Now that you have gained some basic information regarding microgreens, you are growing more thrilled, and you believe that a more detailed investigation on supplies for microgreens will be an added value. Let us help you with this!
Good seed preparation is crucial for higher germination rates. We swear by soil. When we started, we tested quite a few options for the best growing medium (rockwool, coco fibres, different soil types…), but we found that nothing quite compared with soil. Our young plants looked healthier, greener and more vigorous. So for us, good quality soil was another milestone. Let us expand a bit more on the topic of soil.
Criteria for good soil
The quality of your microgreens depends on the composition (quality) of your potting/seedling mix. So, the better the soil is, the healthier microgreens you will grow. In fact, poor soil can result in a lot of growing problems, which include mould, inconsistent growth or even crop failure. Since microgreens are such young plants, they absorb nutrients from the soil, which include the organic matter (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) and minerals. Basically, when growing, each seed contains certain nutrients that are meant for nurturing the germinating baby seedlings until they develop enough of their own roots to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.
The nutrients in microgreens come from the seeds. Some of the nutrients contained in the seeds are mostly inactive and cannot be easily digested. When seeds are sown in a medium (soil, coco fibres…) and watered, they absorb water, swell, and allow certain biochemical changes to take place. Then the seed nutrients are converted into easily digestible forms for young seedlings to take up and grow. In addition, certain enzymes and other bio-factors are also produced to help nourish the young seedlings. All these make microgreens richer in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes and bio-factors than the seeds from which the microgreens are grown.
How to press down soil, to be as evenly as possible.
If you have the option, we prefer to use organic soil, like this one. Try to find some with a mixed composition (compost in general, with some peat moss; perlite and vermiculite are also an option, but they are not necessary). Commercial potting soils or seedling mixes are pasteurised and sterilised to decrease the risk of contamination. But if you decide to try growing microgreens using soil from your own garden, you should first sterilise it by baking it in the oven at 212°F for at least 39 minutes.
Our hint is to spread the soil as smoothly as you can in the tray. This will enable the seeds to spread evenly around the tray without getting stuck in little holes and rotting (if the soil was not nicely smooth and flattened). We use homemade tools. See the picture below. You can easily find something similar or make your own at home.
The soil we use is organic and you can order it around the world. Another recommended soil from other growers is this one.
Our home made tool for pressing soil down.
Good water can have a surprising effect on microgreens. It is essential for the plant’s growth, but it can actually be reflected in their taste. The best way is to test different waters.
Today, governments use chlorine to kill the bacteria in water, but levels of it now far exceed those of the past decades. The sign of too much chlorinated water can be seen in curled and yellowed leaves. You can remove chlorine from tap water by using activated charcoal filters, some home fiters you can find here, which will remove it immediately or you can leave the water to sit uncovered in a wide-mouthed container for twenty-four hours. The chlorine will evaporate.
Soil needs to be airy. Good airiness of the soil will allow roots to breathe and prevent rotting. Don’t forget to turn on your fan during hot days.
For home growing you will need a spray bottle, like this one, with which you will mist your seeds during the germination phase. If you plan on growing larger quantities of microgreens, then we recommend a larger sprayer. After the germination phase, you should be watering your young seedlings from below. You can easily use an empty plastic water or juice bottle, just wash it thoroughly. Or use a small watering can (for home use).
You would like to have your own microgreens garden on your windowsill or countertop. That is so great to hear. Using repurposed containers, which are light, versatile and fit most places in our homes is also very ecological from an environmental aspect. You could also easily grow different varieties at the same time. For example, some herbs (basil, cilantro) and then the easiest and fastest, broccoli and kale. Isn’t that awesome?
Using packaging from fresh fruit and mushrooms or containers from hummus, tofu and yogurt will give you the perfect match. You can modify them for gardening microgreens by punching holes in their bottoms. If your containers have lids on them, then just separate them from the container and use them as covering after you fill the containers with soil and seeds.
