Cauliflower microgreens, the miniature seedlings of the cauliflower plant, constitute a concealed gem within the realm of indoor gardening. These tiny greens not only boast an impressive flavor profile but also come laden with substantial health advantages, providing a compelling reason to integrate them into your dietary regimen.
Distinguished by their distinctive appearance and vibrant taste, cauliflower microgreens feature delicate, ivory-hued stems crowned with vivid green leaves. This not only makes them a visually pleasing addition to any culinary creation but also infuses a delightful crunch into your meals, courtesy of their mildly sweet and nutty flavor with a crisp texture.
Beyond their aesthetic and gastronomic allure, cauliflower microgreens stand out for their nutritional richness. Abundant in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as essential minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium, they also pack a potent punch of antioxidants, particularly glucosinolates. These compounds have undergone extensive scrutiny for their noteworthy cancer-preventive properties.
Cultivating cauliflower microgreens at home transcends being merely a gratifying pursuit; it is also an eminently practical one. This endeavor ensures a continuous supply of fresh greens free from the perils of pesticides and other harmful chemicals often associated with commercially grown produce. Moreover, indoor gardening extends the privilege of relishing fresh, nutritious produce to individuals who lack access to traditional gardens, whether due to spatial constraints or adverse weather conditions.
As we navigate through the subsequent sections of this discourse, we will furnish you with detailed, step-by-step guidance on cultivating cauliflower microgreens at home. Common challenges associated with this process will be addressed, and practical tips on incorporating your homegrown greens into your culinary endeavors will be shared.
Whether you are a seasoned horticulturist or a neophyte in the realm of gardening, we extend an invitation for you to embark on this enthralling expedition into the realm of indoor microgreen cultivation. The journey promises not only the joy of nurturing vibrant life within the confines of your home but also the satisfaction of harvesting and relishing your own fresh, pesticide-free bounty.
The scientific name for cauliflower is Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (an absolute tongue twister!). Other family members include broccoli, collard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. The name cauliflower means cabbage flower.
Shown above is how fully mature cauliflower would look. It takes up to 130 days to grow cauliflower to a mature vegetable with a well developed curd as we see here.
On the other hand, it only takes up to a week to grow and harvest cauliflower microgreens. This is approximately 10% of the time. Good deal!
There are so many cauliflower varieties around. They vary from each other sometimes based on color. This guide does not pick on which variety to use for microgreens. Most varieties can be grown as cauliflower microgreens following the steps I show here.
With this good news, let’s get started…
What you will need to grow Cauliflower Microgreens
Assuming you are a newcomer to growing micros, you will need all of the items below. If you have been growing microgreens, you probably have many of the items I list below. I recommend that new growers prepare the following items to start growing cauliflower micros:-
- Microgreens trays (supplier)
- Grow lights (supplier)
- Soil sifter (supplier)
- Garden soil
- Cauliflower seeds
- Water spray (supplier)
- Ziploc bags (supplier)
- Water for watering
Practical steps for growing Cauliflower Microgreens
You are going to grow cauliflower microgreens using the following 10 easy to follow steps. At the beginning of this guide I did call for some patience when growing cauliflower micros. Well, this has to do with the germination process from time of planting. I found out that it takes a little longer than radish microgreens which I planted at the same time with these.
My cauliflower microgreens were ready for harvest some 2-3 days later than radish microgreens. The two were planted on the same day at the same time in different trays.
It is a good idea to grow a variety of microgreens at the same time. Check these guides I did for lettuce, cabbage, carrot and sunflower microgreens. Growing different microgreens will give you an opportunity to create a lovely multiple micros salad mix at harvest.
1. Get you growing medium ready
The first step in growing your cauliflower microgreens is to get the soil ready. This is of course assuming you have all the other materials mentioned above in place.
I have had the fun & joy of growing microgreens for many years. All this time, I have grown my micros using native garden soil. Nothing fancy, nothing so special. You could even use fiber as growing medium.
So if you have access to some good soil around the home, this should work for your cauliflower microgreens. The thing about microgreens is that they rely mostly on nutrients supplied by the seed. Nutrients to sustain those early days of life, until harvest point, are sufficient.
On the whole it is not so much about what is supplied by the soil. The soil just acts as some growing medium. If you look at my sunflower microgreens guide you will find out that they are grown with no soil at all.
So grab your available garden soil. First, sift out all the debris and particles that may be in the soil. I use a simple baking sieve for this purpose. You could, however, invest in a soil sifter such as any of one these. Just take care to pick one that produces fine soil particles.
Sifting your microgreens soil is also very helpful in creating a conducive growing environment. Finely sifted soil makes it easy for microgreens roots to grow and quickly get established.
2. Prepare growing tray and fill with sifted soil
Next stop is to prepare your growing tray. As microgreens grow in popularity, more businesses are coming online offering a variety of microgreens specific materials and equipment. Among these are growing trays.
As a matter fact, you could grow your cauliflower microgreens in any decent container. This includes repurposed supermarket punnets. I, for one, continue to grow micros this way in addition to commercially available trays.
Shown above is an example of commercially available microgreens trays. You have an option to use these.
A good microgreens growing container shouldn’t be too deep nor too shallow. Additionally, your container should have holes beneath for drainage. Microgreens distaste water logging.
Water logging creates a high humidity environment which increases the risk of mold. Moreover, drainage holes are useful when watering as you shall see in the next step.
Once your tray is in place, proceed to fill it with the sifted soil prepared in step 1. Leave some room at the top of about 1 cm.
3. Thoroughly water soil in tray
Now take the soil filled growing tray for watering. This is the only time we are going to water the tray until after the cauliflower microgreens germinate and start growing. Thus the tray must be thoroughly watered.
