Introduction to growing Microgreens in pots, containers: Microgreens are smaller than baby plants and bigger than sprouts, as they are harvested just after becoming sprouts in their second stage. Microgreens are becoming more popular these days. Microgreens are leafy greens, vegetable plants, and herbs that are harvested young when they are an inch or two. They are nutritious and could be picked quickly.
A guide to growing Microgreens in pots
Microgreens solve the problem of the potential for bacteria growth in sprouts as they are grown in an open-air environment. Unlike sprouts, the stem and leaves are eaten, not the seed and root. Microgreens are simply young vegetable and herb plants. They are older than a sprout and also younger than baby salad greens.
The purpose of growing Microgreens is to give you an avenue to the joy of growing and eating your food. We can imagine a time when every rooftop, windowsill, and a small yard is alive with trays of microgreen plants. You will find that growing Microgreens is surprisingly easy. Growing your Microgreens gives you access to fresh, living greens all year long with minimal investment of money and time. Taking the time to experience our food in this way is a wonderful gift to give to ourselves and also our families. They can give us a strong dose of digestible vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. While your taste buds enjoy their flavor, your body will reap the benefits of their concentrated nutrients. In this article we also discussed the following topics;
- Do Microgreens regrow after cutting
- The best Microgreens to grow
- How long do Microgreens take to grow
- Growing Microgreens in pots
- How many hours of light do Microgreens need
- Growing Microgreens indoors
- Microgreens growing tips
Microgreens are simply some types of garden plants such as cabbage, radish, mustard, cauliflower, etc that are grown to be harvested while the plants are still very young (after only 10 days). They are many reasons to grow Microgreens at home, but the main reasons are;
- Microgreens can be grown indoors all year long.
- Microgreens are fun and easy to grow and make a great hobby.
- Microgreens are easy to grow in a limited amount of space
- They are a fast crop that can be harvested as early as 8 days from sowing seed.
- Microgreens can be grown in soil or hydroponically.
- They are nutritionally dense and thus very healthy.
- Their flavors are generally more intense than the fully-grown vegetable.
- They have an amazing diversity of colors and also flavors.
- They are great well in salads, sandwiches, as garnishes and more.
- Many Microgreens are colorful and make an amazing garnish.
- Microgreens are a great introduction to gardening for beginners.
- No climate restrictions, due to a controlled, indoor environment.
- Incredibly healthy, living food to supplement a healthy diet.
The average length of Microgreens
The length you grow the Microgreens could affect the taste and tenderness as well. Generally, the ideal length must be between 3-7 inches for most Microgreens. Some Microgreens are shorter naturally; they are the carrot, marjoram, mint, and oregano; while some are taller, for example, the sunflower, fava bean, dill, and buckwheat.
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Location and soil for growing Microgreens
Select a spot that is partially sunny and less windy. It is best to provide exposure to about 5 hours of direct sun for flavor and vigorous growth. A minimum of 3 hours of direct sunlight is necessary. If your baby plants are leggy, inclining to a side and pale green in appearance, they could need more sunlight. However, Microgreens can survive in all day long bright indirect light. You can keep them under grow lights or fluorescent lights for 6 to 8 hours per day as well.
You can use seed starting mix or soilless potting mix; prepare your own sterilized growing medium for Microgreens in containers. Some people grow them in coconut coir or peat. In addition to that, you can mix a small amount of manure or compost or time-based fertilizer to that but there was no fertilizer added already.
Choosing pots for growing Microgreens
Shallow trays, bowls, seed pots or if you have something in your home that you want to reuse as a pot. A pot you use should be 3 inches deep and as wide as possible. Pots with 3 inches deep or more will allow you to keep Microgreens in case if you want to save some seedlings for transplant.
Choose a shallow plastic container with drainage holes, such as a nursery flat or prepackaged salad box (either clear or opaque will work). Then fill the container with 1½ to 2 inches of moistened potting mix. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the container and gently press the cardboard onto the soil to create a flat, even surface.
Best and list of Microgreens to grow in pots
Growing immature seedlings can be pretty much grouped into three main categories;
Sprouts – sprouts are defined as plants that have just sprouted their hypocotyl and seed is still on the majority of the sprouts to be harvested.
Microgreens – Microgreens could be harvested at the first true leaf stage.
Baby Salads – Baby salads are the plants develop to if left to grow in the media for a couple of weeks (sometimes longer) past the microgreen stage. As the name suggests, they resemble a “baby” size of the full-grown plant.
Leafy greens, herbs, edible flowers, vegetables, there are so many options to try as Microgreens. Some of the Microgreens can be given below;
Herbs – Parsley, Cilantro (Coriander), Dill, Basil, and Chives.
Leafy Greens – Lettuce, Cress, Fenugreek, Asian Greens, Spinach, Kale, Mustard, Rocket, Celery, Chard, and Wasabi.
Vegetables – Radish, Carrot, Beet, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Turnip, Peas, Cucumber, and Fava Bean.
Edible flowers and other best Microgreens are Sunflower, Nasturtium, Pansy, Wheatgrass, Buckwheat, Chia, Flaxseed, Clover, and Chickpeas.
Fill your container with seed starting mix
Initially, wet your seed starting mix until it is the consistency of a wrung-out sponge. Then fill your container with seed starting mix leaving some room at the top (you do not want your seeds to spillover). Smooth the surface of the seed starting mix.
