Microgreens nowadays are really super popular. And by that I don’t mean that they are or they will be just one-day fly, but now that they have been discovered, they will be with us for centuries. Among that goes the safety of the growing and that the end result will be healthy microgreens. Since this is also our number one rule, we will help you discover this topic.
Wondering how you can safely grow microgreens? Microgreens can be grown very safely, starting with choosing the right growing medium and the best seeds for sprouting or microgreens. With these two basics, you will prevent the majority of the problems that can occur between the growing process. And you will most likely avoid food poisoning, which can be a very common problem when we are talking about sprouts and less when the topic is microgreens.
Let’s look more in depth at safety problems and what we can do to minimize that risk.
Master the growing technique
Be sure that your tools and supplies where you will grow microgreens are safe. By that I mean, if you are reusing a tray, then you need to clean it really well in between the batches and to be on a really safe side, you can even sanitize it with the hydrogen peroxide. Don’t ever think that you can ship the cleaning process. Perhaps it can happen sometimes, that you won’t have any problems, but if they occur, then you will have more work to eliminate it. So strive to have clear, sanitized trays (containers), and you are on a good way to grow healthy microgreens.
It is very safe to grow microgreens at home. Not just that, you will then have microgreens around you and you can eat them as much as you want and whenever you want. Isn’t that exciting? And you will know that you have grown them, without any pesticides, in a pure environment and with your love of growing.
Once you prepare your tray, put some soil and sown seeds on the soil. Then it’s time to mist them very well (not water in this phase) and cover it with some empty tray, so that you prevent leaking the moisture from the tray. This is the essential part. Because if you have really high humidity levels, and good seeds, they will germinate very evenly and this will be the major factor to have a beautiful tray of healthy grown microgreens at the end, without any mold.
After several days, when seedlings will grow up to 2-3 cm (0,78’’ – 1,18’’), they will be ready to expose them to light sources. And here comes the funny part, because from now on, all your window sills or some space on the kitchen counter top will be very greeny. And those will be the plants that you can safely eat. I am so excited every time I write or explain this to someone 🙂
Few more days, and water them on a daily basis and your microgreens will be ready (*this is the time schedule for the fastest one, but if you decide to grow some varieties that need more time to germinate, then have that in mind and be patient).
Mastering growing technique.
What could go wrong?
But there can go something wrong if some variables were false. And what could then happen?
- Food-borne illness. If we look into study, published in 2019, microgreens have a lower risk in terms of food-borne illness, compared to sprouts. So, there is less chance of bacteria growth. Fungus, spores, parasites, to name a few. In general, cooking would kill all that unpleasant germs, but with this you will also kill all the nutritional value that microgreens have. That is why we and the majority of people who consume microgreens, don’t do that. Instead you can be more careful with the growing process, which we will address later in the article.
Most common illnesses could be:
- Listeria Monocytogene
- Mold. Number one problem companion, when someone says microgreens. Well it can be quite fast present if you don’t follow basic steps, when growing microgreens. Look at them in the article Grow your own and delicious microgreens at home or 101 Sunflower Microgreen: Everything you need to know. Pay attention to good air circulation, at home mini fans or half opened windows will probably be enough.
But once again, please don’t be too scared of growing microgreens. Those that we listed are not frequently present but we need to list them, so that the data are as transparent as possible. In general, people have never got those if they were following the steps that we mentioned and the suggestions on what else we can do, to prevent growth problems. Which we will talk about in the next paragraph.
Healthy microgreens, arugola.
What else can you do to prevent growth problems?
- Pick the best soil for growing microgreens
Look here, which we recommend. But if you decide to prepare it by yourself, then have in mind that in general microgreens do love peat moss and compost. We use Klassmann bio pot soil, which is mainly composed from peat moss, but what they have been doing about the peat problem is they are making peat bog restoration. Restoration of damaged peat bogs can be accelerated by introducing typical raised bog vegetation such as peat-forming hummock mosses and carefully adapted water management techniques. This innovative process can help establish typical peat bog vegetation and achieve climate effects at least years earlier than can be attained by using tradicional rewetting methods.
What else can you do is also pick some growing mats for microgreens, and avoid the mess around soil. The best seeds to grow on them are the ones that are really fast to grow, like radish, garden cress, arugula, mustard,…It’s your preferred choice. Look into blog post about seed suppliers around the world , to find your preffered one.
- Choose the best seeds for microgreens
Crucial part in the growing process are the best seeds. With that we meant 95% plus germination rate. This will blow away all mold problems. Some do recommend to sanitize also seeds, but we don’t do that, because in the first row, we try to get as best germination rate as possible. You can do that if you think that this will help, but as I said, it’s not mandatory.
- Use fans.
If you are growing more trays at one time, we highly recommend to use some home fans. Look here for our recommendation. With this you will provide enough air circulation around your lovely microgreens.
Different seed varieties.
Are microgreens therefore safer than sprouts to eat?
Yes, studies have shown that this is the case. Now let’s look into why is that so:
- Growing medium.
Microgreens are usually grown on some growing medium, therefore roots sink into that growing medium. With this they have an ability to grow strong and straight. Sprouts are grown in glass or some sprouter. Sprouts are eaten with roots. This is one of the reasons why microgreens are safer.
- Humidity and air circulation.
When growing microgreens, we add more air flow around the plants and therefore there is lower humidity level in between the microgreens. If we compare this with the sprouts, the humidity level is really high, because there isn’t any air circulation in between them. They are sprouted in one place, and the rinsing with the water here is really significant.
- Eating without the roots.
Just grab a pair of scissors and cut grown microgreens above the soil (or other growing medium), so that you leave roots in the medium.
- Water recirculating.
water is not usually recirculated in solid medium‐based production systems, although frequently is in hydroponic systems, according to this study.
Whether you are growing microgreens for hobby or for your business with them, it is important to include all points from the article to grow microgreens in a safer way. Because this is number one rule, for all food that we consume. So that we know it is safe and that we have an ability to incorporate more nutrients to our daily diet.
Want to learn more?
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