Beet microgreens do not need weight. The seeds are heavy and hearty enough to do without it. That said, you can weigh down beet microgreens, but this is entirely personal and optional. If you think they need it because of the tray or growing medium you’re using, then by all means weigh them down.
But, there are other microgreens that will need some kind of weight. These are kale, sunflower and radishes. However, you will weigh down seeds as a precursor to the dark period. You won’t weigh seed for the entire growth period.
What Does It Mean to Weigh Down Microgreens?
To weigh down microgreens means to both add a substrate to the bottom of the growing tray and on top of the tray cover. When you do this, it leads to thorough and faster germination. This prevents the seeds from drying out and allows them to build thicker, stronger stems. It also assists the seeds to shed their hulls.
Using weight helps trap humidity within the soil and gives the seeds excellent contact with the soil. And this is what allows their roots to have a great hold within the soil as well.
How Do You Give Weight to Microgreens?
When deciding to give weight to your microgreen crop, you ideally want to use something that will add anywhere from three to seven pounds. You can do this with a heavy lid but you can also fill the bottom with a good substrate.
You can use anything like sand, pebbles or fine-ground lava rock. You simply add about an inch of the substrate to either the growing tray or the watering tray, depending on how you’re going to do it. Then, add the cover to give the seeds a little more weight.
Do Microgreens Need a Dark Period If You Weigh Seeds?
Yes, even if you weigh seeds as an option, you still need to give them a dark period. This is an essential aspect to their growth and they may dry out or not take to the soil if you attempt to skip this. Therefore, both weight and the dark period are crucial.
You will first weigh the seeds for about three to six days, depending on the plant. It will then be time for the dark period.
For How Long Should Microgreens Have a Dark Period?
The length of time microgreens need for a dark period will heavily impinge on the kind of microgreens you’re growing. But, in the case of beets, they will require a dark period of about two to seven days for germination. Some varieties of beets will take longer to germinate than others.
Why Don’t Beet Microgreens Need Weight?
Beet seeds are heavy, hearty and have a definitive hull. They don’t require the extra effort and care as kale, radish or sunflower seeds. However, some people opt to weigh them anyway because they like the final results. So, it becomes a matter of personal preference.
Which Varieties of Beets Are Good as Microgreens?
You can grow almost any kind of beet as a microgreen. What’s more, you don’t have to buy specific seeds intended for beet microgreen gardening. You can use any beet seed you have. The following list contains some of the most delicious varieties to grow as microgreens:
- Bull’s Blood
- Detroit Dark Red
- Rainbow Blend
Should You Soak Beet Seeds before Planting?
You don’t have to soak beet seeds before planting them. They’re amazing plants that way. That said, there are some gardeners who will soak their seeds for about eight hours before they plant them. But, it’s not a necessary step.
What’s the Best Way to Grow Beet Microgreens?
Beet microgreens are one of the easier crops to grow. So, if you’re new to the microgreen game, start off with these delicious morsels. You need a microgreen tray or a starter seed kit with a bottom watering tray. Whatever you use, ensure there are plenty of drainage holes.
You can use seed starter soil mixed with a little coconut coir for best results; substrate or weights are not necessary. However, ensure the soil is extremely moist. You want it almost sopping wet, but not quite. It should be similar to the texture of wet sand after it rains.
Plant the seeds, ensuring you give them enough space so they don’t crowd each other. Cover the seeds, use a dark cloth if you have to and let them sit there for about two to seven days. Begin checking on them for germination after the fourth or fifth day. Once you see sprouts forming, remove the cover.
How Many Hours of Light Do Beet Microgreens Need Each Day?
Once you remove the cover after the dark period, ensure you’re giving your beet microgreens about eight to 12 hours of light every day. Therefore, it’s best to use a grow light so you can control the conditions for the best crop you can possibly get.
Do You Have to Water Beet Microgreens Often?
No, you don’t have to water beet microgreens frequently. That’s one of the great things about them for beginners, they actually thrive on a little thirst. After they begin to germinate, you want to water them about every three days or so. The soil can become a little dry, but not too much.
When Are Beet Microgreens Ready for Harvesting?
Your beet microgreens will be ready for harvest in about 10 to 20 days after initial planting. However, some may take a little longer because of genetics and how fertile the seeds are. But, if you choose to weigh the seeds, it may take as little as a week.
How Do You Harvest Beet Microgreens?
When the beet microgreens are ready, it’s time to harvest them. Using a clean, sterilized gardening or kitchen shears or scissors, take a clump of the greens and cut them just above soil level. You can cut them all or you can opt to cut them when needed.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.