There are two ways to water your tray. Both ways I mention here are designed to avoid disturbing the soil or the microgreens after germination. You could water the tray using a fine spray from a hose. For this you did require a nozzle sprayer as found here.
The other method as shown above involves simply placing your grow tray in a bigger tray or container with water (a). Water from the bigger container will naturally sip into the grow tray with soil (b). In a few minutes your grow tray with soil will be totally drenched. This is a super smart method which I use very often.
Once your soil is drenched with water, it is time to move on to the next step – planting.
4. Plant your Cauliflower Microgreens seeds
Shown above are cauliflower seeds. You will need two to three handfuls of these depending on the size of your tray. It is highly recommended to use non-treated seeds for this purpose. This eliminates the risk of poisoning due to chemicals used to treat seeds.
Using your hand, sprinkle the seeds evenly all across the surface of the wet soil in the tray. The seeds must be densely sprinkled almost forming a layer on the surface of the soil. Shown above are cauliflower microgreens seeds well sprinkled in the tray.
5. Gently press the Cauliflower Microgreens seeds into the soil
The final step to planting our cauliflower microgreens is gently pressing the sprinkled seeds into the soil. This is an important step which ensures the seeds come into full contact with the growing medium.
Use the palm of your hand to softly press the seeds into the soil. We won’t be covering the seeds with any soil. Just some contact will do.
6. Put some weight over the tray and put away
After pressing the seeds gently to make contact with the soil, cover the tray with a board. I use a simple cut-out paper board as shown here. Furthermore, you may also put a stone or another planted tray on top. It is common to stack the planted trays up.
Believe it or not, the weight on top of the seeds help the seeds to germinate evenly and with better success rate. If you find yourself struggling with a low germination rate when growing cauliflower microgreens and any microgreens for that matter, put a weight on top.
Once you have your tray covered, put away in a cool dark place with good air circulation. You can come and check again on the tray in about 2 to 3 days.
7. After germination, move tray to a light source
As stated earlier, growing cauliflower microgreens to harvest takes a little longer than some fast performing microgreens such as lettuce or kale microgreens. You can expect cauliflower microgreens to be 85%-95% germinated at about day three. This time could vary due to climatic conditions.
After the whole try is showing good enough germination rates, move it to a light source. Microgreens should not be exposed to direct sunlight. This negatively impacts their flavor. It is for this reason that microgreens are grown under an artificial light source.
The microgreens market is now well supplied with grow lights specifically designed for growing plants indoors.
Your cauliflower microgreens should remain under the artificial lights until harvest. This location should also provide fresh air circulation.
8. Water the Cauliflower Microgreens
The next important step after the microgreens germinate is to water them. This will be the second watering following the first tray watering of step 3. I use and recommend the method shown here to water my microgreens. It is smart and will not disturb the microgreens in any way.
As shown above, (a) take an empty tray or container and place your growing microgreens. As shown in (b), fill the bigger tray with water. The water will utilise the holes underneath the microgreens tray to sip into the tray and water the microgreens.
Depending on your climatic conditions, you may need to water the tray more than once every two days. Keep an eye on the tray. Moisture stressed microgreens typically fall over as shown above. I took this example when I was growing radish microgreens. This could happen with not much warning in hot weather.
9. Harvest your Cauliflower Microgreens
At about 4 days after germination, cauliflower microgreens should be ready for harvest. When exactly to harvest cauliflower microgreens and microgreens in general is a subjective matter.
As a general rule, however, the best time to harvest is before the emergence of the third leaf. Usually, after this point the microgreens may change to bitterness.
If you use a big tray, you may choose to harvest part of the tray and eat them fresh. This approach entails that the micros must be harvested before they start developing third leaves. Alternately, you may harvest them all and turn to effective storage as discussed in the next step.
10. Store your Cauliflower Microgreens
Microgreens storage is a science of sorts. It is important to store the microgreens properly to reduce risk of them going bad early and generally degrading. Microgreens tend to change in flavor as time moves away from harvest. Thus the sooner they are consumed after harvest the better.
Once harvested, I put the microgreens in a labeled ziploc bag or such type of bag. Ziploc bags are found online here. Store the sealed bags in the refrigerator section of a fridge (vs freezer).
In any case, I have found cauliflower microgreens to be best consumed at 3 days tops even when kept in the fridge. If you find them going bad by yellowing or any other changes, it is highly recommended to discard them.
SO, this is how to grow cauliflower microgreens at home. Give these simple steps a try and enjoy the outcome. I do accept that as you implement these steps, you will likely learn some new things. This can be used to refine your approach and carve out your own approach. Above all, if you love microgreens, aim to develop a growing cycle to ensure steady supply at all times. All the best!!
Generally, microgreens are ready for harvest within 8-21 days after sowing once they reach the true leaf stage. The optimal harvest time varies depending on the variety and growth stage. However, visual cues play a significant role in determining the perfect moment. Knowing when to harvest microgreens is crucial for capturing their full potential.
I have written a comprehensive guide that delves deep into microgreens harvesting, answering the question of when to harvest microgreens. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gardener, we’ve covered you with expert techniques, variety-specific recommendations, and tips for achieving optimal flavor and nutrition.
Are you ready to unlock the secrets of harvesting microgreens at their peak? In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore each growth stage, decoding visual cues and providing expert insights to help you master the art of microgreen harvesting.
Get ready for an immersive journey into the world of microgreen harvesting. We’ll cover everything you need to know from seed to plate to achieve the best harvest. Let’s dive in and uncover the secrets of timing, techniques, and flavor! Click here >>>