Broccoli microgreens are one of the easiest and quickest microgreens to grow.
Besides that, broccoli microgreens pack a lot of nutrition and health benefits in a small serving size.
Almost every microgreen vendor at farmers’ markets carries broccoli microgreens. One of the reasons is that they’re one of the most well-known microgreens among consumers.
There are many good reasons for the broccoli microgreen’s popularity. For foodies and chefs, broccoli microgreens add freshness, a crunchy texture, and a much less bitter broccoli flavor (than mature broccoli) to food.
For the home grower, broccoli microgreens are the easiest microgreens to grow. Follow a few easy steps, and you’ll be eating broccoli microgreens within a week.
This article will outline those steps and discuss broccoli microgreens’ nutritional value.
Advantages of Broccoli Microgreens
Broccoli is a very commonly bought vegetable in grocery stores—most vegetable departments stock heads of broccoli right as you walk into the department.
- Advantages of Broccoli Microgreens
- Growing Broccoli Microgreens
- How to Grow Broccoli Microgreens
- Ten Easy Steps
- Step 1 Getting the Tray Ready
- Step 2 Wet the Soil
- Step 3 How Much Broccoli Seed to Sow?
- Step 4 Sow the Broccoli Seed
- Step 5 Putting the Broccoli Tray in the Weighted Blackout
- Step 6 Just Wait – Do Nothing
- Step 7 Remove Seeds From the Weighted Blackout
- Step 8 Place the Broccoli Microgreens Under Light
- Step 9 Water and Let Them Grow
- Step 10 Ready to Harvest Your Broccoli Microgreens
- Simple Right?
- Broccoli Microgreen Nutrition & Flavor
- Broccoli Microgreen Flavor and How to Use Them
However, broccoli is also among the most hated vegetables, especially for kids.
Young taste buds find broccoli to be very bitter, and let’s face it, the smell of cooked broccoli isn’t that appealing either.
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That’s too bad because broccoli is loaded with nutrition.
But broccoli microgreens are much sweeter and have little to no smell because you don’t need to cook or steam the living bejesus out of them to make them tender.
Plus, studies (I’ll outline these in a post and link it here when published – or you can join the update list and be notified when new articles are published – plus get a free guide!) have concluded the following about broccoli microgreens (others as well).
“The relatively high nutritional value of broccoli microgreens compared to the vegetable is consistent with previous studies reporting that produce at early growth stages (i.e., sprouts, microgreens, “baby” vegetables) are denser sources of nutrition than their mature counterparts.”
Growing Broccoli Microgreens
Before we get into the nutritional value of broccoli microgreens, let me outline the few steps you’ll need to grow them.
If you’re more interested in the nutritional information, click this link to skip to that section.
How to Grow Broccoli Microgreens
Since broccoli microgreens are so easy to grow, they’re an excellent variety for first-time growers to sow, raise, and harvest.
The seeds are easy to handle, germinate and grow quickly, are easy to harvest, and provide a ton of flavor and crunchy texture to food.
Within 8-days of planting the seed, you can eat your homegrown microgreens. Beginning growers will see the whole process happen in about a week, which keeps them interested in growing microgreens.
Keeping interest in growing microgreens high is especially important if you include your kids or grandchildren.
Kids will be more willing to eat what they grow themselves.
Ten Easy Steps
Below is a list of the ten steps to growing broccoli microgreens.
For a more detailed explanation and a video of each step, look at the article Growing Microgreens for the First Time.
Here are the steps using the Home Microgreen Kit. If you don’t have the kit, the photos will show you what supplies you need to grow microgreens.
Note: Some images below are of the beta Home Microgreens Trays (opaque trays & red lids). The black trays and opaque lids are the new Home Microgreens Trays. Both are similar-sized, but the latter uses much less soil and is, therefore, more economical.
Step 1 Getting the Tray Ready
Add a premium potting mix to the planting tray. A planting tray needs small holes in the bottom so water can be drawn up from below instead of top watering once the greens have germinated.
The soil should be firmly compacted and level just below the top of the tray. Please read this article on why I believe it’s better to grow in soil.
Even though we had problems growing microgreens on jute mats, broccoli might be one of the microgreens that will grow well on fiber mats. Still, broccoli grown on soil is fool-proof.
Step 2 Wet the Soil
Use a spray bottle to wet the soil surface with un-chlorinated water. Allow the water to soak into the soil, then respray the surface. Use your fingers to level the surface if you see depressions or high spots on the soil.
Step 3 How Much Broccoli Seed to Sow?
The variety of broccoli we grow and sell is called Waltham broccoli.
Add your broccoli seeds to a shaker bottle. A shaker bottle will allow you to spread the seeds more evenly. There are between 6,000 to 6,500 broccoli seeds in an ounce. That’s between 210 and 230 seeds per gram.
For broccoli, you want about 18 seeds per square inch. So if your planting tray surface is 37.5 square inches, add 3.3 grams of Waltham broccoli seeds to your shaker bottle. Below is a photo of 3.3-grams broccoli microgreen seeds, or a little less than a teaspoon.
Step 4 Sow the Broccoli Seed
Now that the soil surface is prepared, and the broccoli seeds are in the shaker bottle, it’s time to sow them.
Start sprinkling seeds onto the soil in concentric circles around the planting tray. It’s helpful to hold your spare hand around the tray so seeds don’t bounce out.
Spread the seeds as evenly as possible across the surface. You may need to unscrew the top off the sprinkler bottle to get the last few seeds out of the bottle. Once all the seeds are out of the bottle, use your finger to spread clumps of seeds to areas with fewer seeds.
