step by step guide to Growing Microgreens
When it comes to growing microgreens, we don't think there is only one right way. If your seeds germinate and a week or two later you can harvest them, then you're successful. With that being said, we've experimented with a lot different growing techniques, trying to find exactly what works best for us in terms of yield and consistency, and these are the steps that we follow. We wholeheartedly encourage you to explore other methods as well, and find out what works best for you and your growing conditions! Check out the resources page for links to other farms and farmers, check out what they're doing, and try new things. Fear complacency!
Before you begin, in addition to seed, soil, and growing trays, there's a few things you’ll need:
Weights (brick, large can of soup, rocks, etc.)
Growing in the right climate will help ensure your success. When you are just starting out, we recommend growing indoors, in a climate controlled area. Normal house temperatures are perfect for microgreens, anything between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit will be comfortable for your crops. Good air circulation will benefit your crops and help prevent any mold from getting to your greens.
Most crops take between two and four days before they are ready to expose to light When you have an even germination of seed, with young sprouts starting to push up over the soil line, the crops will be ready to expose to light.
The greens in this kit are fairly flexible when it comes to light. If you have a light you can put your
tray under, that’s ideal, but really any bright, indirect light will do. A lot of people are successful
with just the bright lights in their kitchen or in a room that gets a lot of sunlight. Avoid extended
exposure to direct sunlight, the heat can easily scorch your tray of delicate greens. The less light
the microgreens get, the more “leggy” they will become, as they stretch out to reach for more
Part One: Preparing your growing media and sowing your seed
Step 1. Hydrate your coco coir wafers
Hydrate two of your coco coir wafers by placing them in a dish and slowly drizzling water on them. As they expand, break up any dry pieces and continue to add water little by little until no more dry pieces remain. Avoid adding too much water during this step, you don’t want any dry pieces, but you also don’t want your coco to be sopping wet.
Step 2. Ensure your growing medium is the right moisture.
Before you begin to plant, take care to ensure your soil has the right amount of moisture. If it's too dry, some of the seeds will not germinate, but if it's too wet, you'll be putting your crops at risk for mold and fungus! A good gauge to see if the soil is too wet is to take a handful of your coco and give it a strong squeeze. If any water comes out when you do this, hold off on planting until you can remove some of the moisture. Either set it aside and let some of the moisture evaporate off, or add more dry coco coir, little by little, to get the ratio just right before moving on.
Step 3. Fill your tray with your hydrated coco coir
When your coco feels moist, but still light, airy, and loose, you're ready to fill your tray.
Take your coco coir and put it into one of your 10”x10” trays. Using your hands or a flat object, work it into a nice, smooth, even, layer in the tray. We have found that a nice even layer of soil across the tray equates to nice even seed germination across the tray.
Step 4. Sow your seed
There's plenty of ways to go about this, but ultimately, you’re just looking to distribute your seed as evenly as possible over your growing medium. We find it easiest to empty the premeasured seed pack out into a cup to do this step. We sow our seed using back-and-forth sweeping motions, letting a small amount of seed out of the cup with each pass. Take your time on this step, it's always easier to add more seed to an area than to take away!
Step 5. Spray, cover, weight, and wait.
Once your seed is sown evenly over your tray of coco, take your spray bottle and hit all of your seeds with a light mist of water, cover your crop for germination by taking your second 10”x10” tray and nesting inside of your first tray. Place your weights evenly inside, on this tray, and move it to a spot where it can sit, undisturbed, for the next 2-3 days while your seeds germinate. Your crop will sit in darkness until the seeds have evenly germinated and start to lift up on the weighted tray. The young, yellow sprouts should be about half an inch tall when you give them their first water and expose them to light.
6. For about the next week, or until your crop is ready to harvest, you’ll need to water at least once a day. Use a measuring cup or similar spouted vessel that you can carefully pour water from across your tray. it’s all about keeping a consistent level of moisture across the growing media, not too wet, not too dry. Amount of water you need to give your crops varies greatly
by season and by climate, so err on the side of watering less and checking back a little more frequently until you get a feel for your growing environment. Here’s a few helpful guidelines on watering:
a. Too dry- this is easy to spot, when the coco coir becomes dry, it goes from a dark brown to a light brown and becomes loose and crumbly. If you see this, give it some water right away!
b. Overwatering- After you water, pick up your tray and give it a tilt. Does water flow to one side of the tray? If so, the tray has too much water. If possible, try to gently and carefully pour off some of the excess and go a little lighter next time.
c. All varieties are different and require different amounts of water. A good rule of thumb to consider is that the larger microgreens (sunflower, sweet pea) will take up more water than their much smaller counterparts (amaranth, arugula). The same holds true with tiny young microgreens requiring more water after they get a little bigger.
d. When the microgreens start to mature and their leaves begin to fill out, it’s a good idea to part the greens as you water. You want to make sure the water gets down to the soil and the roots, instead of just sitting on the leaves.
10. Finally, the step you’ve been waiting for- HARVEST! You can either cut from your tray as needed or harvest the whole crop and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To cut your microgreens, gently hold and lift up on the greens while you use a sharp knife or scissors to carefully cut them off above the soil. And you’re done! Time to use your microgreens! If you plan on storing them for later, dry off any excess moisture with a towel or fan and keep them refrigerated, in an airtight container. Stored properly, you should expect them to stay fresh for at least a week, but if you’re anything like us, they’ll be consumed before
If you have any questions about growing, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 702-539-8446. Happy growing! -Avalon