Updated: Mar 13
- TABLE OF CONTENTS -
1 - Overview – Rules for growing microgreens indoors
2 - Understanding the fundamentals
Humidity and Temperature
3 - Choosing the right grow medium
4 - Growing Microgreens from seeds
5 - Foolproof tips for growing Microgreens?
6 - Supercharging your Microgreen growth
7 - Health benefits of Microgreens
8 - How to cook and serve with Microgreens
Rules for growing microgreens indoors
February 23, 2018
Next winter you'll most likely want to grow microgreens outdoors(kidding). Or you might already know how to grow but need a little help (or you just don't want to admit why your microgreens died); either way we will be giving you some rules to follow, while you travel on the road to success.
Equipment & System Needs
The Heating System hoophouse is passive solar heated, which works fine for starting plants in earliest spring, but for growing a consistent crop of microgreens during cold and low solar months of winter, it needs to be supplemented. After research that was done, it was determined that heat mats were the most efficient direct heat option. There are several options to heat the water: electric, solar and bio gas.
Water is an essential component for microgreens needs, which constantly needs to be kept at an ideal moisture level. This then makes the water accessible for the growing area. Watering equipment for our system remained pretty simple: long hoses which run along the length of a table with long neck spray nozzles that release a gentle shower. These happened to be the most flexible performers and provided good coverage.
Ventilation by large fans is essential to prevent fungus in winter and keep microgreens cool in summer. They act to keep the growing constant. Ventilation is essential to the success of the growing operation.
Working towards developing a system for your clients based on climate, farm setup and prospective buyers
To keep track of all the crop varieties in trials, you should develop a simple log to track all the pertinent information for each trial. Document the date of the seeding, the media used, tray size if used, quantity of trays, whether you applied heat or not, quantity of seed used per unit, harvest yield and harvest date. With solid note-taking, you will be better able to track the successes, failures and troubleshooting, to minimize the latter. So, we recommend this as a practice. Documentation was important not only in trialing seeds, media, and growing conditions, but during later steady commercial production as well. Keeping good notes, not just numbers on all the variables, was key to seeing what types of systems worked best in our setup.
You'll have to decide what you want to use for soil. Whether it'd be coir or potting soil. You'll have to decide which is best for you and figure out the ratio that best suits your growing needs. Be sure to always experiment in this stage. Mark from Vertical veg says, "using old compost will help because of the nitrogen that aids leafy vegetables."
You can experiment with microgreens to find the stage you like best – either when the first pair of leaves appear, or later, when a few leaves have grown. One exception is sunflower shoots. These need to be eaten before their second pair of leaves appear, as these are bitter. The easiest way to harvest most microgreens is with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors. Some microgreens – like pea shoots – may regrow, particularly if you chop them just above the lowest leaf.
Beginners guide to plant nutrition
February 6, 2018
The reason for releasing the beginners guide to plant nutrition is to help you from making wrong decisions in your indoor grow room. Visualize... by the end of this, plant nutrition will be much easier to understand than politics.
Plants are able to take in essential plant nutrients through leaves, a fact known for years. Foliar fertilization has been used for years mainly with high valve crops such as vegetables and fruits. Early uses of foliar fertilization were mainly used to balance micronutrient deficiencies, such as iron deficiency with blueberries, or to boost the appearance and shelf life of foliage plants and cut flowers. Foliar applications of nutrients can balance nutrient deficiencies caused by diseases, insect damage and plants recovering from other stress conditions. Both quantity and quality of yield can be increased by foliar application of deficient nutrients, regardless of cause.
Nutrient Mobility and Foliar Fertilization
Foliar fertilization is especially important for nutrients that are poorly mobile in the plant. An endless supply of these nutrients is needed to provide that plant has sufficient nutrition for acceptable growth and yield. If the supply of these nutrients from the water or growing media is unable to keep up with demand, then new growth will suffer from nutrient deficiency.
The application for moderately mobile or very mobile nutrients is also important when the crop cannot take and deliver adequate nutrients to the growing points of the plant, but mobile nutrients have the benefit of being able to taken for older plant tissue and translocated to the new growing points.
Foliar application of mobile nutrients will help prevent the depletion of older tissue by these mobile nutrients. One frustration in using foliar sprays to supply nutrients to plants, is that intake and translocation of the applied element may not be rapid enough for growing crop yields if foliar application is the major source of a nutrient. This problem is greater for macro-nutrients. Foliar application of plant nutrients continues to gain increasing widespread acceptance. The mobility of nutrients generally is classified into three categories of mobility: very mobile, moderately mobile and poor or slightly mobile.
Nitrogen is a very mobile element within the plant, and foliar sprays using urea, nitrate salt and ammonium have been used to supplement the nitrogen levels in plants.
Urea is the most effective form of foliar nitrogen followed next by ammonium ion and then by nitrate ion. Urea is easiest to traverse the cutin layer to enter the plant, and is considered the most suitable form of N for foliar application because of its non polarity, rapid intake, low phytotoxicity and high solubility.
Ammonium application effectively boosts growth and yield for many crops through foliar application. Like urea, the plant assimilates most of the ammonium within 48 hours after application. Ammonium, once inside the plant cell has a similar effect on plant nitrogen, as does urea.
Nitrate, through adsorbed by the plant effectively, is less effective as a foliar source of nitrogen than urea or ammonium because it must first be convert into ammonium through nitrate reduction.
Phosphorus is a very mobile element within a plant and its application through foliar application is an effective means of supplying phosphorus. Phosphorus foliar application can increase the concentration of phosphorus in the foliage and is more effective method of delivering phosphorus to the plant via water.
Potassium is a very mobile element, and applications as foliar sprays utilize potassium polyphosphate, potassium sulfate, potassium nitrate, potassium thiosulfate, or potassium hydroxide. Many of these sources have low salt index, are highly soluble, and can provide potassium to plants in situations where a deficiency of this element will reduce yield or is needed for foliar plants going to market.
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