in

Step by Step Process for Growing Microgreens

Step by Step Process for Growing Microgreens

Fill your tray with the growing media you have chosen. If you are using soil, you need to use one to one and a half inches of soil. Make sure there are no large particles in the soil. You can avoid this by using a screen.

I use a big empty container and put a wire screen over it. I then open my bag of germinating mix on top of the screen and push it through to break up the soil.

Next, I take a 10×20 tray and put it inside a big bin to fill it up with soil using my hands. I do this with however many trays I need and then proceed to the next step.

You can press down the soil lightly in order to level out the soil. The reason you should level out the soil is so there will be no water pockets in the tray.

I use a wooden board the size of the tray and press it down lightly. Don’t compact it too much because it will be harder for the roots to go into the soil.

Next, you will need to moisten your soil. Use a spray bottle or a garden hose with a sprayer at the end. Make sure it drains properly and no puddles are present. Then take your seeds and sprinkle them evenly on the tray. You don’t need to bury them in the soil.

Note: if you have seeds that need to be pre-soaked you should have soaked them for 6-8 hours before starting to seed.

Once you have spread the seeds you need to mist them one more time before covering them with a blackout dome. You can put a seeding tray without holes over it and cover them that way.

If you are growing sunflower microgreens you need to weigh them down using a seed tray and a brick. That way they develop strong stems.

The blackout dome has two purposes:

● To keep the light out
● To keep the moisture level high during germination

Check daily how moist the soil is and mist the microgreens if necessary. If the blackout dome has moisture on the sides and top you are doing a good job. You want the soil to be moist (especially in germination time).

Once you see that the stem is coming up, it’s time to remove the germination dome and let the plants soak up the sun or artificial light you have installed.

The time until uncovering depends on the kind of microgreen you are seeding. If you are seeding peas or sunflowers you can wait until they are one to two inches high before you uncover them so they will grow taller.

If you are seeding broccoli microgreens you can uncover them when they reach around a half-inch because they will not grow very tall.

Check daily if watering is necessary. Don’t use the spray bottle for watering after the germination stage. It’s best to water the soil directly (from the bottom) without misting the leaves and stem. This is to reduce the risk of mold growth.

The soil should be kept moist, not wet. You can either water them directly on the soil and let the excess drain to your drip tray or you can pour water in the drip tray for the roots to soak it up from there. Don’t worry, the roots will have extended to the bottom of the tray after germination.

Next, let’s look into what your plant should look like when they are ready to harvest. Luckily, you should be able to tell by looking at your plant that it will be ready to be harvested soon.

This will help you to be prepared and to know when the time is right as well. Microgreens can either be harvested during the cotyledon stage (first two leaves or seed leaves) or they can be harvested during the true leaf stage.

The cotyledon is also considered the embryonic leaf of a plant. The cotyledon stage is when the plant sprouts out of the ground and the first two leaves appear. This is the stage that tastes the best for most types of microgreens.

The true leaf stage is when the plant has already passed its cotyledon stage. As you can guess from the name, the true leaf stage is when the plant gets its first set of true leaves.

Microgreens that are more bitter in flavor are best when they are harvested during this stage. An example of a type of plant that would taste best eaten in the true leaf stage as a microgreen would be any type of lettuce.

Development into the microgreen stage

Once you know that your microgreens are ready, it will be time to do the actual harvesting. To do this, you will need a knife or scissors depending on which tool allows you to be the most comfortable while you are cutting your microgreens.

You will want the scissors or knife to be sharp so that it is able to cut through the stems of your plants easily and smoothly. You will want to cut the stems of your plants just above the soil line.

The height of the plants when you cut them will depend on how big they grew in the short time since they sprouted. Typically, you will find yourself cutting the stems of the plants between half of an inch to one inch above the soil.

Another good tip to remember when you are choosing when to harvest your plants is that you can taste a small amount of your microgreens before you harvest them.

When you taste them, consider writing in a journal about how they tasted and how many days or weeks it has been since you have sown them. If you do this, you will be able to pinpoint the perfect time to harvest your microgreens.

