Did you know growing microgreens without soil is something you can learn and do because they are simple to grow at home? Microgreens are smaller than baby plants but bigger than sprouts. They grow quite fast and harvested in their second stage after becoming sprouts. Microgreens have gained popularity these days because of two critical reasons:
- They are a nutritional powerhouse – The densest foods ever
- They are great for garnishing
What You Need When Growing Micro-greens without Soil
- Seed. Use organic seeds that are specifically sold for growing microgreens. You can get these from nurseries and online retailers.
- Trays. To grow your microgreens you will need to have a tray. The tray should be thick, in perfect condition, and without any holes.
- Growing Medium. You will need a medium in which you grow the microgreens. You can use coconut coir, grow pads, well-drained soil, or clean water for hydroponic. In our case, we will use the hydroponic system.
- Light. Light is important for plant growth and microgreens are not any different. Get a good source of light from the sun or the LED grow lights if the room you are using is dark.
- pH Testing Kit. Always test the water you use to grow your plants for the right pH level. The right pH level should be around 6.
- Nutrients. Your microgreens will need the right nutrients to thrive. Giving micro greens additional nutrients will do them good than harm. Use organic micronutrients specifically made for growing without soil.
- Spray Bottle. To help water your baby greens, you will need a spray bottle. Get a specific one for your microgreens rather than use an old one or one that is used in other plants. This is to avoid contamination.
How to Grow Microgreens Hydroponically at Home
- Prepare filtered water with a pH range of 5.5 – 6.5. Get 10 x 20 plastic trays together with hydroponic growing pads. Pour in water and ensure the growing pads are completely soaked with no dry spots. Once soaked lay them flat for seeding. You can use paper towels instead of growing pads. Fold the paper towel several times to make a thick layer that will not be washed away by the water.
- Spread your seeds evenly on the wet pad or paper towel. If you want to grow a denser crop, use about 3 tablespoons of seeds. This measurement is perfect for growing microgreens like arugula, broccoli, radish, and mizuna.
- Use your spray bottle and spray the seeds evenly 12-15 sprays. Take an empty dark-colored try and spray the water inside and put it upside down on the growing tray. This provides humidity and moisture while keeping the seeds from excessive light.
- Place both trays at a warm location where they will get good light and a temperature of between 65-85F.
- Use a spray bottle to spray the seeds every 10-12 hours. Do not water the tray or overwater.
- The seeds will sprout after 4-5 days. Uncover the tray and keep it at a spot that receives direct sunlight for at least 3-4 hours. Keep rotating the tray so that it gets even light on all ends.
- Check the water levels by pressing your finger at the pad. At this point, stop using the sprayer bottle and water normally. Water until the pad is soaked fully with water.
- The microgreens will be ready for harvest in 10-12 days while others can be harvested in 7 days.
- Harvest them early morning or late evening and enjoy eating them in salads.
Benefits of Growing Micro-greens without Soil
Growing microgreens without soil need lesser water compared to growing them in the soil. Using the hydroponic system allows you to re-use the water again and again making it economical.
Here are two major benefits:
- You can grow them all year round for your nutrients
- Some microgreens varieties like kale, wheatgrass, kohlrabi produce a better crop in water than in soil