I have completed a group of VLOGs to show you how to grow microgreens at home. One part that I need to mention is that you need to have a way to monitor water daily. Some types use more than others. I would suggest starting around a cup or a cup in a half or roughly 236 to 354 ml. Then you can see what your water usage is. It will more than likely increase as the plants grow. If you are doing hydroponics check your pH as you go. More than likely you will not have to worry about pH too much b/c of the short grow cycle. I would suggest looking up cheap and home remedies for changing pH if you need to. Finally make sure to and watch the plants themselves. You will be able to tell if the environment is not right. Look for wilting, mold, “leggy” plants, and poor growth. Those are signs something is not right. I will periodically share more tricks and tips as I get better myself with microgreens. Have a great day!
I wanted to update on the progress on the microgreens I seeded in the video a couple of weeks ago. Here are some pictures one week in. I will be sharing how to cut/harvest them soon.
The seed density was ok but probably could have gone up a couple of grams. They should yield decently.
Let me know if you have any questions!
What is a microgreen? If you have never heard of one and they sound fancy never fear it isn’t a weird as it sounds. A microgreen is simply the younger version of a plant. When talking about microgreens we are generally referencing some form of a green or herb in a very young state. In fact the microgreen phase of the life cycle is around 10-26 days after the seeds have been sown. That is a pretty fast turn around!
This little greens of which you probably have heard of and consume in adult form, broccoli, pea shoots, kale, arugula, basil, and many more have become much more popular. The reason being is that these little guys pack a serious nutritional punch. They can have as much as 4-40 times the nutrient density of the full sized plant! They also look very nice, have awesome flavor profiles, and are a very profitable and easy to grow crop.
If you ever go out to a fancy restaurant you may see them as a garnish on your plate. They add a “pop” to the plate and are an edible garnish. They are in many of the health food stores. The main focus for many growers is sunflower shoots and pea shoots. They are in fact what got me into growing. I really enjoy growing and eating them. I will be doing a video on how to seed a microgreen tray for those of you interested in trying on your own. I would suggest starting there because startup costs are low, they can be grown indoors, and are generally easy to grow. Not to mention they are very healthy and you could sound really smart by saying you know how to grow microgreens. I look forward to posting my video and hope to get feed back from you all!
When seeding a 10×20 in tray it is important to know how much seed to use. Too much seed can increase disease pressure and also increase waste. Your microgreens will not be able to grow appropriately. This can be a very expensive mistake. Seeding not enough is a waste of space and you will not get the yields you are looking for. So how much do you need to seed then?
I like to think of it by weight. That allows for you to track just how much you are using and also helps when attempting to decide around how much seed you need to purchase. Seed your trays with about 15 to 25 grams of seed evenly across the tray. If you find that this suggestion is too much or too little then reduce or increase in 3-5 gram increments. To give you an idea of how much a gram is, there are rough 453.5 grams in a pound. The amount you seed will vary by seed type. So just experiment until you find a happy medium.
If you have decided to do an indoor grow then getting grow lights should be a number one priority. Obviously plants need light to grow and without light you will not be successful growing microgreens. There several classes of lights.
These are the types of lights we use. Fluorescent lights are cheap and they have a good light spectrum if using the proper bulb. We use daylight spectrum light bulbs in our operation. The bulbs last long which is also good for your wallet. These lights have low heat which is good, but selecting the right bulb is important so that your microgreens are getting what they need.
These have a good light spectrum and they are good for both vegetative and flowering plants. The downside is the lights have a shorter life and also generate a lot of heat. It is important to have fans to cool these lights so they do not generate too much heat in your set up.
LED lights are low heat, very energy efficient and blue/red lights can be combined to get the full light spectrum. The lights themselves are also small so they are great for mounting and set ups with constrained space. The big downside with LED lights is they are expensive. If you are trying to start a side business with this and dont have a ton of extra capital then it may be good to start with another type and graduate into these lights as you get more money.
All three lights listed above are good choices and have their pros and cons. Your nearest hardware store will also have the lights needed and obviously there are also many websites that sell grow lights that you can go to. If you have a hydroponics store they will also have all kinds of grow lights as well.
This will be a fairly brief post. We will be discuss the decision to have either an indoor or an outdoor growing operation. Both have their advantages and disadvantages the grower needs to decide what they need.
At McCormick Growers we have decided to do an indoor growing operation. The main reason is because of the ability to control the climate and grow year round. That is the huge advantage especially for those who live in a place where the winter cools the surroundings markedly. If you decide to do an indoor grow there are some things to consider. First do you have a place to keep your greens in the sun or do you need grow lights. We use grow lights and have a grow tent where we control the climate for our greens. The more controls you choose to have the more money you will spend. If you are serious about growing it is a good investment especially if you want to sell to customers.
An outdoor grow is good because it is lower cost than an indoor provided you already the the land to grow. That is the major advantage of an outdoor grow. If you live in the right climate it also requires less maintenance and the elements can be your ally(sunlight, rain, wind etc). The disadvantage is you can have less control over the environment. It also can restrict your growing season if you are in certain parts of the world.
You can also mix them in some ways by having a greenhouse. The benefit there is you don’t need to necessarily have grow lights because the sun is available. You also have the indoor benefits of all seasons and the climate control options. This is the direction we will go in as we gain capital and space. The best bet is to decide how you would like to do it and execute.
As a part of what we would like to deliver on our site not only access to buy our products but to teach you how to do it yourself. We realize that not everyone has interest in doing so and for those people please order from us :). For those who are interested in growing their own microgreens we would like to be a place to share information on how to do it. Lets get down to business.
When you want to start an operation the first question that is important to consider is how would you like to grow your microgreens. The options lie in weather you would like to do a traditional grow using soil and water or if you are interested in hydroponics or aquaponics. All ways are acceptable but it is worth doing the research. When using a soil based growing operation the nutrients are in the soil and you need to just sow the seeds and water. In the case of microgreens that would be about it since they are going to be ready to harvest pretty quickly.
If you choose hydroponics then you will need to get a growing medium and nutrient solution. The growing medium is what the microgreens grow in and the nutrient solution is mixed with water and delivered to the roots. Hydroponics can be more expensive to start because you generally will need a pump of some kind to efficiently deliver the solution unless you use a wicking type method or you manually deliver the nutrient solution by hand. You will more than likely need grow lights and/or other climate controls. The advantage of hydroponics is that they are more water efficient than soil operations because you deliver to the roots you don’t need to use as much water. McCormick Growers is currently a hydroponic operation because we feel it is more sustainable.
Aquaponics is similar to hydroponics except for the nutrient solution you use the excretions from fish to feed the plants. The plants recycle the water and any excess goes back to the fish and it cleans their water. It is a very cool process and is a way to not only grow greens but fish as well. You of course need to have the fish food and some pumps to get the water to the plant roots but the rest is taken care of. We will graduate to this type of growing once we get more space for our operation. In our next blog post we will discuss indoor vs outdoor growing. Have a great night and happy growing!