The perfect time to harvest microgreens is not a magic number that you can find in a book or on the internet, because it is a different answer for every person.

This is because everyone who grows microgreens uses different growing systems, techniques, and locations. These are the things that make your microgreens grow either quickly or slowly.

The next stage is cleaning them. If you don’t want to clean them or there is no contamination of the soil or seed hulls you can just harvest them and put them in your food. However, when you are selling them, I recommend giving them a wash first.

When you harvest your microgreens, it is extremely important that you clean your crop as soon as possible.

In order to wash your microgreens, you will want to rinse them in cold water before enjoying them with your salads or in your smoothies.

You could also choose to fill your clean kitchen sink with cold water to soak the microgreens before you eat them as this provides a thorough clean to ensure there is no soil left.

If you leave them wet and store them for later use, they will quickly begin to go bad in the fridge. Because of this, you need to always remember to dry your microgreens after you go through the process of cleaning them.

To dry your microgreens, you will benefit greatly from owning a salad spinner. If you use the salad spinner in combination with some paper towels, you will be able to get just about all of the water off of your crop.

Another option to dry them is to spread them out on a screen (where air can freely flow under and on top). A herb dryer is perfect for this purpose.

You can use a fan to speed up the drying process. This is the most passive method but takes the longest amount of time.

Next, you should get rid of the soil you used to grow your microgreens. You can throw it on the composting pile for later use in the garden.

Some people reuse their soil once it has composted. I do not recommend doing this because there could be harmful bacteria and could create mold outbreaks.

You not only need to be careful about bacteria growing on your crop, but you need to look out for these dangerous bacteria on your growing materials as well. One of the items that you should clean to ensure that there are no bacteria is your growing trays.

In order to clean your growing trays, you should start by emptying the soil. Next, rinse your tray with clean water. If necessary, scrub the dirt of the trays.

Remember that rinsing with water only removes the remainder of the debris and it is not enough to ensure that the tray is free from harmful germs.

To make sure these dangerous germs go away for good, you should soak your trays in a bleach solution after each growing cycle. Bleach is the only way to fully ensure that all those bacteria are gone for good.

Use one tablespoon of bleach for every gallon of water. This is by far the easiest method. Soak them for a few minutes and make sure the water and bleach solution makes contact with all the trays.

Some people use different methods to clean their trays, but you do need to know that these methods are not as safe as simply doing a bleach soak. Some people choose to clean their trays with hydrogen peroxide.

A simple bleach soak is the easiest option to ensure a complete clean. This is the only cleaning option that I would recommend for you to use.

The last thing on the to-do list is to clean your harvesting area to make it ready for another batch of seedlings.

Microgreen Varieties

Here, I will give you guidelines for the most commonly grown microgreens: whether you need to soak them or not, the cover time (blackout time) and how long you can expect to wait to harvest your crop.

The time can vary from person to person so don’t take this as a rule, rather as a guideline. Use your own notes and experience as a reference.
https://geekgardener.in/2019/05/31/how-to-grow-microgreens/
Arugula

Soak:No
Cover time: 1-3 days
Time to harvest: 8-12 days
Notes:​Short microgreens, around 1 ½ to 2 inches high. Tastes spicy and bitter. Also called rocket salad in other parts of the world.

Sunflower

Soak: Yes
Cover time: 2-4 days
Time to harvest: 8-14 days

Notes:​ Soak the seed in water that’s pH balanced to 6 for 6-8 hours before seeding. Once seeded, weigh it down with another grow tray or and some weight in order for the stems to develop. Once it pushes up the weighted grow tray 2 inches, remove it and expose it to sunlight.

Kale

Soak: No
Cover time: 2-4 days
Time to harvest: 6-10 days

Radish

Soak: No
Cover time: 1-2 days
Time to harvest: 8-10 days

Notes: Fast-growing crop, tastes spicy.

Broccoli

Soak: No
Cover time: 2-3 days
Time to harvest: 6-10 days

Notes:​Delicate microgreen. If you wait too long to harvest it will start to fall over.

