How to grow Microgreens at Home by getting Creative with a Pumpkin
If you are as big of a fan of Autumn, Fall or Halloween seasons like we are, or just looking for a fun & unique way to grow microgreens… then this blog was written for you! Growing microgreens inside of a pumpkin is such a fun and creative way to grow microgreens, and a great way to get your kids involved with growing at home!
You can also apply this method to other fruits as well and grow microgreens in them! The fruit skin will act as the tray or pot that will hold the grow medium, and once the seeds have grown into microgreens, this could make a fun and creative centerpiece on your table that you can do live harvests from at dinner!
First, make a trip to your grocery store, local market, or your garden and select a fruit (make sure it's organic!) to grow in! We went with a pumpkin as our choice, so that’s how we’re going to demonstrate this type of grow!
Once you have chosen your fruit, take it home and use a knife to cut an even cut through the top of the fruit / pumpkin to make a lid. You want to make sure to do an even cut; this way, the lid stays in place later once we need it, instead of sliding off.
Using a spoon or your hands, remove all the seeds and fruit guts – basically the same method for pumpkin carving! We like to put all the “leftovers” into a bowl or bucket; this way, we can take it out to our compost afterward. Plus, some fruit seeds you might want to save and then plant outdoors for fun, or feed wildlife!
Now that we’ve removed everything and only have a hollowed-out shell take your soil of choice and begin filling up the inside of the fruit with the grow medium. Stop whenever there is about a ½ inch gap at the top between the soil and the rim of the fruit skin. Do not fill the fruit all the way up with soil!
Tip: If you're using a larger fruit like a watermelon or big pumpkin, fill it most of the way with clay pebbles first, then on top of the pebbles, add your soil and finish filling it up till you have a ½ inch gap left. The clay pebbles will help fill that extra void and save you from having to use a ton of soil.
After your grow medium is in place, you can sow your Microgreens seeds of choice on top of the grow medium. We like to use about ½ tsp. to 1-tbsp. of seed depending on the seed variety and size of fruit we’re growing in. You want it to be densely seeded but still with a little bit of wiggle room for the plants to grow into and have room to breathe. Make note that - for our demonstration, we chose to go with store bought pumpkin seeds from Sprouts and we rinsed and used the seeds from the pumpkins we harvested too! Now if you decide to use the seeds from the item you carved out – always check first if the greens of the plants seeds, you’re using are edible. Some plants are toxic and cannot be consumed. We first researched if we could eat Pumpkin greens or not, which you can.
After you have sown your Microgreens seeds, you’ll then need to add water to a spray bottle and mist the seeds and medium generously. For this grow, since we are growing inside a perishable fruit, we like to be proactive and “treat” our seeds using a simple mix of tap water and food-grade hydrogen peroxide as our misting water for germination. To do this combine 2 tbsp. food grade hydrogen peroxide (we use 3%) per 1 liter of water. This mix will help prevent and combat mold / disease, and we highly recommend using it for this type of grow.
The next step after giving your seedlings their first watering is to take the fruit lid / top and place it back on top of the fruit to help trap in the humidity and ensure even germination for your microgreens. After the lid is in place, carefully transport the fruit to a shelf, countertop, or somewhere with minimal light and good airflow (if possible) for them to start germinating.
Going forward, you will check and mist the seeds 2 to 4 times a day with the hydrogen peroxide water mixture, making sure not to over- or underwater the seedlings. If you’ve been properly watering your microgreen seeds, in 3 to 5 days (for most varieties), you should see that your greens have germinated enough to be moved into a well-lit area with natural or artificial light.
You’ll know if they are ready to come out of germination by looking to see if you see more seed hulls or more of the plant, or as we like to say, “more yellow”. If you see more of the plant, then they should be ready to come out. But if you’re mostly seeing seed hulls, wait another day or two before introducing them into the light and continue misting them.
After your microgreens have been introduced to the light, be sure to continue watering them 2 to 4 times a day, depending on the crop, fruit size, and method of watering. Be careful not to over-water! In a few days, your Microgreens should green up and start growing. By day 7 to 14, your microgreens will be ready for harvest.
Once you have harvested your microgreens from the fruit you can do one of two things, compost it OR plant it directly into the ground outside and you might end up with a new plant in your yard. With that being said – we ended up composting ours in our compost bin, then after Texas got a TON of heavy rain in the Springtime, they started to sprout (we had no idea what it was at first). Then a few months past and we ended up having a large pumpkin patch in the middle of summer, lol. It was weird, but really fun harvesting summer pumpkins and getting excited about the fall early! But any who, don’t forget that if you used clay pebbles to fill a void, separate the soil from the clay pebbles and then wash and sanitize the clay pebbles for reuse.
Reference: Growing Microgreens in a Pumpkin