Articles such as this one on how to grow chervil microgreens are my favorites.
Because it's a lot of fun growing new and different microgreens. We have been on a roll lately. First, there are these chervil microgreens, and before that, we published an article on edible chrysanthemums.
Soon we will also go back to the old school with Brussel sprouts. We also have several other varieties in the cabinet waiting to be thrown onto some soil.
Growing the same old microgreens becomes mindless and somewhat tedious if I'm honest.
If you want to try to grow something different, these Curled Chervil microgreens is an excellent choice.
Chervil microgreens are easy to grow. The seed is different (no need to worry if these seeds will roll out of the tray). The true leaves are beautiful. Even the cotyledons look different from most microgreens.
Before we get into how to grow chervil microgreens (click this link if you want to skip down), we should introduce chervil as it isn't as common as most herbs.
What is Chervil?
Chervil is in the parsley and carrot family and has been grown as a herb for thousands of years.
Chervil comes from Latin and ancient Greek and means "Leaves of Joy."
Chervil is native to the Caucasus, but the Romans transplanted it throughout Europe. Eventually, it made its way to North America.
Usually grown as a annual, it can escape cultivation and become established over a wide geographical range. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7. However, it prefers cooler climates, and the heat of the south will kill it.
Therefore, not only can you grow this incredible herb as a microgreen, you can set aside a few seeds and grow it in your garden across much of the world.
What Do You Do With Chervil Microgreens?
The French use chervil as is, but they also blend it with parsley, chives, and tarragon to form a mix they call “fines herbes.”
This French herb mix is used to flavor soups, seafood, and sauces (see below).
Like most microgreens, they can be sprinkled over soups, salads, casseroles, roasted vegetables, potatoes, and pasta.
The French incorporate these microgreens into compound butter and sauces and can be added to oils. Chervil flavors Bearnaise sauce and other buttery sauces, cheese-based spreads, or sauces accompanying meats.
It pairs well with venison, steak, poultry, fish, and scallops.
Chervil is not lost among vegetarians. It goes well with tofu, mushrooms, pine nuts and almonds, asparagus, peas, and spinach.
Besides being beautiful and flavorful, chervil also has some nutritional benefits.
Chervil is a good source of vitamins A, C, and E. These antioxidants have been shown to help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
The greens contain calcium, copper, iron, potassium, and zinc.
How to Grow Chervil Microgreens
Ok, let's get to planting a tray of chervil microgreens.
If you have read my other articles, we will use the weighted blackout method with the seed sown on top of the soil.
Now, if you're not familiar with those terms, you can most likely get an idea from the photos included in this article, or you can watch a video on the process by clicking this link.
Where to Buy Chervil Microgreen Seed?
Well, in the Home Microgreens Store! We sell seed pre-packaged for the Home Microgreens Tray, 1010 Trays, or by the Ounce and 4-ounce bags. Seed for many microgreen varieties is also available in 1-pound bags.
Click to Visit the Home Microgreens Store to see the seed selection.
Click to see Chervil Microgreen Seed in the Home Microgreens Store
How Much Chervil Seed?
Our recommended seeding density for Curled Chervil is as follows.
- Home Microgreens Tray - 2.6-grams
- 1010 Tray - 7.0-grams
- 1020 Tray - 13-grams
You can play around with these seeding rates. They could be a bit dense, and you will get better plants using less seed. However, I wouldn't seed trays thicker than our recommended seeding rates.
As you can see (click any image to expand it for better viewing), chervil seed looks much different than other microgreens seeds. You don't have to worry about the seeds rolling or bouncing out of the tray!
The correct seeding density depends on a few variables. These include:
- Germination rate,
- Media used for growing,
- Light intensely,
- How long you let the microgreens grow (harvest at cotyledon or true leaf stage), and
- Personal preference or your vision of a "perfect tray."
However, my recommendations for seeding rates are a great place to start. More on this in a future podcast.
See my microgreen seed density calculator if you want my other recommended seeding rates (bookmark it!).
Sowing Chervil Seed
There is no need to soak the seed.
Chervil isn't a seed where you can use a shaker jar. Instead, spread the seed as evenly as you can on a level soil surface that is pre-tamped and pre-wetted.
Don't wet the whole soil profile, only the upper one-third. The seeds do not need moisture at the bottom of the tray. Extra moisture can only cause issues later on in the growing cycle.
However, chervil seeds take longer than most microgreens to germinate.
Once the seeds have been sown on the soil media, use a mister bottle and give the seeds a good two or three mists to wet the seed thoroughly.
The tray above is a Home Microgreens Tray. The area is about 38 square inches. These work great if you grow many different varieties or if you grow for only one or two people.
I've used the same trays for over 3-years.
Weighted Blackout for Chervil Seed
Place the planted chervil tray in a weighted blackout. The weighted blackout is where you cover the seed with a lid or cover that pushes the seed onto the soil tight. It makes for better seed-to-soil contact, and it retains moisture.
For the Home Microgreens tray, we use 2-1/2-pounds. So for 1010 trays, a 5-pound weight, and for 1020 trays, either 10 or 15 pounds.
Once the lid and weight have been added, cover the set-up with a tea towel to reduce the light.
More Than One Tray?
Many times we plant more than one tray on any particular day. We stack trays one on top of each other and then place the weight on top.
The extra weight won't hurt the seeds.
Try to place the seeds that may germinate sooner toward the top of the stack.
The only downfall to this method is the plants can throw off the upper trays and weight if they feel like it.
How Long Before Chervil Seed Germinates?
It will take 5- to 7-days for the seeds to germinate. Maybe 4-days if the temperatures are above 75-degrees.