Mustard

Soak: No
Cover time: 2-4 days
Time to harvest: 6-10 days

Notes: Spicy microgreens

Pak Choy or Bok Choy

Soak: No
Cover time: 2-3 days
Time to harvest: 8-14 days

Komatsuna

Soak: No
Cover time: 2 days
Time to harvest: 8-12 days

Cress

Soak: No
Cover time: 2 days
Time to harvest: 7-14 days

Notes:​Do not soak the seeds. the seeds will develop a sticky outer shell that will bunch together. Harvest on time before they start to fall over.

Lettuce

Soak: No
Cover time: 3-4 days
Time to harvest: 8-12 days

Red-Veined Sorrel

Soak: No
Cover time: 5-8 days
Time to harvest: 21-30 days

Amaranth

Soak: No
Cover time: 3-6 days
Time to harvest: 8-14 days

Wheatgrass

Soak: Yes
Cover time: 2 days
Time to harvest: 8-10 days

Notes: ​Wheatgrass is used for juicing and animal feed during winter. When it’s grown in large quantities it’s grown using hydroponics without fertilizer. You can use the traditional method (soil) for smaller quantities. These regrow after you have cut them

Pea

Soak: Yes
Cover time: 3-5 days
Time to harvest: 8-14 days

Notes:​Pea seeds have a hard shell so they take a long time to germinate. To speed it up, you should soak them first for 6-8 hours in water with a pH of 6. You can add weight on top while germinating but you don’t need to (experiment with this). They can grow up to 5 inches tall.

Beet

Soak: Yes
Cover time: 6-8 days
Time to harvest: 10-14 days

Notes:​The hulls of the beets are not easy to get rid of. Brush the canopy with your hands to get rid of the seed hulls. It might be a good option to cover the seeds with a half-inch of soil first to get rid of the seed hulls.

Swiss Chard

Soak: Yes
Cover time: 4-7 days
Time to harvest: 10-14 days

Notes:​Each seedpod contains 4-5 seeds. Don’t expose them to light too soon and give them enough space. Not an easy one to grow. If this crop fails, try to cover them with a half-inch of soil to make them germinate better.

Cilantro

Soak: No
Cover time: 6-7 days
Time to harvest: 18-23 days

Notes:​Try to order split seeds because each seed pod has two seeds in it. Some people soak them. If your harvest fails, try to soak them to improve germination.

Basil

Soak: No
Cover time: 4-7 days
Time to harvest: 10-15 days

Dill

Soak: No
Cover time: 2-4 days
Time to harvest: 15-20 days

Buckwheat

Soak: Yes
Cover time: 3-4 days
Time to harvest: 8-12 days

Cabbage

Soak: No
Cover time: 2-4 days
Time to harvest: 8-12 days

Kohlrabi

Soak: No
Cover time: 2-4 days
Time to harvest: 10-14 days

Celery

Soak: No
Cover time: 6-8 days
Time to harvest: 18-22 days

Leek

Soak: No
Cover time: 3-5 days
Time to harvest: 12-14 days

Fennel

Soak: No Cover
time: 3-5 days
Time to harvest: 15-17 days

Constance Harrington

Written by Constance Harrington

Constance Harrington is an award-winning and recognized botanist specializing in flower hybridization who wishes to bring clear and precise gardening knowledge to as many people as possible. Harrington has poured hundreds of hours into research (as well as into her own personal gardens and endeavors) and as such has an amazing eye for horticulture and all of its intricacies. She has authored several articles for the website focusing on a vast variety of topics, from basic gardening techniques to more advanced and specific topics for professionals. Constance aims to help with all aspects of your garden—-from technique to economics to culinary—-and she carries with her both the knowledge to do so and the written prowess to explain it to you in an easy to understand way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Easy Techniques for Growing Microgreens at Home

Easy Techniques for Growing Microgreens at Home

6 Common Microgreen Problems with Simple Solutions

6 Common Microgreen Problems with Simple Solutions