How To Grow Microgreens Without Soil

Getting in your daily vegetable servings has never been easier or more delicious since more people have discovered the intense flavor and health benefits of Microgreens. They are exactly what they sound like – tiny vegetables.

More specifically, they are small seedlings of green, leafy vegetables and herbs. Do not let the size fool you, though. Microgreens are packed with amazing nutrients and flavor, even more so than their full-sized counterparts.

Aside from the amazing taste and nutrients, one of the most attractive features of Microgreens is how easy they can grow. You can grow Microgreens indoors without soil using a jar, a screen, or a tray. 

Can Microgreens Grow in Just Water?

Hydroponic microgreens
Microgreens can be grown hydroponically – a method in which water serves as the medium through which the plant is provided moisture, oxygen, and nutrients for the roots. The water provides these nutrients, making it possible for the plant to grow without soil.

To grow Microgreens in water without soil, just follow these steps:

  1. Select the growing container. Choose an object that is secure, fits the space you are using and fits the number of Microgreens you are growing. You may want to use trays, glass jars, or plastic containers (although we recommend avoiding single-use plastics).
  2. Gather paper and a spray bottle.Rather than lining your planting container with soil, line the bottom with three layers of paper towel or tissue paper. Thoroughly mist each layer of paper with a spray bottle of water.

    It is important that the papers be completely soaked, but not sopping wet. Check the bottom of the tray to ensure that there is no excess water.
  3. Spread the seeds. Spread the seeds evenly over the moist paper. You can purchase a Microgreen seed, or you can spread your own selection of individual seeds such as radishes, peas, arugula, or broccoli.
  4. Spray again and cover.Moisten the seeds with a spray bottle and cover with an additional 2 – 3 layers of paper towels or tissue paper. Moisten the top layers of this paper with water as well.
  5. Allow the seeds to germinate and harvest. It is important to block direct sunlight during the germination period. Keep the seeds secure and moisten their covering, but do not wrap them so tightly that airflow is inhibited. After 2 – 3 days, the seeds will germinate and should be ready to withstand the sunlight for a few hours each day.

    As you wait for your Microgreens to grow, make sure to mist the towels or paper with water several times each day after the germination period. After 14 – 21 days, the greens should have their first set of leaves and can be harvested.

    Once the greens are between 1 to 3 inches (2.5 – 7.6 cm) and grow their first set of leaves, they can be harvested.

What Is the Best Medium for Growing Microgreens?

Microgreens can be grown traditionally with soil, but it’s also easy to grow them without soil using water as the medium. It is convenient and tidy to simply sprout them in moist towels and trays inside the house.

You can also choose hemp trays, burlap, or screens to host the Microgreens. With any of these containers, though, you still need to use towels or tissue paper to create a dark, moist environment conducive to germination.

What Is the Healthiest Microgreen?

Microgreen pea sprouts
Have you ever heard the expression, “dynamite comes in small packages”? The same principle applies to Microgreens. The Microgreens’ tiny packaging stores an abundance of potent nutrients. Some studies suggest that Microgreens can contain up to 40 times the nutrients that typical, organic vegetables contain.

Pea shoots are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and beta carotene. Radish Microgreens are rich with vitamins A, B, C, E, K, as well as a fantastic source of calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

Microgreens rich in antioxidants may help prevent Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer, while Fenugreek Microgreens can enhance cellular sugar intake and help prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need Sunlight To Grow Microgreens?

After a few days, the Microgreens should sprout, and then you can move them to a window sill where the perky green shoots can receive plenty of direct sunlight. If it is warm enough, you can set them outside for 3 to 4 hours in the afternoon to soak in some beneficial rays.

What Are the Best Seeds for Microgreens?

The type of Microgreen you should grow largely depends on what vegetables you enjoy eating and which vitamins you need. Some of the quickest, easiest seeds include broccoli, kale, red cabbage, peas, and sunflowers. You can also purchase Microgreen seed kits to get a feel for what is best for you.

Can You Grow Microgreens on a Screen?

Screens can be a great option for larger seeds, such as sunflower seeds and beans. Be sure that the holes in the screen are small enough to prevent any seeds from falling through.

Screens may provide extra airflow, which is important for the seeds. However, it may also allow so much airflow that it is difficult to keep the area moist. A rule of thumb when growing Microgreens on a screen is to just make sure that the seeds are not too tiny for the screen; try to select a fine, mesh material that will not lose any seeds.

How to Grow Microgreens in a Jar?

Microgreens in a glass jar
Glass jars are an eco-friendly and attractive way to grow Microgreens indoors. First, be sure to use a wide-mouth jar with plenty of room at the opening. Next, you will need to cut a piece of screen or mesh to the same size as the mouth of the jar.

Fill the jar to the top with fresh water and attach the screen to the top. Next, sprinkle your seeds on top of the screen and mist the seeds with water from a spray bottle. Cover the seeds with the jar’s lid.

Keep the seeds covered in a dark area of the house for at least 5 days, only removing the lid to mist the seeds with water 3 – 4 times a day. Once they are sprouting, remove the lid and place the jar in a sunny spot such as a window sill so the new plants can get plenty of sunlight.

Be sure to keep water in the jar. If the water evaporates, refill the jar. The Microgreens should be ready to harvest in 14 – 21 days, or once they grow a set of leaves or once the plants reach 1- 3 inches in height.


Microgreens can be both a delicious and nutrient-dense food to include in your favorite recipes or as an attractive garnish. It is also convenient that it is possible to grow Microgreens without soil using a jar, a screen, or a tray.

Remember, adequate moisture is essential to the Microgreens’ health. Missing a day of watering could cause the sprouts to die.

It is equally important to shield the seeds from direct light during the first few days. Give the seeds a dark, moist environment so they can germinate the same way they would in dark, cool garden soil. Once you see green sprouts, give them a little sunshine each day and watch them flourish.