Best Micro Greens for Beginners


Recommendations for the Beginner, from Johnny's Research & Trialing Team

Key Benefits for the Grower
  • Suitable for year-round growing.
  • Short cycle time.
  • High market value.

For more detailed growing instructions, see our article on Year-Round Micro Greens Production and our Micro Greens Tech Sheet.

You've likely seen or heard of micro greens, those tiny "seedlings" that are so popular for salads and garnishes. They are showing up at restaurants, farmers' markets, and even some grocery stores. Micro greens offer fresh flavor, a tender crunch, nutrient density, and a beautiful assortment of intense colors. Growers love them because they're a super-quick crop that can be grown year-round, they attract interest, and they bring a good price.

Harvested at either the cotyledon or first-true-leaf stage, micro greens are relatively easy to grow, but they're not entirely foolproof. In this article, we'll help you get started by listing our favorite easy choices for micro greens.

Whether you're looking to add diversity and profitability to your operation or simply to give them a try, here are the top picks from Johnny's Research Team for the beginning micro greens grower.

If you're ready to get started but prefer to keep things simple, premixed micro greens blends are the way to go.

Micro mix can consist of many different kinds of vegetables — amaranth, arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, mizuna, mustards, pac choi, radishes, to list a few — as well as tender herbs such as basil, fennel, and cutting celery.

At Johnny's, careful selection and trialing have gone into the development of our premixed blends, so they reliably provide the advantages of uniform, compatible growth rates, a range of textures and colors, and well-balanced flavors.

Our two favorite blends are represented by our Mild Micro Mix , in which we combine sweet, mild-tasting brassicas, and the Spicy Micro Mix, featuring a complement of sharper-tasting varieties. You can offer these mixes to customers individually or combine the mild product with the spicy one post harvest, according to preference.

If you're feeling more adventuresome, you may want to start off by growing individual varieties.

We've selected the following five micro greens because, in our experience, they reliably produce dense, uniform stands that are easy to harvest. They also offer a pleasing diversity of flavors, from mild to spicy, and an attractive range of colors, shapes, and textures.

Mildly spicy flavor. Darkest purple mustard.
Spicy-flavored. Attractive pink stems and green leaves. Radishes are lofty and add weight and volume to micro mixes.
Mild chard flavor. Light green, gold, pink, orange, purple, red, and white stems.
Spicy pepper flavor. Fancy three-lobed leaves.
Frilly leaves. Clean, fresh aroma. Flavor more subtle than that of mature cilantro.
Next Steps to Success

These are just five out of dozens of micro varieties that can be grown year-round. Once your micro program is up and running and you've mastered these easy varieties, you may decide to take it to the next level by diversifying and customizing your mixes.

Micro greens lend themselves well to customization, and demand is growing in rapidly-expanding niche markets — possibilities include restaurants, chefs, caterers, boutique and specialty grocers, as well as regional CSAs, farm stands, and locavores. Over time, you can experiment and develop your own signature mix based on what grows well and what your customers like best.

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