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Sustainable gardening: How to Grow Microgreens in a Milk Carton

Posted by Kai Tan on

Whether you’re growing vegetable confetti (yes, that’s a name for microgreens) by yourself or with your kids, this post is for you. What’s better than growing your own greens, from farm to table? It’s not having to spend money buying sophisticated equipment!

Follow us in our journey to be cost-efficient and sustainable by using items easily found in your homes. In today’s adventure, we will be using empty milk cartons or juice boxes as the growing container for red acre cabbage microgreens. Forget about buying professional growing trays, and start saving up your milk cartons now!

Materials needed:

  • Seeds of choice
  • An empty milk carton/juice box
  • A pair of scissors/a penknife
  • Growing medium of choice (we recommend organic potting mix!) 
  • A spray bottle
  • A plastic lid or some newspaper

Step 1: Prepare your carton

Thoroughly wash the carton, making sure it’s free of residual liquid (you wouldn’t want your microgreens smelly funky!). Using a penknife or a pair of scissors, cut off one face of the carton (refer to the photo below if unsure!) Be careful when using the penknife or scissors, especially for those with young ones!

Cut off one face of the carton with scissors or penknife

Step 2: Pour in your growing medium

Fill up the bottom of the carton with around 3-4cm of growing medium of your choice. We are using organic potting mix. Flatten and even out the growing medium with the bottom of a mug or with your hands, taking care not to overly compress it.

Then, lightly mist the soil using a spray bottle. The surface of the soil should be just damp to the touch. Do not flood the container as this might drown your seeds!

Fill up 3 to 4cm of the milk carton with soil

Step 3: Get sowing!

Scatter your seeds evenly on the soil. Try not to let the seeds overlap, especially for the larger seed variants. Lightly spray the seeds with water so that they are moist and adhere to the soil's surface.

Freshly sown cabbage seeds in the milk carton

Then, cover the carton with a plastic lid, damp newspaper or magazine. The trick is to maintain humidity, keeping the seeds moist and blocking out excess light. This helps with the germination process.

Step 4: Germination and growth

In 2 to 5 days, your seeds should have sprouted. If they look yellowish and thin, don’t fret! This is normal, as your seedlings have not been exposed to sunlight. Remove the cover and move the carton to a sunny spot by the window.

Water your seedlings twice a day. Make sure not to soak the soil or allow the soil from drying out. Take extra care when watering your delicate seedlings by using a fine spray and spraying from a distance!

Enjoy these progress pictures of my seedlings:

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 7

Step 5: Harvest

Finally, the moment we’ve been waiting for! Microgreens can be harvested at any point of time. As their taste profile changes daily, snip a few plants off daily and taste as you go! For the majority of microgreens, we start to harvest them at around 5 cm height, when we start seeing the first set of true leaves. 

To harvest, simply snip off the microgreens using a sharp pair of scissors, slightly above the soil level. Here are my red acre cabbage microgreens, snipped and ready to be added to my food!

Step 6: Enjoy the fruits (microgreens?) of your labour!

Enjoy the fruits of your labour while they are fresh, tasty and at their optimal nutritional profile! My cabbage microgreens have an spicy, earthy tang that I can't help but snack on by themselves...

Your microgreens are now ready to be enjoyed with a pizza, pasta, sandwich, salad, and so on………….don’t forget to thoroughly rinse your microgreens before consumption!

If you wish to keep your microgreens for consumption later, they can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep them in plastic ziplock bags with small perforated holes or paper bags. You can also place a piece of kitchen towel into the bag to absorb any excess moisture. NOTE: if you are not consuming them immediately, do NOT wash them first - they may rot faster if kept wet!

We’re off to enjoy our microgreens now. Hope you had as much fun as we did, and see you on our next adventure!


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