Microgreens should have their own distinct smell but when the smell is foul, it is a sign your microgreens have developed mold or stem rot. This is a result of many factors including temperature and overwatering.
The rest of this article will explain what situations will make your microgreens smell and how you can save them without wasting the whole plant.
What Are Microgreens?
According to the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) in a research study by Massimiliano Renna and Vito Michele Paradiso, microgreens refer to young edible seedlings that are tender. They are grown in a bunch and harvested when their first leaves emerge.
Are Microgreens Good For You?
Yes, microgreens are good for you and your health. According to studies from the University of Maryland, microgreens have many health benefits such as various amounts of carotenoids (antioxidants) and vitamins.
Why Would Microgreens Smell?
The most common way microgreens smell is when they have expired or have gone moldy, but in the growing process, they can have some normal smells that can be prevented. Chemicals that your plants absorb can lead to smells so keeping up with your research on growing microgreens can prevent this from happening.
How Do I know If My Microgreens Are Moldy?
Microgreens begin to smell foul and their leaves begin to dry up and wilt when they have expired. Mold begins to form because of an overabundance of moisture due to humidity and overwatering as well as leaving them in the pot for too long without harvesting them.
There Is White Stuff At The Roots Of My Microgreens, Is This Mold?
The white fluffy hairs on your plants that appear at the root level are root hairs which are normal. Root hairs are natural to microgreen plants in their germination process and are commonly mistaken for mold.
What Is Germination?
According to Encylopedia Britannica, germination is the process your plant goes through when it absorbs water and comes out of dormancy. The nutrients from the water, oxygen, and the soil promote this process and help your plant to grow, root hairs are sprouted as a natural part of this process.
How Do I Know If It’s Mold?
Mold will be web-like, slimy to the touch, and has a musty odor which is what you would be smelling if your microgreens have expired. If it does not disappear after a rinse and is located above the root level of your plants, then it is mold.
How Does Mold Grow?
Mold forms because of moisture building in the leaves of your plant where it can’t be absorbed, for example, if you over water it will only soak up the water it needs and the rest will pool in one spot. Mold will usually start in one fuzzy ball of web and expand throughout the plant if left untreated.
Why Have My Microgreens Turned Yellow?
If your microgreens have turned yellow it is because of a lack of direct light and is also a result of overcrowding your plants. This can lead to mold and fungus if you’re not careful so you should try putting them under a direct source of light to promote photosynthesis and place them in a bigger planter.
My Plants Have Mold. What Can I Do?
The simple solution is to mix 1 ½ liter of water with food-grade hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar in a spray bottle then spray the plants evenly but not too much so you don’t burn them. Another solution is to put your plants under direct sunlight causing the mold to shrivel and die.
How Do I Prevent Mold?
In order to prevent mold, you must make sure your plants are growing in a rich environment for them to thrive without too much humidity, at a perfect temperature, and in a clean tray. Avoid overwatering them and overcrowding which will result in mold due to water being too present or not getting to all the seedlings effectively for them to grow.
How Do I Get Rid Of Humidity?
The best way to avoid humidity in your planting environment is to utilize a dehumidifier to help regulate the moisture. Regulating temperature with a heater in cool climates and a cooling device in warmer climates to 50-60 degrees fahrenheit (10-15 celsius) in your growing environment is important as well to your plant’s wellbeing.
How Do I Properly Water Microgreens?
An irrigation system is a perfect way to regulate watering your microgreens if you’re not sure about watering them on your own or do not have the time in your busy schedule. To water them on your own, you can water them from the top right after you’ve planted them, but once they develop leaves, use a spray bottle to water them from the bottom.
What Is An Irrigation System?
Irrigation systems are overhead watering systems that spray a fine, light mist of water over your plants. This is the most effective way to evenly water your plants without overwatering them and preventing stem rot and mold.
How Do I Prevent Overcrowding?
Plant your seeds more evenly and spread out or decrease the number of seeds in the tray so they don’t grow too densely. The seeds will push the other seedlings into the air getting dirt all over the plant and ruining the growth of the other plants.
My Plants Have Gotten Weak, What Happened?
Weak plants are a result of poor moisture control. If you water your plants too much or too little, the seeds aren’t properly prepared, this can lead to weakened plants.
How Do I Keep My Plants Strong And Healthy?
Plant the seeds as carefully as possible, water them as needed and not too much or too little, and keep the air regulated and temperature-sensitive. This will ensure your microgreen plants will grow strong and healthy for your harvest.
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.