Can I Use Bird Seed for Microgreens? (Solved & Explained!)

Microgreens can be grown from birdseed, although it isn’t the best idea to do so. Birdseed may not be safe to consume, and thus the microgreens that would grow from them may not be safe either.

However, if the bird seeds you use are safe for human consumption and they’re high quality, you can use them for microgreens with minimal risk involved.

Can birdseed sprout plants?

Almost every type of birdseed will sprout some kind of plant. Those seeds may sprout into some of the following: sunflowers, wheat, flax, and canary seed, but there are many more.

Some birdseed may resemble grass when it first sprouts, so it may be hard to tell if your birdseed has sprouted. With time, you’ll be able to tell the difference between your bird seed and grass, but in the beginning, they may be identical. 

What are microgreens?

Microgreens are essentially baby plants. Microgreens are mature and harvested after they grow their first set of “true leaves” after they sprout.

Is it safe to consume microgreens?

There is very little risk in the consumption of microgreens. Food poisoning is one concern in eating them, but they’re considered safer than sprouts.

By ensuring that your seeds are of high quality and taking special care of your plants and the process in which you plant and harvest microgreens, you can just about eliminate the risks associated with eating raw microgreens. 

When are microgreens ready to harvest?

Microgreens are ready to harvest when they grow their first set of “true leaves.” What this means is that they will sprout, and you’ll see 2 leaves.

After your microgreens sprout, they’ll grow two more leaves. This second set of leaves is considered their “true leaves,” and that’s when microgreens are ready to harvest.

How fast do microgreens grow?

Radishes and broccoli microgreens can reach maturity in as little as 6 days. Other microgreens may take up to 25 days.

The amount of time it takes from germination to harvest will all depend on what kind of microgreens you decide to grow. You could potentially grow fast, medium, and slow-growing microgreens (in different containers!) to enjoy multiple harvests at different times with one planting. 

How do I harvest microgreens?

Microgreens are ready to harvest when they grow their first set of “true leaves.” You will get the most out of your microgreens by cutting them right above the soil line.

You can harvest your microgreens using scissors, shears, or even a sharp knife if that’s what you’re most comfortable with. Cut directly above the soil line to reap the most benefit from your microgreen crops.

Do I need soil to grow microgreens?

Some microgreen growers, especially those with less space, will not use soil when growing microgreens. Since the process is so fast and the plants don’t need the nutrients of the soil, they don’t require soil to grow.

Other materials are available, such as coconut coir, growing mats, and even just water. These materials may be easier and less messy for some microgreen growers.

Can I reuse microgreen soil?

If you use the same soil for new microgreens, it’s recommended that you flip the dirt over and start fresh on the other side. By simply flipping over your dirt, you’re allowing the roots of the old microgreens to hold the dirt together, creating a sort of mat for your microgreens.

When you flip over your dirt, you simply plant more microgreens as you did before. You sprinkle your seeds and cover them with more dirt. Eventually, the old plants will compost, creating a self-sustainable cycle that allows you to reuse your dirt again and again!

How much light do microgreens need?

If you’re growing your microgreens indoors, you’ll want to either put them in direct sunlight (near a window or door) or obtain some growing lights.

To grow microgreens, they’ll need at least 3-4 hours of natural sunlight per day. A bright windowsill or balcony would do nicely for small-scale homegrown microgreen operations.

Is it difficult to grow microgreens?

Beginner gardeners or experienced growers can both grow their own microgreens with ease. Microgreens grow happily in the ground, a raised bed, or a shallow container, inside or outside.

Microgreens are easy to grow, beginner-friendly, and they take up minimal space. They’re perfect for someone interested in growing their own food but don’t have the time or space for a large garden.

How much water do microgreens need?

It’s a general rule of thumb to keep any seed’s soil from drying out completely. It would be best if you watered microgreens every other day or every 2 days.

Consider the conditions of the soil in the Spring, when seeds are trying to germinate and sprout. If the soil dries out, the seed won’t germinate as quickly, sometimes not at all.

What are the most popular types of microgreens?

Some popular types of microgreens include but are not limited to the following:

  • Pea
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Sunflower
  • Basil

What materials do I need to grow microgreens at home?

To grow microgreens, you’ll need the following:

  • A thin or shallow container at least 2 inches deep with adequate drainage.
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds of choice
  • Light (3-4 hours per day)
  • Water

Do I need special seeds for microgreens?

Special seeds are not required for growing your own microgreens, although there certainly are seeds advertised specifically for microgreens.

You can use special seeds or generic seeds and see the same amount of success. The choice of what seed, what kind of seed, and how you grow them is up to you, or the grower.

What seeds are not good for microgreens?

Some plant leaves are toxic, but their fruit may not be. These plants do not make good microgreens: tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes (all from the nightshade family).

If you were to grow potato microgreens, you would end up eating a variation of the nightshade plant, and in the end, you would be poisoning yourself if you ate them.