The trickiest part about microgreens is just getting them to germinate evenly. A lot of this comes back to laying the seeds out in a consistent method, although with microgreens growing in a 7-14 day cycle from seed to harvest, it’s okay to “crowd” the seeds together.
For most standard 10x20” growing trays, if you were growing kale, for example, about 1 oz of seed would be used throughout the entire tray. That’s actually quite a bit of seed in a small amount of space.
That said, I haven’t been weighing out my seeds, nor am I using standard containers. When I get that soil more standardized (getting close), then I am gong to start weighing out seeds and going about that a bit more deliberately. I’ve seen videos where folks simply put their seeds into a shaker and just evenly distributes on a bed (like I’ve done with some regular long leaf kale), like one might spread salt and pepper across a steak before throwing it on the grill.
New Experiements & How-Tos:
1 ) Mustard Microgreens: How to germinate
These little dudes are so cute and super quick to germinate. Lying on my heating pad and covered with a kitchen towel, they were ready to set under the light after 48 hours. This is similar to the blue curled kale, so I’m considering mixing these together in a salad mix I hope to start producing soon, but I’m choosy about what’s going in there.
I want it to be a mix of micros with similar grow cycles and germination times so they can grow up together and be ready about the same time. Mustards are quick to germinate.
For these, you need about the standard microgreen soil depth of 1” in a shallow tray. Densely “sprinkle”, as as evenly as possible, the seeds on top of the soil. Press down gently and water generously.
I use vented covered containers when I can then put them on the heating pad and cover that with a kitchen towel to block any light until they germinate, which, for mustards, is usually about 48 hours.
This was right after I uncovered the plants from the germination station and moved them to the lights. If you are new to growing plants in general, they are very yellow not because they are mustard, but because they have not yet been exposed to light. Photosynthesis in true form, here.
After only about 3 hours, this is what the mustard greens have transformed to! I moved them closer to the stronger light of the two I have mounted in the shelf (You can read more about my shelf and grow station here), and they are greening up quite quickly. I almost did a double-take thinking they were kale. I haven’t tried them yet, but I am really excited to do so.
Again, what a difference a day (or half of one) makes in the world of microgreens. Here they are about 12 hours under the light, and as you can see they have greened up even further and even grown some, as well. Mustard greens have been the fastest seeds I’ve germinated to-date.
2 ) Sugar Snap Pea Shoots
These are the ones I am most worried about in general. I’m not sure if the fact that I risked it, threw caution to the wind and went ahead and laid them out without soaking them first...with these I even made a point to bury them barely below the soil, but they have still pushed above the surface, and I am concerned some of them may not be growing correctly. I have already soaked some seeds and planted them above ground as is the other popular method. I will be sharing my results on the yields as they are available.
All the peas started below the ground on recommendation of a couple of resources, so instead of pressing them into the top of the soil and then spraying them down with water, I added them to a layer, and then gently pushed a light layer of soil over them. As they expanded, they are coming to the surface, but I am afraid that the aeration from the shoots coming up has perhaps broken the ground too much to support their root structure. Hoping for the best with these.
This is how they looked two days later. I was pleased to see activity, but I’m wasn’t entirely sure the natural infrastructure was in place to support the weight of these shoots. After the last couple of days, I’m a lot more hopeful. Here is how they look now:
3 ) Basil Greens
It’s funny, that in a diverse array of plants on the market and in the world, that on a myriad of lists that start out with “Good Plants for Microgreens,” that many of them will just mention “herbs, “which I feel is a bit short-sighted, as these are not made to take “forever” to germinate and grow to term. That being said, I’m going to give it a shot with Basil and with Cilantro (more on that later).
I just put the basil out yesterday so there’s not much to look at. It’s sitting under the germination station in a mini take-out box converted greenhouse and it looks like it’s starting to do something, but I’ll post pics when it actually starts doing something.
4 ) Cilantro!
Cilantro is my favorite thing in the world, so when I realized I could make a concentrated version to enjoy on some of our homemade tacos, I was super stoked on this concept...however those mugs are taking forever to germinate. I’ve heard they take a little longer...I’ve had the heat applied to try and speed up the process, but I’m again hoping for the best. I am going to try soaking some next time for 24 hours and see if that yields faster germination.
Greens Still on my List!
1 Sunflower Micros
2 Lavender Micros
3 Oregano Micros (planted some and still waiting for germination)
4 Radish Micros (planted some Cherry Belle and very excited to report on those soon)
5 Arugula Lettuce
6 ...all the different kinds of kale in the world
7 ...all the different spinach in the world
As always, if you have expertise to share, I’d love to hear it. I also want to shout-out to the @sotall community for their support in Steemit homestead and prepping cultures. Much appreciated.
Also, if you have any ideas for chill micros to grow I would love to chat in the comments!
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