.

5. By the time one week has passed, more or less depending on the temperature on your sill and whether or not it is a sunny window, the hulls will probably fall off by themselves and land on your windowsill, so putting a small tray under the tubs may be a good idea.

6. You can start cutting down the tallest sprouts and let the shorter ones come up now that they are not “shaded” by the earlier sprouts. The ones you cut down will not grow back, but you will get a second harvest from the shorter ones that were shaded by the earlier sprouts.

7. The micro-greens are full of nutrients, since if they were placed in the ground, they would become plants. And since they are eaten raw, none of the nutrients are destroyed, so only cut down what you can use each day, keeping them “alive” in the soil.

Add micro-greens to salads, sandwiches, as garnish for soups, sprinkled on celery stuffed with nut butters, in wraps and just to munch on!


This is a cooking-by-the-strings of your apron recipe, because a lot depends on the house temperature, the quality of the seeds, and “getting to know” what the seedlings need. I also soaked and planted peas to make pea shoots, and they spoiled before they sprouted and I had to compost them. So don’t worry if the first couple of times you have problems. You can email me at: with questions.



Windowsill Gardening: Sprouts & Microgreens

On Friday I held my last full-scale ZOOM cooking class on the topic of SPROUTS, my favorite topic. (New ZOOM classes to be announced soon.) Here are some photos and info that I gave as handouts to the participants. One or two people asked which were more nutritious: jar sprouts or microgreens grown in soil? The latter was shown by someone who Googled it, and I also looked it up today on this site: “Many studies have also shown that, depending on the variety, microgreens are more concentrated in nutritional value than their mature counterparts.” I suggest you go to this site for more nutritional info or click on “nutritional value” on the previous line.

Here are 4 previous postings on Sprouting from my website. If the link does not work, put the title (in bold below) in the SEARCH box on my Home Page. Thanx, ellensue

Bloom Microgreens: Small is Bountiful:…all-is-bountiful/

Spring is Sprouting: (3 recipes)

*The Sprout Book by Doug Evans: (Smoothie Recipe)

Spring into Sprouts! Earth Day Every Day…th-day-every-day/

Clover Sprouts for Spring (harvesting sprouts)…th-day-every-day/

I use sprouts in most of my salad recipes and as toppings on soups or bean/grain dishes, so these postings are focused on sprouts with recipes, but you will find sprouts as an ingredient in many of my recipes not necessarily labeled under sprouting.

*This book is the most current sprout book I own, which I reviewed. I have many other sprout books that I have accumulated over the years, but this one is quite comprehensive.

I also demonstrated how to harvest jar sprouts. Here is a photo followed by instructions for harvesting jar sprouts.

Basically, you fill a bowl with spouts and water with the water almost spilling over. The hulls are lighter and will gather around the edge.  The ungerminated seeds that are heavier will fall to the bottom. With your hand, gently scoop away the seeds gathered around the edges (compost them).

Then with a small strainer, lift the hulled sprouts only on the top of the bowl and place in a large colander with a bowl beneath to catch the excess water. What will be left in the water are the unhulled, heavier seeds that never sprouted. They can also be composted.

Place harvested and hulled sprouts in a strainer over a bowl near the window to receive sunlight and become green. I cover with the netting from the sprout jar and turn the sprouts around after 30 minutes to be sure they are not wet. When all the water has dripped (maybe one hour or more if you have a lot of sprouts) place in a  clean jar in fridge. (Use glass, not plastic, for sprouts to stay fresh longer, at least 10 days.)  Here’s what a jar of clover seed sprouts looks like when ready to put in the fridge.

I love sprouts and microgreens in my wraps, my salads, atop my soups, in stews and casseroles as a garnish and just on a cracker with avocado or cashew cheese.  Growing you own organic sprouts on your windowsill is about as local, fresh and organic as you can get!


10/25/21- P.S. My longtime sprout buddy, Jerry, sent me his notes after coming to class. Good suggestions! Thanx, Jerry.

    Purchase a metal screen for the large jars at a hardware store.  The thinner  material not only discolors, but develops holes through which the sprouts are lost when soaking and draining.  The sprouts come into very little direct contact with the metal screen.  Sprout Brothers sells a stainless steel lid, which works fine as long as it fits properly over the mouth of the jar.
    For the first two days of growth, I keep the glass jars covered with a towel, simulating the growth of the seeds in darkness in nature.  I make sure the mouth of the jar is open for circulation.
    Giving the sprouts a bath after three or four days is essential to keeping the sprouts free of mold and decaying odor.  I will gently pull the sprouts apart in the soaking pot.  If I put two jars of sprouts into the bath I usually fill the sprouts back into three jars, giving the sprouts room to breathe and expand.  Some sprouts, like radish and broccoli, will naturally have an off odor for the first four days..
    The mucilaginous sprouts like cabbage, arugala, quinoa, and mustard are best grown in a basket, as opposed to a jar or in soil. 
    I like your idea of filling the microgreen container with soil to the top.  This makes it easy to harvest the crop.

    I grow wheat in a jar.  After three days, I harvest the wheat sprouts and dehydrate them in the oven for a few hours at a low temperature.  I then mill the wheat into a flour, and use it to bake muffins; I also add it to oatmeal for a strong flavor.

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