Planting Microgreens for Home Consumption - My View From The Woods

Planting Microgreens for Home Consumption

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Feb 12

After my first failure at microgreens...well, I wouldn't classify it as a failure, more like an underestimation of the number of seeds I needed to grow a full mini-tray of microgreens, I reordered more seeds and am giving it another go.

Since I'm a household of one most of the time I don't need to grow five or six varieties of greens in 10- by 20-inch trays to meet my needs.

Instead, I took a trip to the dollar store and bought some plastic leftover containers that are eight inches long, five inches wide, and about one an half inches tall. I think they came in a bundle of two or three containers for a dollar.

Growing one variety of green in five or six containers should give me a good quick harvest of microgreens for home consumption.

First Failure at Microgreens

As mentioned, in my first attempt at growing microgreens I only used 100 or so seeds. The density of growth, even with great germination wasn't even close to enough plants in each tray.

low density microgreens

So back to the drawing board.

After more research, I came across a YouTube channel by the name of Big Pond Farm. Mike and his family are modern homesteaders and he supplements his income by market farming.

In one of Mike's videoes, he and his daughter plant 10- by 20-inch trays of microgreens.

The density of his seeding is way more than I used. In fact, the seeds basically covered the soil surface. I'm not sure how many ounces of seeds he used, I don't even think he measured or weighted the seed. Instead, he uniformly spread the seeds across the soil surface.

After sowing the seed, he surprised me by stacking his trays on top of each other, adding an empty tray at the top and putting cement bricks (not blocks) in the top tray.

Mike said that when the microgreens start to grow they will lift the trays.

If it works for him, why wouldn't it work for me? So I gave it a try.

Planting Microgreens Small Scale

Realizing I didn't use enough seeds the first time, I went to Everwilde Farms website and purchased three packets of seeds from their organic microgreen category.

I bought the XL packets of Roquette Arugula, Garnet Stem Endive, and Purplewave Mustard seeds. Each packet was said to contain around 1,000 seeds and they cost $2.50 each.

There are larger sizes of seed packets, but I wanted to try out my new method before I bought ounces of seeds.

I filled my 8x5x1.5 inch Dollar Store containers with my homemade seed starter mix. Packing it down quite firm and leveling it off to the top of the container.

Then I poured all 1,000 seeds onto the top of the tray, spread the seeds out as evenly as possible, watered them in, and stacked them up on a heat mat.

You can see the whole process below in the video.

Stacking the Microgreen Trays

As you saw at the end of the video, I stacked the trays on top of each other, fashioned a cover for the top tray and put some weight on the stack.

I'm not sure what the stacking does for the seeds other than keeping light off the majority of the seeds. Maybe it forces the plants to set roots instead of growing upward?

stacking microgreen trays

I did notice on my attempt that the seeds were very loosely anchored in the seed starter mix. The weight may force the seeds to anchor themselves better to push up on the weight above them as if they were growing at depth in the ground?

Not sure, but I'll time will tell.

In future posts, I'll keep you informed on how the microgreen growing process is working.

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