We all know that microgreens are delicious and nutritious. But, did you know that growing them in your backyard can be profitable too?
Microgreen backyard farms are becoming a huge trend recently. A lot of backyard growers can make a living out of small-scale microgreen farming. The good news is that you can also make your own microgreen farm!
If you want to know how to grow microgreens commercially, you’re in the right place! Today, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know before starting your own microgreen business!
Growing Microgreens Commercially: A Step By Step Guide
As you already know, growing microgreens commercially is all about finding the best customers and scaling your farm up. However, you still have to start somewhere.
Step 1: Gather Enough Information
If you’re going to invest your money in any business, you have to know everything about it. That’s why the first thing you need to do is gather as much information as you can.
You can learn about microgreen farming in a variety of ways. One of my favorite methods is by reading guide books. If you’re into reading, here are some of the best books that you can try out:
- The Market Gardener: A Growers’ Handbook for Small-Scale Farming
- Microgreens: How to Grow Microgreens for Fun and Profit
- The Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit
What I like about these books is that they have all the information you need in one place. The first book is also available as an Audible book, which is great if you’re busy.
Besides books, you can find tons of youtube channels that offer multiple tips on backyard gardening. However, books are more convenient and focused on what you need only.
Step 2: Prepare Your Supplies
Now that you’ve gathered enough information about your future business, it’s time to hit the market and prepare your supplies.
Here’s a brief list of the things you’re going to need to kickstart your microgreen business.
Each tray is usually about 10 x 20 inches in dimensions. Trays vary in price. However, most of them cost less than $5.
Most microgreen trays have holes in them to drain water. These are great for soil growing. However, there are some trays with no holes, which are better for hydroponic growing.
There are a lot of plants that count as microgreens. With limitless possibilities, you might get a bit overwhelmed.
No matter what kind of seeds you go with, it’s important that you pick a good seed variety from a reputable seller.
In some cases, soaking the seeds in water overnight before seeding might speed up the germination process. However, you shouldn’t try this unless the package specifies that you can do that.
If you can’t find instructions about pre-soaking, it’s better to be cautious and continue without soaking.
Most Profitable Microgreens to Grow
The top microgreens that are both high in nutrients, profitable, and simple to grow are sunflower sprouts (chickpeas growing), red clover sprouts, and arugula.
Of course, you can use any kind of water to water your seeds. However, some microgreen varieties are delicate and require less chlorinated water.
In that case, you should depend on a more purified source of water. Even better, you can invest in a water filter and save more money in the long run. Additionally, you’re going to need a quality plant sprayer to water your microgreens.
One of the best things about microgreens is that they grow on almost all kinds of growing media. You can grow microgreens on soil, coconut coir, hemp mats, burlap, and more!
However, to make good profits out of your farm, you need the maximum yield. According to studies, growing microgreens in the soil had the best yield possible.
Additionally, it’s a more sustainable system in the long run, as you can reutilize the same microgreen soil. Sustainability is something you should look for in your business.
The best option in the market is Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix. The top-selling soil has all the needed nutrients to promote excellent microgreens growth. It also has a low pH, which is ideal for microgreen growth.
If you’re going to grow your microgreens in a room with plenty of natural sunlight, you won’t need to add any extra lighting systems.
The amount of light needed by the plant depends mainly on the kind of microgreen you’re growing. This is where gathering enough information comes in handy.
Growing microgreens is different from regular crops, as you’re not waiting for fruits to ripen. Instead, you only grow towards the first set of leaves. There are many types of indoor lights to choose from, including:
- Strip lights
- Gooseneck LED lights
- Hanging LED lights
You can choose any of these lights depending on your personal preference and the dimensions of your room. Adjust the lights at enough distance, so you don’t burn or overheat the leaves.
Step 3: Find Buyers
As I mentioned earlier, finding a customer who’s willing to buy your products isn’t going to be a burden. The best customers are
- Grocery stores
- Farmers market
If you don’t like the hassle of looking for customers, you can go for a wholesale merchant. Although you will make the least amount of profit, it will save you the trouble of finding customers.
Step 4: Water the Plants
As a rule of thumb, you should water the plants at least twice every day. Once the seeds start to germinate, you can go 1 to 2 times a day. The idea here is to keep the soil moist all the time.
However, avoid soaking the soil with water. This can suffocate the plant. Additionally, it can cause the plant to rot.
Step 5: Adjust the Temperature
Luckily microgreens can survive through a wide range of temperatures. Generally, you want to keep the temperature at about 65 to 75 °F.
Step 6: Harvest the Microgreens
As you know, microgreens are usually ready to harvest starting from one week and up to 28 days after you plant them.
Ideally, you need to harvest the microgreens when they’re about 1 to 3 inches tall. Simply cut them with clean kitchen scissors from above the soil level.
After you collect your microgreens, give them a good rinse and dry them on a paper towel and seal them in a labeled bag with airflow. Now that you’ve prepared your labeled bag, it’s time to sell your goods to the buyers!
The Benefits of Having a Microgreens Business
Before heading into the juicy stuff, you should do what all successful business owners do. Assessing the benefits of your business is an important step towards making the best out of it.
In the following list, I’ll explain all the reasons that make microgreen growing a great idea for you.
Microgreens Are High-value Crops with a Huge Client Base
One of the best things about microgreens is that they usually have premium price tags. A lot of clients would pay top dollar for a batch of your freshly-grown microgreens.
A lot of microgreens are super healthy. They’re packed with tons of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutrients. Not only that, but they also add excellent taste to foods.
Besides being healthy and tasting good, they also look great on a plate. That’s why a lot of restaurants use them as a garnish.
For all these different reasons, microgreens appeal to a lot of customers. In other words, if you make quality microgreens, you’ll always have a buyer at your doorstep.
Easy to Get Started and Scale-Up
Another great value about microgreen farming is the low initial costs. For example, you can produce enough microgreens to make a consistent profit starting with a couple of trays.
Besides the trays, you’ll also need some seeds and a growing medium. But more on that later. All you need to know for now is that you can start with as small as 2 or 3 trays and make a profit.
Based on the previous point, it’s relatively easy to start your homegrown microgreens business. Once you start making consistent profits, it’ll be easy to scale up.
Scaling up is also as simple as getting started. There’s no new step to make, as you’ll only add more trays and prepare them like your first ones.
Microgreens Grow Quickly
If you’re farming regular crops, space isn’t the only thing you’ll need to have. While growing crops like wheat or maize, you need to be patient, as it’s going to take you a full season to harvest your crops.
On the flip side, microgreens don’t take that long. Instead, most microgreens grow quickly, so they’re ready for harvest in less than a month.
This quick turnover means quicker revenue. This is extremely advantageous when kickstarting a new business.
No Wasted Seasons
Microgreens can grow all year round. To achieve similar results with normal crops, you need a lot of specific preparations, lightings, and a greenhouse.
With that said, you now have a complete answer on how to grow microgreens commercially. As you can see, the microgreen business is fairly simple and you will start making real profits in less than a month.
Even if you have a regular farm, adding a section for microgreens can be extremely beneficial for your off-season financing.
By following this guide, you can start your farm successfully. Remember, Knowledge is your key to success in the microgreen business. That’s why you should always be on the lookout for all the new technologies and farming techniques.
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.