One of the best things about microgreens is that they prosper on a wide range of growing media. This makes them fun to grow for hobbyists as well as commercial backyard farmers.
One of the best things about microgreens is that you can plant them on various growing media. But which one is the best for your microgreens?
Read on, if you’re looking for the best growing medium for microgreens.
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In a Hurry? Here’s a Summary of the Top Picks
- Best soil mix: Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix
- Best Burlap fiber: Richcraft 12″ x 10yd Burlap Roll
- Best coconut coir fiber: WindowBox Coconut Coir Liner Roll
- Best biostrate fiber: Biostrate Hydroponic Growing Mats
- Best hemp fiber mat: Terrafibre Hemp Grow Mat
What Are the Best Growing Media for Microgreens?
Let’s have a closer look at all the advantages and disadvantages of the different options you have. Additionally, I’ll guide you towards the best available products for them in the market.
Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix – Best Soil Mix
Although it can get a bit messy, a good potting mix will give you the maximum yield while staying relatively affordable compared to other options.
Besides being reasonably priced, growing in soil is also highly sustainable, especially in the long run. You can reuse the soil over and over. All you need is a composting and sterilization systems. Through these systems, you’ll be able to recycle the system more than once.
The Fox Farm potting mix has an amazing blend of nutrients that promotes excellent microgreens growth. It also has a low pH, which is ideal for microgreen growth.
Moreover, growing in a soil medium is extra beneficial if you have farm animals. They love to feed on the harvest remains. However, you have to make sure that you sterilize the soil.
Science also backs the fact that soil is the best growing medium for microgreens. A study that compared different growing media found that soil had the best overall yield. It also confirmed that microbial count is the highest in the soil.
Sterilizing the soil is quite easy, all you need to do is bake the soil in a preheated oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. The temperature should be about 180 °F (82.2 °C).
If you don’t want to use an oven, simply lay the soil on the tray and cover it with a plastic sheet. The layer should be a couple of inches thick and it should be left for about a month.
- Has the best yield and performance
- Farm animals can feed on the harvest remains
- Can be reused
- Has a high microbial count
- Messy growing medium
Richcraft 12 x 10-yard Burlap Roll – Best Burlap Fiber
Burlap comes from the skin of the jute plant. It’s known as “Hessian fabric” outside the U.S. and Canada. The fabric is also used to make ropes and nets.
The most special highlight of burlap is that it’s one of the most economical growing media to go for. While average soil might cost you a $1 per tray, burlap costs around $0.25 for the same amount.
Despite being one of the cheapest, it’s also one of the most difficult and unforgiving growing media. In most cases, growing with burlap generally leads to erratic and inconsistent results.
Unlike soil, burlap is just fabric. This means that it won’t have enough nutrition for microgreens. It also doesn’t retain water well. To make a good yield out of burlap, you need excellent fertilization and irrigation plans.
Additionally, you need a near-perfect temperature and humidity levels. You should keep your microgreens at a consistent 75 °F (23.8 °C) and a 50% humidity to expect good results.
Unfortunately, with all the strict measures, there are a lot of things to monitor at the same time. Moreover, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, affecting your yield negatively.
That’s why it’s a bad idea to start microgreen growing using burlap, especially for beginners and new backyard farmers to start a microgreen.
On the other hand, an expert can save a lot of money with burlap while getting similar results to soil growing.
- One of the most affordable growing media
- Works well with large seed varieties
- Excellent profit if mastered correctly
- Not suitable for beginners
WindowBox Coconut Coir Liner Roll – Best Coconut Coir Matting
Coconut coir is made out of the fibers of the outer shell of the coconut fruit. Making this fiber requires minimal processing, which contributes to a lot of features of the coco coir as a growing medium.
Coconut coir is one of the most consistent fibers to use as a growing medium. As a result, it’s unlikely to overwater coconut coir, as most excess water will run over it. A coconut coir liner also has a very good ability to retain moisture.
Since it requires minimal processing, it comes at a reasonable price. Coconut coir liners usually come at a lower price than soil, with most of them costing about $0.5 to $0.6 per tray. The price often depends on the quality the husk used.
Minimal processing also means minimal external additives. These fibers are devoid of any harmful chemicals, which is ideal for microgreens.
Coconut coir comes in a wide variety of forms too. You can buy them as rolls, sheets, blocks, and pre-formed baskets.
The ideal ones for storing are the dehydrated blocks. To use them, you need to add some water and watch them expand several folds. On the other hand, sheets and rolls are much easier to cut and shape.
Coconut coir is odorless but can be quite messy too. Similar to burlap, coconut coir doesn’t have sufficient nutrients for your microgreens. That’s why you need to add fertilizers to the mix.
- Holds in moisture quite well
- Relatively affordable
- Comes in various shapes
- A bit messy
- Doesn’t have enough nutrients
Grow-Tech Biostrate Hydroponic Growing Mats – Best Biostrate Felt
Biostrate is a man-made textile produced by Grow-Tech LLC. It’s a biobased lightweight textile fiber that is engineered specifically for growing microgreens hydroponically.
What makes Grow-Tech biostrate special is that it has a balanced pH and holds moisture. The textile fiber is also compostable and biodegradable, which is great for recycling growers.
Biostrate is relatively pricey, as it costs about $0.85 per tray. The price is more than most other growing media except high-quality soil.
Another advantage of using biostrate is that it’s ready to plant, so you won’t need to do any pretreatments before using it. It’s also very easy to cut and shape.
Grow-Tech LLC still holds the exclusive rights to making Biostrate Hydroponic Growing Mats. Currently, It’s only available through them.
- Requires no pretreatment
- Easy to cut and shape
- Excellent for hydroponic growing
- A bit pricey
Terrafibre Hemp Grow Mat – Best Hemp Fiber Mat
As the name suggests, these mats are made of hemp fibers. Hemp fibers are somewhat similar to coconut coir fibers.
They’re priced slightly higher, which is about $0.65 per tray. Hemp mats are ideal for microgreens, especially broccoli and kale.
They hold water slightly better than coconut coir, which means less watering throughout the day. Also, the pH is a bit lower, which is more favorable.
The main downside of hemp fibers is that they’re relatively less durable than coconut. That’s why you need to be careful while dealing with them.
Terrafibre Hemp Grow Mat is excellent for microgreens. It comes at a wide variety of sizes, so you can choose the ideal one for you.
- Ideal water retaining properties
- Lowered pH is better for microgreens
- Easy to cut and shape
- Might break when its wet
Which Growing Medium is the Best for You?
As you can see, there are multiple options to go with. Choosing the ideal medium depends mainly on your situation and what you need.
Ideally, when it comes to growing microgreens, the soil remains the best general option to go for.
However, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, coconut coir should be ideal for you. You can even save more money by opting for a burlap medium. Yet, I don’t recommend that you go for it if you don’t have enough experience to handle burlap.
If you like soil results but looking for a less messy option, coconut coir won’t save you. Instead, opting for hemp should be your best bet.
Lastly, if you’re growing your microgreens hydroponically, you can’t use soil. In that case, you can choose between biostrate felt, hemp, or coconut coir.
With that said, choosing the best growing medium for microgreens shouldn’t be a tough decision for you.
As you can see, each growing medium has its pros and cons. Personally, I’d still go with Fox Farm Happy Frog Soil Mix. Despite being messy, the soil is an all-round perfect medium for microgreens.
However, if you want to grow your microgreens indoors, you should go for Terrafibre Hemp Grow Mat. Hemp produces minimal mess, making it ideal for indoor microgreen growing.