Photo Blog: Experimenting with Microgreens
Many of you may have already heard about the rapidly growing trend of microgreens. Others may have heard of them, but are unaware of what they actually are, and some may be thinking that microgreens must be something that only exists on another planet. However, these fresh vegetables and herbs that stand no greater than 3 inches in total height, give true meaning to the term “it’s the size of the fight in the dog”. Packed with intense, delectable flavor, these pint-sized plants have become a delicacy and are in particularly high demand among high-end restaurants.
Producing microgreens is just as easy as growing the crops that we all know and love. So here at Growers Supply we have been doing some research and experimenting with microgreen production in one of our Micro FodderPro 2.0 Feed Systems. We’ve been documenting our success, and we want to show you how easy it is to start producing your very own microgreens.
Of course, your first step is choosing what microgreens you want to grow and getting seeds. Pictured are our seed jars that contain mustard, radish, buck wheat and spicy mix seeds. We have also grown water cress, arugula and bulls blood beets.
There are many types of media to grow microgreens on, but for our trials we’re using burlap. The burlap cuts down on your water usage by absorbing and holding the water for a greater amount of time. This gives the seeds time to soak up water that would have previously gone to waste. Measure and cut the burlap to fit into your trays or channels and then soak it for a few hours. Pictured below is one of our 1020 flats and GT80 Channels from the Micro FodderPro System lined with burlap.
Soaking the burlap for a few hours will help it lay flat and make spreading the seeds easier.
Sprinkle the seeds onto the burlap so they are evenly spaced. Then place the channels in your system and connect them to your main water supply. The amount of time it takes to go from seed to harvest will vary based on the type of microgreens you are growing.
During the first few days, monitor the watering carefully to make sure the burlap soaks evenly and there are no dry spots.
The next stage of growth that you will encounter is sprouting. During this time, the seeds root tips begin to emerge.
Shortly after the root tips emerge, the cotyledon stage begins. A cotyledon is the first leaf that protrudes from a seed. This is not a true leaf however, it is better compared to a tree’s trunk. The cotyledon emerges so that the seedling can begin to collect nutrients on its own and develop a root system. Pictured below are some of our seeds under LED lighting during the cotyledon stage.
After a few more days, the first true leaves begin to appear.
In the final stages, you will want to monitor your crops growth very closely. Letting certain microgreens grow too tall can mean sacrificing taste and overall quality. At Growers Supply we have been experimenting with how light can manipulate growth. As a rule, red spectrum light keeps plants short, while a blue spectrum light fuels vegetative growth, but also encourages height. We have found that using a red/blue mix has produced the most positive results. Pictured below is our Lumibar LED Strip Light that we have been experimenting with on our microgreens.
After 90% of true leaves are present on your crop, you are ready for harvest.
Have a question about producing microgreens? Leave us a comment and we will be sure to get back to you. You also can give us a call Monday-Saturday at 1.800.476.9715 and speak with one of our knowledgeable National Account Managers. Feel free to stop by our website anytime at www.GrowersSupply.com to purchase all the materials you will need to start your own microgreen production today.