The tray shown above with the chervil seeds was planted on Christmas Day. The photo below was taken on New Years Day. They are not ready to put under the lights yet.
When to Remove Chervil Microgreens from Blackout
We took the tray of chervil microgreens out of the blackout 9-days after sowing.
Our place isn't the warmest during the winter months, especially where we grew these. So the timing may be less by a couple of days.
However, don't get caught up in the "how many days" thing.
Removing microgreens from blackout is more visual practice than crossing days off a calendar thing.
When you chervil microgreens look like those below, remove them from the blackout and get them ready to be placed under lights.
What Do I Mean "Get Them Ready to be Placed Under Lights?
We need to do two things before we place them under lights so the microgreens can turn green and grow.
Remember (by feeling) the weight of the tray as you take it out of the blackout.
This tray is dry, or nearly so, and the chervil needs water. But before we quench its thirst, we want to remember how this tray feels in our hands.
Because we will water the microgreens again when the tray feels this weight.
Overwatering is the biggest mistake new growers - all growers - make. We like schedules; schedules make things easier to remember, so we believe microgreens need to be watered on a schedule.
But in reality, things change, such as the humidity, growing rates, foliage mass, loss of soil to root ratio, air movement, etc.
Schedules are a human invention that plants and nature haven't learned yet. There may be cycles, but there ain't schedules when it comes to plants.
Water microgreens and your house plants when they need it, not on Sunday mornings.
Maybe you believe I'm being cynical or something else. Still, if you see as many emailed photos of overwatered microgreens as I do, you would be too!
Water the tray before placing it under the lights.
Free Quick Microgreen Guide
Follow the recommendations in this guide and you'll be eating microgreens in as few as 7-days!
Growing Microgreens is easy if you follow the simple steps in this colorful 39-page guide.
How to Water Chervil Microgreens All Microgreens
Water microgreens from the bottom.
We grow microgreens in tray sets. The set includes a planting tray (holes in the bottom) and a watering tray (solid base).
Once we mist the microgreens seeds, we rarely - very rarely - water over the top of microgreens.
I know a lot of other people do. Mainly those are growing tens if not hundreds of trays at one time. But these microgreens are grown in larger rooms with more airflow.
In the home, please don't water over the top. It can only add to the probability of fungus and, worst, bacteria issues.
Bottom water microgreens, keep the greens and stems dry. The soil will wick up water from below, and the roots will receive plenty of water.
Please bottom water only.
How Much Water to Give Chervil Microgreens
How much water will depend on the tray size and what media you use to grow your microgreens.
We have an article that describes watering microgreens in detail. You can read that microgreen watering article by clicking this link.
For the Home Microgreens tray in this chervil microgreen article, we use 1/2-cup of water.
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How Much Light Do Chervil Microgreens Need?
What lights to use for microgreens is a tricky subject. One that even I am trying to wrap my head around. We have been observing microgreens growing under all kinds of lights for years now, and the results are confusing.
We will do an article and podcast on this in the future.
But for now, we need to consider what most people will use and can afford and still get results.
Here are our suggestions for now. But, we reserve the right to change our minds!
LED shop lights of 20 watts with a Kelvin rating higher than 5,000 (published on all light boxes) will work fine. We have multiple microgreen racks that use these Barrina lights.
The chervil microgreens shown in this article are grown under 2-ft Barrina grow lights. These are working wonders, a bit more expensive, but worth it if you grow lettuce.
We are still working out the best height settings for these lights to maximize growth.
Different lights will change the growth habits of microgreens. But in the end, the inexpensive LED shop lights work. So start with those, and when you decide you want to upgrade, we will have recommendations by then.
We have our lights turned on for 15-hours. The height setting is between 6-inches and 18-inches above the greens, depending on the power of the lights. So start with 8-inches above the greens and experiment.
Again, we will have a lot more on this topic in a future podcast. That's right, we have a podcast too. It's called the Microgreens Podcast, and you can subscribe to it on any of your favorite podcast platforms.
Subscribe to the Microgreens Podcast
Growing Chervil Microgreens
Once the microgreens are under the light, they will turn green and start to grow quickly.
All you need to do from here on out is to ensure they get water when they need it and not get water when they don't.
Chervil microgreens will start to grow their first true leaves about 5 days after you place them under the light.
Below are photos of the growth stages and the time it took them to reach that stage from seed. Remember, however, that these were grown at a cooler temperature (in the '60s).
Here is a closeup of the foliage once the true leaves have formed.
Curled Chervil is a beautiful microgreen, for sure.
Summary of How to Grow Chervil Microgreens
You can purchase curled chervil microgreen seed from the Home Microgreens Store.
For every square inch of the tray, we plant 0.07-grams of seed.
We use the weighted blackout method to germinate the chervil seed.
The seed stays in the blackout between 7- and 9-days.
Any light will work for chervil microgreens, we used low wattage grow lights, but any LED shop light with a K-value of 5,000 will work wonderfully!
Water chervil microgreens when they need water. When the tray feels light, water them.
Grow them on under lights between 15 and 24 days. So we actually grew this tray for over 45 days before we harvested them.
Come to think of it, we didn't even fertilize the tray. The Home Microgreens Potting Mix works well, I guess.
It's best to harvest before then as the stems were quite woody.
The 20-day mark would be an excellent time to harvest these flavorful microgreens.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
Home Microgreens Store
All the supplies and microgreen seeds you need to grow beautiful and nutritious microgreens at home!
Our prices are as competitive as the larger seed sellers. We also have our own soil, microgreen kits, and trays!