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Why not start growing microgreen seeds in the comfort of your own home? The amount of space needed to get started is minimal, as the initial investment for equipment and supplies. Seedlings, don’t have big requirements but they need be treated with care. Any indoor place near some bright window at a mild temperature will do. Microgreen seed can even be grown year-round by using T5 fluorescent or LED lights as light source.
What Seeds Do I Need?
The easiest way to dip your toes into the world of microgreens is to become a microgreens farmer yourself. Hundreds of varieties of microgreen seeds are available and can be grown and consumed.
I believe best is to begin with easily available seeds, possibly organic and from your own garden. One could begin growing microgreens of plants may be already familiar with, of which can harvest seeds from and widely available locally. Alternatively, make sure to get organic seeds from a reliable source, free of toxins.
Microgreens produce the quickest edible plant harvest ever. For example, varieties like Spinach, Amaranth, Mustard are collected within 10-12 days of planting. Therefore microgreens suit perfectly the fast-paced urban lifestyle most of us are living in.
Where to grow your Microgreens
So, where should you grow the microgreens? Other than planting in soil, microgreens can be grown using the soilless hydroponic method, such as on a paper tower, substrate pad or just a piece of wet cloth.
Best choice for me is always use soil as medium, despite the dirt and mess. Generally, soil planting is rather cheaper and the most sustainable system, as you can reuse the microgreens soil over and over again.
After harvesting your microgreens, you may be not sure what to do with the soil. Great news here, you can absolutely reuse the soil for your next round of planting, and the future ones. After cutting the seedlings, roots and the stem structure will remain with the soil. Well, they have to be broken down before you can reuse them.
An other option is to make a simple compost pile, and dump the remains inside to recycle your old soil mix for the next round. Here an interesting post about making a vertical garden worm composting planter from a barrel. Doing so, the root remains will soon enough turn back into organic matter, and fertilize the soil itself. Even after a few rounds of planting, the soil is still having plenty of nutrients available, because microgreens don’t take much from the soil. After composting the remains, the soil become darker. It’s then time to reuse it for the next round of microgreens.
My favorite way to reuse the soil I use to grow my microgreen, is to throw them all in the compost bin. Worms love organic matter. They feed on organic matter that will decay, roots and stem included; and return you the amazing black gold soil for your next planting. The alternative option is to flip upside down the soil, and reuse for one more round, before back to composting.
What Will You Need For Growing Microgreens
- Potting soil blend:
- 30% Organic Compost
- 30% top Soil
- 20-30% Sand
- 10% Worm Castings
- Trays, best to use one tray with some holes for drainage, sit into an other
- Weights (here I have used some plums)
- Water chlorine-free
- Good airflow, a ventilated area rather than use a small fan
- Optimal temperature is between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, 18 and 22 degree Celsius
How To Set Up Your System
- Moist and mix the soil, add it to the tray. It should be about 2/3 inches even of soil.
- Soak the seeds, if appropriate for the seed kind. Every variety has his own requirement that you will be able to master with little experience; makes sense that bigger seeds need be soaked more. For example, peas or sunflowers are best be soaked overnight, for broccoli a couple of hours are enough.
- Sow the seeds in moist soil. Sprinkle them evenly over. Density depends on the stage in which you are planning to harvest the microgreens.
- Press and cover the seeds. Stack the trays into each other and put an empty tray on top with a weight, in order to make the roots of seedling grow stronger.
- Leave trays covered for 2 – 3 days. Keep them moist, not wet.
- Once you notice the seeds starting to push up, you know your microgreens are ready to be exposed to indirect sunlight or grow lights Avoid direct hot sunlight because will likely damage the sprouts.
- Harvest in 1 to 3 weeks with sharp scissors by cutting them near the base.
- Rinse and dry your microgreens before storing them in the refrigerator.
Now that you are a microgreen farmer, you will need to make sure your microgreens are conserved and consumed safely. The idea s to consume them as fresh as possible, but microgreens can last few days in our fridges without worries. In this case, make sure no contamination from bacteria and yeasts occurs before eating them. If unfortunately they turn into a slimy appearance or develop a moldy smell, avoid consumption.