Microgreens are a great way to get the benefits of veggies without having to eat an entire head of lettuce! They grow in just 3-14 days and can be grown indoors or outdoors. This blog post will help you learn how to grow them, what supplies you need and where you can sell them.
How to Grow Microgreens from Seed Indoors
Before you start, you’ll want to measure out the optimal seed level needed for each tray and then follow these steps:
- Only put enough growth medium in your trays
- Clean all trays, especially if reusing them from food containers
- Smooth out the medium
- Slowly water it from end to end
- Seed the growth material
- Place the trays into your frame
- Apply between 12-16 hours of growth light during the day, preferably from a broad spectrum lighting system
- Circulate the air in your growth area to stimulate their development
- Harvest the microgreens
- Mulch or compost the growth medium
- Wash and reuse the trays
How to Grow Microgreens Outdoors
Find an even surfaced area outside and then try these tips:
- Rake the soil to flatten it out even more
- Pick the hardiest microgreens, like radishes, and seed the ground as though it were an indoor tray
- Cover them with a thin layer of moist potting soil
- Press the seeds into it
- Uncover them after 4-5 days
- Brush off the seeds
- Water them with a gentle mist from your hose
- Begin watering them on a daily basis for around a week
- Harvest them using a knife or scissors
- Wash them before packaging
Since outdoor conditions are usually harsher, you’re generally limited so far as to what sorts of seeds you’re going to want to use.
What Tools Are Needed?
Outside of trays, you’ll need a frame and a series of growth lamps if you’re growing microgreens indoors. You’ll also need scissors for harvesting the crops as well as a small rake and other similar related hand tools.
Other than this, you shouldn’t need anything that you don’t already have. Make sure to keep all of these clean, however, since sanitation is important to prevent contamination of your crops.
What Supplies Are Needed?
You’ll need a particularly rich form of soil to serve as the basis of your growing medium. Seeds are of course important, as is a supply of clean water.
Depending on the specific type of microgreen crops you’re cultivating, you’ll also need a fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen but doesn’t have any risk of spreading microorganisms into the vegetables themselves.
Information is another important supply since you need to be sure that there’s at least some market for the microgreens you’re growing if you plan on selling them.
What’s the Best Light for Growing Microgreens Indoors?
A high-quality full-spectrum LED growth light is usually best for growing microgreens. You want to make sure that the lamp you pick puts out more than enough light in a specific set of wavelengths, which should be noted on the packaging by the manufacturer.
A light that’s too red or white-shifted isn’t going to help most types of microgreens grow. Make sure that you’re not working with any lamps that use traditional bulbs because these could very well start to grow your electric bill as well as your plants!
Which Seeds are Easiest to Grow?
Red acre cabbage and Vienna kohlrabi are probably the easiest to grow, but they might not give you as big of a market as you may have hoped. These two grow very quickly and absorb a lot of water, so they’re easy to harvest once they start to produce large sophisticated leaves.
However, don’t count out kohlrabi, because these have long been a regional favorite in some Midwestern markets and are a choice vegetable in Kashmiri cuisine.
Which Seeds are Most Profitable to Grow?
Local market conditions and regional demand are going to impact which seeds are the most profitable at any given time. These change constantly and it’s not easy to simply say that one seed is going to make you more money than another.
Full-scale operations, regardless of which crops they’re growing, can reasonably make around $400-500 so you may wish to focus predominantly on scaling your work than on picking certain seeds. Network and do your best to build connections with restaurants or grocery stores that need microgreens.
These outlets will then provide instructions about what sorts of crops they need the most.
Do Microgreens Regrow After Cutting?
Most microgreens won’t grow much after their second cutting, but you may get at least some secondary harvest from them. Some microgreens, especially those related to lettuce and cabbage, might grow through several harvests before you have to replant them, which is one of the reasons that these tend to be the most affordable to grow.
Kohlrabi, however, usually only produces a single bulb each time. That being said, you might be able to get several cuttings of the leaves from plants that grow from bulbs.
Can You Reuse the Soil?
While most microgreen growers will actively mulch the soil after using it and replace it with a new growth medium each time, you can reuse it in an outside environment. A good idea is to add a covering of rich potting soil to the top each time you grow while taking advantage of the underlying dirt in the process.
You’ll also want to augment the reused soil with some form of nitrogen-based fertilizer, depending on the type of greens that you’re growing.
Tap Water or Filtered Water?
Using tap water is fine as long as you don’t have too much calcium. If your faucets are coated in little white crystals, then you’ll have to rely on filtered water.
Microgreen growers in urban areas that have high amounts of chlorine in the water will also need to go with filtered water. This is the same for those who have water with a pH that’s either too high or low.