Microgreens are plants that are harvested for consumption during the seedling stage, normally a week or two after a seed has been germinated. They can be one of the most nutritionally dense plant foods out there, given that they contain a lot of the nutrition already present in seeds plus phytonutrients derived from the beginning of the plant growing process (see here).
For these reasons and the fact that they can be grown in small amounts of space, all year round, I have decided to do a small home microgreen project in order to produce a relatively large amount of microgreens for home consumption. Since I have no experience creating setups of this type – I have worked in hydroponic forage productions but never microgreens for human consumption – I decided to look for the best possible setup and in the end decided to base this project on the setup described in this youtube video, following some of the advice given by this microgreen grower. Note that I do not know if any of the financial claims in this video are true or even likely to be true, I just liked the growing setup configuration.
Using my own experience in hydroponics I then went for the materials that I thought best matched what was given in the video and ended up with the following list:
- Styrofoam covers for trays (these you can definitely get cheaper, but these are the best compromise I could find on amazon, they are used in the dark phase of the germination process)
- Rack to place the trays in (there might be cheaper ones but I needed something aesthetic as it will be visible in my apartment)
- LED lights to use for growing (2 per rack section) (cool spectrum to limit etiolation, 2 tubes per rack space)
- Trays (pizza dought box) . (note that this is polypropylene, not fiber glass, 5 trays fit in the rack)
- Coco mats
- Bamboo sticks used as separators in trays
- Broccoli seeds (organic, untreated)
These are all the materials – besides water and hydrogen peroxide – that should be required to reproduce the basic setup I want to recreate. With this setup I will be able to grow 5 18×24″ racks at the same time, which is a lot of microgreens for home consumption. My plan is to experiment with broccoli seeds first – which are relatively cheap and easy to germinate – then move onto other plants that might be more expensive and difficult to germinate. Broccoli plants should germinate in 1-2 days and should be completely ready for eating in around 7 days. This can be a big difference compared with something like oregano which might take 6 days to germinate and then an additional 7-10 days to be ready for consumption. You can use a reference graph with the production times of different microgreens here.
I also have significant experience with enhancing germination, so this setup will provide me with the ideal conditions to test different germination treatments on the plants. Hopefully I will be able to cover those in this blog. This project might also be the perfect opportunity to start a youtube channel so that you guys can experience the entire setup first-hand.