Microgreens are extremely young plants, essentially being harvested shortly after poking through the soil. I am someone who does not generally jump onto bandwagons, but these are just too great not to do so. If done correctly, they are cheap, easy and delicious and are a great potential fresh vegetable source for areas with a short growing season.
The Future Harvest Microgreen Method
- Start out with 2 1020 trays (these are the trays that bedding plants typically come in), using one with holes and the other without. Set the one without holes aside for now as you'll only be working with the one with holes for now.
- Get some biodegradable paper towels and cut a piece to fit on the bottom of the tray. Put it into the tray and dampen it with water.
- Dampen some peat or coco based growing medium (it should have some perlite and vermiculite in the mix).
- Fill the tray about 2.5 to 3 cm (about an inch) deep with growing medium.
- Sprinkle seeds onto the medium, they should applied very generously with most almost touching one another depending on the size of the seed. Getting a feel for the ideal rate will take some practice so don't worry if it's not perfect the first time.
- Sprinkle a second layer of growing medium over the seeds, just covering them (about 1/2 cm or 1/10 inch).
- Put the finished tray into the second tray (the one without drainage holes).
- Mix up a fertilizer solution. I recommend using our Holland Secret 3 part since it has all of the necessary nutrients. Use at a rate of 1.5 ml of each of the Grow, Micro, and Bloom in 4 liters of water. Ideally the pH should be adjusted to 5.8 to 6.2.
- Add about 2 cups of nutrient solution to the bottom tray and the moisture will soak into the growing medium.
- For best results put the trays under a humidity dome. Put the finished tray under compact florescent lights.
- During the coming days monitor moisture levels and add more nutrient solution as needed.
- Most plants should be ready for harvest 7-10 days after seeding. It's best to compost the used medium or put it directly onto a garden as it will be extremely root bound making it difficult to use for another round of microgreens.
Note: Most types of plants could be grown without fertilizer since there isn't time for severe nutrient deficiencies to develop. However they grow very slowly without it, roughly twice the time is needed. Also the plants picking up fertilizer will have a higher mineral content (Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron).
I would recommend being careful with using organic fertilizers as they can use animal waste which can potentially contaminate the microgreens with pathogens like Salmonella or E. coli.
Buying Cheap Seeds
There are a lot of good reputable seed companies online who will be able to provide high germination rates and many different varieties, however it is possible to save a lot of money on a few core types of seeds. Bulk food stores sell a number of seeds which could be used such as wheat (wheat grass) or sunflowers, spices such as dill, mustard, cumin, coriander (cilantro) are also good options for fresh herbs. I would recommend only purchasing a small amount the first time as they are not guaranteed to germinate, but if they do go back and buy a larger amount. Don't be afraid to experiment with what's available as these are only a few suggestions.