Broccoli microgreens are one of the easiest and quickest microgreens to grow.
Not only that, but broccoli microgreens pack a lot of nutrition and health benefits in a small serving size.
Almost every microgreen vendor at farmers markets carry broccoli microgreens, one of the reasons is because they're one of the most well-known microgreens among consumers.
There are many good reasons for the broccoli microgreen 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 as well as discuss the nutritional value of broccoli microgreens.
Advantages to Broccoli Microgreens
Broccoli is a very commonly bought vegetable in the grocery stores. Most vegetable departments stock heads of broccoli right as you walk into the department.
However, broccoli is also one of the most hated vegetables, especially with 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.
That's too bad because broccoli is loaded with nutrition.
But broccoli microgreens are much sweeter, 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 necessary steps you'll need to grow them.
If you're more interested in the nutritional information, click this link to skip down 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 be eating your homegrown microgreens. Beginning growers will get to see the whole process happen in about a week, and that keeps then interested in growing microgreens.
Keeping interest in growing microgreens high is especially important if you're including your kids or grandchildren in the process.
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 to see a video of each step, take a look at 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. You can click images to expand their size.
Note: Some of the 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 later use much less soil and are therefore more economical.
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. 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.
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. If you see depressions or high spots on the soil, use your fingers to level the surface.
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 you'd 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.
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 working 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 out 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.
Now it's time to prepare the broccoli seeds to germinate. Use the spray bottle again and wet the seeds. 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 is one that doesn't have holes and will hold water. Use a similar size tray, like in the Home Microgreen Kit, or you can use a larger tray.
Place a cover on the seeds upside down, so the lid makes contact with the seeds and holds them on the soil surface.
If the cover is clear 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 need to 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 as well as the weight as they grow.
Don't do anything for 2-days. Just let the seeds germinate and grow. The cover will retain enough moisture for the seeds to grow.
On day 2 take a look at the seeds. You'll see that germination has taken place 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 and 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 a bit 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.
On the third day, we removed the cover and placed the tray under an LED light. If these were a slower growing microgreen, we would've kept them covered. But as you'll see they 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. I think it's best to give them as much light as possible.
After all, light is where the plants get their energy to grow. Whether it be sunlight, cheap LED lighting, or a special grow light, give them as much as you can. 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.
Let the broccoli microgreens grow and give them water from the bottom. Here's where the watering tray comes into play. Memorize how the weight of the dry tray feels. Judging the weight this way is how you'll know when to water again.
Add water to the watering tray, a quarter of an inch works at first. 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 up 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.
Every other day check the weight of the tray to see if it needs water. The need will depend on the humidity and amount of air moving across the tray.
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 8-days.
Harvest broccoli while the leaves are in the cotyledon stage, before the first true leaves form.
To harvest, tip the tray about 45-degrees over a cutting board or a large plate and using stainless steel scissors, or a very sharp knife cut the microgreens just above the soil surface.
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 it off.
It's always recommended to wash microgreens before you use them (I don't if they are dry and clean) to be sure no bacteria is on the microgreens.
Only cut what you're going to use that day. 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. Squeeze the air out of the bag and store the microgreens in the refrigerator crisper.
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.
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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 that is reported to help fight cancer.
You can download a chart presenting the vitamins and minerals for the most commonly grown microgreens by clicking the button below.
For more in-depth nutritional information about broccoli microgreen and sprouts, you can visit this page.
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, on sandwiches, and in egg dishes. Put broccoli microgreens on a burger and enjoy a more flavorful, crunchy, topping than regular lettuce.
Interested in Growing Broccoli Microgreens?
If you'd like to try growing your own broccoli microgreens at home use the buttons below to take a look at the kit or if you have the supplies, the broccoli microgreen seeds.
Have a Question?
If you have any questions about the information in this post or microgreens, in general, please leave a comment below or reach out to me using the Ask a Question page.
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