We use small trays (13 x 18 cm – 5.12˝ x 7.09˝). In one you punch several holes for drainage and then use the second one without holes for covering the first one. With this, you will prevent moisture from escaping and create a perfect environment for germination. During the first few days you will need to mist the seeds every day. After germination and when the sprouts get bigger (around 1 inch), you have to uncover them and expose them to sunlight. After uncovering them, don’t forget to water them every day from below.
But maybe, you would like to get 1020 trays, that are so common in use in America. You can click HERE, and this will get you to the best known trays in the US. But soon, we will itroduce to the market our own biodegradable trays, which will look quite the same as ours plastic now (picture below). If you would like to be a part of React Green movement, then, you can add your email to our gathering list, so that you will definitely be informed, when they will be released. Go to the end of the blog post HERE, and you can answer there. You can also read a blog post, it’s quite unique, because it refelcts our situation now, during these strange times with corona.
Our white small containers, which are ideal for selling living microgreens.
Everything about seeds
When buying seeds just for home growing, we think you should buy the seeds in smaller amounts. Why? Because, it is better to get fresh seeds from time to time, and the germination rate will always be high. Otherwise, if the seeds are not stored properly, they can easily be damaged and the germination rate will be poor.
The main goal should always be to get the best quality seeds that are available on the market. Don’t save money on this. Strive to get organic, untreated seeds with very high (95% +) germination rate. With this I can assure you, that 95% of the problems which can occur while growing microgreens will be solved. You can get it here.
The best conditions for storing your waiting seeds are in airtight containers in a cold place with low temperatures and low humidity (perhaps the humidity level is even more important than temperature). You can store them in a refrigerator, wine cellar, root cellar or other cold storage. Before storing the seeds, first remove them from the seed packets, envelopes or other packaging.
Microgreens need to be sown densely. In practice this means sowing each seed right next to another. Perhaps you might think that this will be too dense, but not to worry, every seed, when exposed to water wants to grow. It’s in their DNA. Eventually, if the seeds are still alive, all will crack and sprout. Just try to sow them as evenly as you can, to get the most from them.
Where to look for seeds
Perhaps the best thing to do is to order seeds on the internet via trusted suppliers. But you can also find some good seeds in specific health stores or garden stores.
Harvesting tools: Sharp scissors / knife / snips
Get one pair that you will use solely for microgreens and for no other purpose. Having a sharp knife or scissors ensures a clean cut. If you choose to store your microgreens in a glass or food-safe plastic container with a lid on it, they will keep for a longer period of time if the stems have been snipped cleanly. But if you have grown your microgreens in smaller trays, and with different varieties, then you can selectively harvest from each tray while leaving the rest to keep growing.
Select scissors with a long, sharp blade. Ideally, find some that are made entirely from steel, because they are easier to clean. But if you would like to go above all, find ceramic scissors, like this one. With them stems won’t oxidize where you have cut them. Scissors with plastic-coated grips can be bothersome, especially if the plastic reaches to the joints. Or if you find scissors with plastic grips that have an antimicrobial coating on them. Other options are also gardening shears or herb snippers. However, non of these is the ideal choice because such implements generally have long grips but short blades. On the plus side, some gardening shears have blades that disassemble for easy and effective cleaning. If you don’t have scissors, grab very sharp knife. Sharpness will help prevent tearing and bruising.
Sometimes we use snips, we found it on Aliexpress, https://bit.ly/2Zrh08L, you can get it for less then 1$ and for home use are very cute and also handy.
Harvesting tools: (from left) ceramic scissores, ceramic knife, kitchen scissors, snips.
You have now read through all the basic supplies needed to get you started. You can easily find some of these items in your basement or storage, while for some you will need to go to the nearest garden or kitchen shop, or just simply order via internet. But nevertheless, in a day or less you can start your own journey with these lovely beauties, called microgreens.
Video on You Tube for home growing microgreens.
Want to learn more?
If you have any questions about the information cited in this post or about microgreens in general, please leave a comment below or reach out to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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