The wonders of sprouts and microgreens

It's very easy, and rewarding, to grow your own nutrient-rich microgreens and sprouts, writes Penny Woodward.

You need very little space to grow sprouts.
Photo: istock

Although they won’t feed the family, sprouts and microgreens are surprisingly productive and will add fantastic nutrition to the diet. Not only that, food can be harvested in as little as three to five days so you can have a constant supply if managed well. The bonus is that sprouted seed and microgreens have higher concentrations of nutrients than the fully grown plant. 

All you need is a bench or windowsill and some easy-to-find equipment.

A good starting point

How do sprouts and microgreens differ? Sprouts are grown in water and you eat the tiny roots, seed, stem and barely developed leaves. Microgreens are grown in soil and you cut the stem and well-developed leaves just above the soil, leaving the roots behind. 

Microgreens are higher in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals than sprouts, because they have leaves that have started to photosynthesise. Red-leafed microgreens are higher in anthocyanins. Always use untreated seeds for sprouts and microgreens, preferably from an organic source.


Sprouts can be grown at any time, they are not seasonal, they do not need soil. Really any plant with edible seeds and leaves can be grown as sprouts, but some are easier to grow, more nutritious and delicious than others. 

All you need are the seeds, a jar, a porous cover (muslin material, absorbent kitchen cloth or similar) for the jar, a rubber band to hold it in place, and water. If you want to go more high tech, you can buy sprouting kits with perforated lids, or even domed multilevel sprouters.

Use only one type of seed per jar, as all seeds take slightly different times to sprout, but you can have several different jars going at once.

Traditionally, sprouts are added to salads, sandwiches, blended with vegies, scattered over an omelette, stirred into stir-frys, and used to garnish soups or stews.

To read the rest of Penny Woodward's feature about these windowsill wonders, which are easy to grow in small spaces, get a copy of the latest issue of Organic Gardener Magazine.

By: Penny Woodward

First published: December 2019

Related topics

Gardening Basics, Pots & Small Spaces, Growing microgreens and sprouts, nutritional plants, easy to grow, Issue 114 -- December 2019/January 2020, Getting started