Updated: Mar 13
Microgreens have become "the thing" to grow in populated urban areas. There's a ton of secrets popping up everywhere. It most likely explains the big leap in interest among new growers under age 34. According to the 2016 National Gardening Survey conducted by the Harris Poll, an estimated 6 million Americans started growing last year. We could classify the people who are under 34 and growing urban areas as a Millennial, but that's not the goal of this article. New growers are commencing to grow because they want to see where their food comes from.
We went and spoke to an urban farmer that works with us. Alex told us this, "there was nothing better than harvesting and using items that you produced yourself." We agree too!
Here are some tips that will make your life a lot easier.
While in the stage of germination, extreme heat or cold, often plays a factor in poor germination. It is easy to obtain good germination rates with temperatures ranging from 55 to 75 degrees F.
Due to variation from variety to variety, referring to your seed packet can be helpful, as this information is usually provided for you. If you are encountering any problems with the germination of your seeds, don't be discouraged. One advantage of growing a tray of microgreens, versus a field of lettuce, is your small investment of time, space and energy. Simply start another tray, change any variables that you suspect are hindering the germination, growth and see what happens.
Furthermore, rot is an issue that tends to happen more often than you think. There are two main reasons why rot can become a problem, The first is that your greens have too much moisture with too little sunlight. In the heat of the summer we usually water once early in the morning and then again in the evening. This works well when conditions are hot and sunny. However, if a cold front were to move in for a few days, bringing clouds and temperatures in the 60s, watering this same way would quickly result in patches of rot setting into your trays.
With cooler, less sunny conditions, watering once in the morning would suffice. Problems with both over and under watering are your best access to learning what each crop prefers. You have to take time to notice the conditions your greens thrive in and play with the variables, Another possible reason for rot in your trays is quality of water that you are using tap water usually contains chlorine, which microgreens hate. This is easily remedied with most drinking water filters. The pH of your water being excessively high or low is another factor to be aware of.
Nutrients that would normally be accessible to your greens get locked up and become unavailable. There is a bit of a range of pH preference in the common microgreens varieties, but most like a pH of around 6.5. Testing is easy once you acquire the proper equipment. The pH monitors range from liquid solutions to portable digital units. Keeping your pH in check can solve many problems. Not only will you notice stronger growth and increased yields, but most importantly, you will have healthier microgreens that are less susceptible to rot and disease.
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