Don’t worry if the seeds aren’t perfectly spaced. The seeds will grow, and the plants will spread out to fill the voids.
Step 5 Putting the Broccoli Tray in the Weighted Blackout
Now it’s time to prepare the broccoli seeds to germinate. Use the spray bottle again and wet the seeds.
Again, go easy so the seeds don’t fly off the tray. The water will also help settle the seeds into the soil.
Place the planting tray inside the watering tray. A watering tray does not have holes and will hold water. Use a similar-size tray, like in the Home Microgreen Kit, or a larger one.
The next part of this step is called the weighted blackout method. I wrote a detailed article on the weighted blackout method if you want more information on the process than what is listed below.
Place a cover on the seeds upside down so the lid makes contact with them and holds them on the soil surface.
If the cover is transparent or opaque, use a tea towel over the tray to keep light off the seeds.
Most microgreens can be left on the soil surface, but they must be covered to keep light off them while they germinate (we’re testing this now to be sure).
You can place a weight on top so the cover doesn’t come off. Don’t worry; the growing plants are vigorous and will lift the cover and the weight as they grow.
Step 6 Just Wait – Do Nothing
Don’t do anything for two days. Just let the seeds germinate and grow. The cover will retain enough moisture for the seeds to grow.
Step 7 Remove Seeds From the Weighted Blackout
On day 2, take a look at the seeds. You’ll see that germination has occurred, and the broccoli seedlings are growing!
At this point, you have a decision to make.
If the germination rate looks good and the seedlings have some stems and cotyledon leaves, you can remove the lid and allow the young plants to receive light.
If they’re smaller, like the ones below, or there isn’t a lot of germination, check the soil surface to see if it is dry. If so, use the spray bottle, wet the surface again, and place the cover back over the tray.
Let the seeds germinate for another day or two before checking on them again.
The broccoli seedlings in the photo below aren’t ready to be placed under lights yet. The germination rate is reasonable, but the plants need to grow more.
In the case above, we put the cover back on for one more day. Below is the same tray on day three.
The white fibers are root hairs, not fungus. We could have covered these plants one more day, but we didn’t.
Step 8 Place the Broccoli Microgreens Under Light
On the third day, we removed the cover and placed the tray under an LED light. If these were slower-growing microgreens, we would’ve kept them covered. But as you’ll see, the broccoli plants grow fast.
Now that the broccoli microgreens have germinated and started to root and grow, it’s time to get them in some light. There’s a lot of discussion about what light is best for microgreens. But, of course, giving them as much light as possible is best.
After all, light is where plants get their energy to grow. Give them as much as you can, whether it be sunlight, cheap LED lighting, or a special grow light. Don’t fret over it. Just do the best you can with what you have.
If the plants look white or yellowish, don’t worry. Once they receive light, they will turn dark green. If the soil surface looks dry, use the spray bottle to wet the surface. But this will be the last time you use the spray bottle.
Step 9 Water and Let Them Grow
Let the broccoli microgreens grow and give them water from the bottom. Here’s where the watering tray comes into play. First, memorize how the weight of the dry tray feels.
You’ll know when to water again by judging the weight this way.
Add water to the watering tray; a quarter of an inch works. Set the planting tray in the water and allow it to absorb the water from below. Watering from the bottom keeps the leaves and stems dry, eliminating the possibility of damping off disease and stopping soil from splashing on the plants.
The first time you water, you may have to add more water because the majority of the soil in the tray is dry. Afterward, you won’t need to add as much water.
Check the tray’s weight every other day to see if it needs water. The need will depend on the humidity and amount of air moving across the tray.
Step 10 Ready to Harvest Your Broccoli Microgreens
After 8- to 10 days, the broccoli microgreens will be 2 1/2- to 3 inches tall and are ready to harvest.
The broccoli plants in the photo below grew for eight days.
To harvest, tip the tray about 45 degrees over a cutting board or a large plate and cut the microgreens just above the soil surface using stainless steel scissors or a sharp knife.
Like I’m doing with the edible chrysanthemum below.
Try not to disturb the soil. If some soil does spill, it’s okay; use your hands to fluff the cut microgreens. The soil particles will fall to the board or plate, where you can wipe them off.
It’s always recommended to wash microgreens before using them to ensure no bacteria are on them.
Only cut what you’re going to use that day. Then, replace the growing tray under the light and let them grow so more.
If you can’t use all of your broccoli microgreens before they grow too tall and leggy, cut them and place them in a zip-lock bag with several small slits cut in the bag. Don’t wash the microgreens at this point.
You want them dry, as they will stay fresher longer, check out this article on storing microgreens.
That’s all there is to growing broccoli microgreens. If you have any questions feel free to use the comment section below the article to ask. I’ll get right back to you.
Broccoli Microgreen Nutrition & Flavor
Broccoli microgreens have high levels of Vitamin A, C, K, Folate, and the mineral magnesium.
They also contain potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, and zinc.
Like the mature vegetable, broccoli microgreens also contain oxidants and sulforaphane, a compound reported to help fight cancer.
I have published a detailed article on broccoli nutrition; click here to visit the article.
Broccoli Microgreen Flavor and How to Use Them
Broccoli microgreens add a fresh, crunchy flavor to your foods.
They have a pleasant earthy flavor similar to mature broccoli but not as bitter and strong. To me, they taste a lot like mild cabbage.
We’ve used broccoli microgreens in salads, sandwiches, and egg dishes. Put broccoli microgreens on a burger and enjoy a more flavorful, crunchy topping than regular lettuce.