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Sow the seeds of Microgreens in pots
Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the top of the seed starting mix. You will be planting them densely than if you were growing them to maturity. It is best to sow one type of seed in a container as different seeds grow at different rates. Though, you can experiment with different mixes.
Cover the seeds
Lightly cover your seeds with more seed starting mix. Then, make sure the seeds are completely covered.
Keep your container in light. If indoors keep the container in a sunny window or under a grow light. Keep the soil moist (but not soggy) and prefer to water them lightly with a spray bottle.
Selecting the best media for growing Microgreens in pots
Soil-based – Use a planting mix that drains well, free of clumps and stones, and doesn’t compact easily. Since you are harvesting the crop at about 1-3 inches in height, it’s not critical to have a lot of nutrients in the soil mix, so adding any nutrients must be done conservatively. You will want to keep the surface of the soil damp, but in several cases, keeping the soil too wet can lead to trouble with micros.
Any microgreen plant can be grown in soil, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice. Low growing crops such as basil, for example, end up pretty messy at harvest. The closer you can harvest Microgreens to the media while keeping it cleans the better.
Soil-less media – Soil-less media is comprised of various non-soil mixes. Coco coir, blends of vermiculite and perlite with an organic amendment, or hydroponic lava rock are examples of soil-less media. They can be leveled and lightly firmed so you can have a clean surface which is very important at harvest time.
Growing Microgreens without soil
Microgreens are grown in a thin bed of potting soil or hydroponically in a pellet of the substrate like peat, but with a little bit of liquid fertilizer, and they can be sprouted and grown on a mixture of vermiculite and perlite or even on a few layers of paper towel.
Microgreens can provide a habitat for bacteria such as E. coli to proliferate; going soil-free when growing microgreen adds an extra dimension of sterility. Boiling water can be used to sterilize a soil-free growth medium before seed sowing. The plants should still be carefully washed before consumption. Provided the liquid fertilizer input is calibrated correctly, Microgreens grown without soil can be a hassle and mess-free way to cultivate a small space.
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Temperature and humidity for growing Microgreens in pots
Most of the common Microgreens grow best at room temperature range 70 °F to 80 °F and between 50-60% humidity. As these factors can be varied from places to places, you could want to consider getting a dehumidifier and air conditioner for a more controlled environment.
Process of growing Microgreens in pots
- Normally, Microgreens are best grown in seedling trays or recycled Styrofoam boxes. They differ from sprouts in that they are grown in sunlight and harvested when there are 4 or more true leaves whilst sprouts are eaten much smaller. For your soil mix prefer between organic, potting mix (look for an organic certification number on the bag), coco peat, vermiculite, and sieved compost or worm castings.
- Find a south-facing window with plenty of sunlight or put an inexpensive grow light. Then found that a grow light mounted under kitchen cabinets works perfectly for growing greens on the counter if you have the space to do it. In warmer months, these can be easily grown outside.
- Then place an inch of organic potting soil in the bottom of a shallow tray or planter and smooth out to be as even as possible. Alternately, clear an area of the garden for growing Microgreens.
- Scatter seeds over the soil surface evenly. You will spread more seeds than you would if just planting the seeds to grow to full size since they will only get 1 to 2 inches tall and harvest as many as possible from each tray. Soaking the seeds overnight will speed sprouting time, but make it difficult to scatter them.
- And cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and spray the surface with clean, filtered water. Use an upcycled glass vinegar bottle with a misting spray top. Then place on the warming mat, if using, and under the grow light or near the window.
- Mist the seeds a couple of times a day to keep the soil evenly moist as waiting for the seeds to germinate. Microgreens are usually ready to harvest in 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the type of seed used.
- Once your microgreen seeds have sprouted, you want to expose them to 4 to 8 hours of light per day. Either from sunlight or LED grows lights.
- To grow another crop, removes the roots and replant or dump the entire tray in the compost and fill with more soil to replant. If you dump in the compost, some straggler seeds generally volunteer and make a crop of their own a few weeks later. Most Microgreens do not regrow. But, if there is at least one healthy leaf left, the microgreen will have a good chance to regrow.
Watering the Microgreens
Water from the bottom carefully so as not to disturb or uproot the tender microgreen plants. To keep the moisture, water regularly. You can use a sprayer or mist water using hands lightly.
Microgreens are grown thickly in a small area, so the water capacity is crucial for them to survive. The main reason why a microgreen falling over is usually that lacking water.
Garden pests in Microgreens
For indoors, Microgreens are generally worry-free from the pest problems. While outdoors, they will be the easy target for countless predators, contain the caterpillars, bugs, worms, flies, and ants that feed on them.
How and when to harvest Microgreens
Microgreens usually get ready between 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the seed type. Harvest as soon as the set of actual, true leaves appears and they are about 1 to 3 inches tall. Pick a scissor and snip the Microgreens just above the soil line. Don’t assume that new growth will appear from the bottom and reuse the containers to start new plant seeds.
Microgreens are generally harvested when there are four or more leaves. Cut the shoots just above ground level by scissors. Many plant types will regrow and can be cut several times. You might be interested in Papaya Seed Germination Period, Temperature, Process.