Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Growing microgreens requires only a few materials. A bit of these things you might have laying around the house, although others will be just a small investment. We started our microgreens business with a 100 dollar bill.
High quality seeds are a very important part of growing microgreens. Factors that will affect the growth of your seeds are storage, seed source, handling, and age of seeds. If you would to sow thousand seeds, the difference between a 95 - percent germination rate and a 50 - percent germination rate is quite visible. It can be disappointing to have gone through the hard work of sowing and caring for your microgreens trays only to see a small percentage of your seeds sprouting up. When it comes to storing and handling your seeds, you will want to store them in a cool and dry location. Keep away from great fluctuation in temperature and humidity. During hot, muggy summer days, be careful not to leave them in the sun or let them get caught in a summer rainfall. Accurately caring for your seeds will maintain their viability for a long period of time. Your seed packages offer you valuable information such as lot number, seed variety, germination rate, germination test date, and age of seeds. Unless kept in a special environment, your seeds will last two to five years depending on variety of vegetable. The amount of time your seeds will stay viable, depends on whether you keep them stored in proper conditions.
With access to the wild wild web, you have hundreds of seed companies at your fingertips. For the purpose of growing microgreens, you are looking for seed companies selling in bulk. When trying a new seed company, start with a small quantity of seed. If you ask nicely, many companies will mail you out samples. When you have found the varieties you like, you probably want to move up to buying one pound bags. If you notice yourself using seed quickly,
most companies offer discounts at 5 to 10 pound bags. Seed quality also play a role after your seeds have come up. We have grown arugula that had great germination but had terrible-looking cotyledons. We have had purple radish, which is normally a purple stem microgreens, come up with white stems.
We find that heavy duty 10 x 20-inch black plastic trays work the best. These trays are often available at hydroponic stores selling gardening supplies for around $2.50 per tray. Whether you decide to use the 10 x 20 or 10 x 10 black trays, proper drainage is very important. Although often overlooked, drainage is one of the keys for a plant to thrive. While being very important in the garden, it's even more important in your trays. If you are buying or collecting plastic trays, they will probably already have holes cut in the bottom. If you're making your own trays, be sure to create slits or holes to allow excess water to flow through. If there is a lack of drainage, you will find stunted growth, rot, and mold in your microgreens.
The core of any indoor or outdoor farm is its soil, and microgreens are no exception. Choosing the proper soil to grow your microgreens in is vital. A rich, fertile soil is filled with biological and mineral interactions necessary for vibrant, nutrient rich plants. During the beginning of our first rounds of growing microgreens, we used several brands of potting soil, looking for the ultimate one. Throughout these trials we were overwhelm to see the differences between them. The soil that stood out the most in both quality and performance had additional ingredients derived from the ocean such as kelp, crab meal, and shrimp meal. Using a high quality soil, you will enjoy strong, even growth and an increase in yield. While yield per tray is less important for the home grower, a commercial grower must pay close a attention to this detail. The cost of higher quality soil is often absorbed by the yields you will reap from your trays. We recommend Sunshine #4 for growing microgreens commercially or at home.
If you don't have a greenhouse to grow in, you will need to invest in or invent humidity dome to cover your trays. This creates a mini greenhouse effect and keeps temperature and moisture at a more consistent state than if your germinating seeds were exposed to open air. This is especially important in dry climates or in seasons when there is larger fluctuation between the night and day temperatures. If humidity domes are not used, you may find your seed germination is greatly reduced, uneven, and much slower than covered trays. Any local hydroponic store should carry them. The average price seems to be around $4.00.
If you have a small garden or houseplants, you may already have some of the supplies you'll need to water your microgreens. Make sure you can adjust the the sprayer head. Out of all the settings provided on you sprayer, a medium shower has been the most effective. If you are going to be growing indoors, you'll need a watering can. Make sure it has an attachment that allows the water to sprinkle out rather than pour out in one stream. Since you are growing the microgreens so densely, air circulation is very important. You don't want to water them so hard that they fall and mat. If this happens, the lack of air and excess water will cause them to rot. If you find that your microgreens have fallen, you can try gently brushing them upright with your hand. The key to good watering is to be gentle while watering.
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