Best Tools For Microgreens


Best Tools For Microgreens

A farmer is really only as good as his tools. Microgreens are nutrient-packed plants that are harvested a little while after their seedling stage. These short cycled greens are easy to grow, develop and harvest. Nevertheless, to do this, you need tools.

The tools used for growing microgreens depends on the stage of development of the greens. There are tools used for growing microgreens, tools used to maintain microgreens and finally, tools for harvest. Here are the best tools for microgreens that we would be reviewing; seeds, water, seed trays, spray bottle, organic soil, compost or fertilizer, hydroponic soil (optional ), plant labels, heat mats and grow lights. 

The tools for Growing microgreens also depend largely on the growth medium of choice. Tools would vary if you were using Potting soil or soil-less medium or even a hydroponic system. Without further mouthing, let us delve into a complete review of the tools that are used to grow microgreens. Our review as stated earlier would be divided into three parts; tools for growing, tools for management, and tools for harvest.

Best Tools for Growing Microgreens

Microgreen Seeds

This is the first and most important starter material, without which there would be no microgreens.  At first,  microgreens were only available in high-end restaurants and cafes, but nowadays, they are mainstream. 

You can choose to grow microgreens from a single seed or use a mix. As a beginner, it is better that you avoid microgreen seed mixes and go for single seeds of a particular species.  If you have the intention of growing two separate seeds, then it is best you grow them in two different containers. 

Some of the Factors You Should Consider When Choosing Microgreen Seeds 

It has to come from a trusted supplier

As the popularity of microgreens is increasing, a lot of suppliers are entering the market. As there are lots of quality suppliers, there are also whack ones. You just need to be on the lookout for the best microgreens seed suppliers. The best three suppliers of microgreens seeds are;

  1. Johnnyseeds.com 
  2. Gardeners.com
  3. Seedsnow.com

The seeds should have high germination rate

The germination rate of the microgreen seed is very important when selecting seeds. There are a lot of instances where the germination rate is very low. This usually ends up in a loss of time and/or resources. Endeavour to make inquisition about the germination rate of the seeds from its supplier. Also, try to abstain from seeds with germination rates lower than 85%. 

The seeds have to be 100% organic

If your microgreens are 100% organic, they can be grown without the aid of chemicals or pesticides. Also, if they are organic, they can be grown without soil, using a hydroponic medium. You can also go ahead to grow using hydroponic larva rocks or synthetic materials like coco coir, peat moss etc. 

Best Microgreen Seeds to Start Growing Right Away

Here are the ten most popular microgreens that you can start growing as a beginner. 

  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Radish
  • Beet
  • Chia 
  • Sunflower 
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth 
  • Broccoli

Water 

Another tool important for growing microgreens is water. You have to be careful about where you source water for your microgreens. Whether it is melted down winter snow, pumped up well water, gathered rainwater, piped in pond water, bottled spring water or municipal tap water, exercise a lot of scrutiny when choosing your water source. 

Beware of water sources that are chlorinated. Chlorine increases the alkalinity of water; it also affects the taste and colour of your microgreen plants. Microgreens do not do well in alkaline water or growth medium. These edible greens thrive well in water that is slightly acidic 5.5 to neutral 7 pH. 

Seed Trays

Another important supply that you need is the microgreen seed tray. With the tray, you spread your organic or a soilless medium like coco coir over the tray. You then sprinkle your seeds that have been presoaked and cover the tray for germination to take place. The tray also needs to have holes in it, and your grow medium, a high water retention capacity. The reason for the holes on the tray is for drainage so that the growth medium would not be waterlogged. 

You can grow microgreens with just any tray. Though the standard measurement for your seed tray should be 10” x20” trays. 

Spray Bottle

The spray bottle is used to dispense water to the microgreens. It is used to occasionally mist the microgreens so that the vegetation and the soil media would have a constant water supply. One good practice is to water your greens using your spray bottle every one to two days. 

Soil 

Using soil as a growth medium is one of the best ways of growing microgreens. You can use organic soil or soilless media like coco coir, jute pads etc. 

Compost 

Compost is a natural and slow-release fertilizer that is used in growing microgreens. They add nutrients to the soil medium slowly in comparison with commercial fertilizers out there. However, most people debate whether microgreens need fertilizer. You can grow them with or without compost. Most microgreens need nutrients to thrive, while others do not. Using compost to grow microgreens has advantages accrued to using it. Compost is eco-friendly, it helps to lessen garbage pickups, it aids in soil conditioning, enhances soil structure, etc. 

Hydroponic Soil 

In using hydroponic soil rather than conventional soil, you get to save a lot of space. With hydroponic soil, you can use a customized nutrient solution that is built to serve your greens well. 

In addition, with hydroponic soil, you get to deal with fewer pests and diseases. This is because the hydroponic system of growing microgreens is very sanitary and does not support bacterial life.

Some of the best hydroponic soil out there includes vermiculite, hydroponic larva rocks, coco coir and jute pads.

Plant Labels 

This is another tool that is employed in growing microgreens, especially if you are a first-timer. Plant labels can be purchased from Amazon, and they can be made out of any household item. The only thing you need is a bit of imagination. You can use ice-lolly sticks, broken fragments of terracotta pots, twigs, pebbles, yoghurt pots etc.

Damp Paper Towels

Damp paper towels are another interesting tool used for microgreens. You have to keep your microgreens between damp paper towels. Then, ensure that they are kept in a cold and resealable bag till they hit the plate. With this method, they would not wilt or dry out during service.

Grow Lights

One of the most important requirements for growing microgreens is light. After germination, the microgreen seeds need light to photosynthesize and grow. Without sufficient lighting, your microgreens would look pale and weak. You can choose to use natural light: but this might be risky as your greens might be exposed to the scorching sun. There is top-notch artificial lighting that you can find on Amazon. 

My recommendation of lighting best suited for microgreens is the 6000K Daylight T8 Fluorescent light. The T5 fluorescent or LED lights are also effective for growing microgreens.

Heat Mats

 Heat mats are used to provide a perfect germination condition for the microgreen. Most seeds have different growing conditions, but as a general rule, microgreens should be grown at a warm temperature. The job of the heat mat is to keep the microgreen warm during its germination stage. 

Some of the best heat mats for your microgreens include:

  • Hydrofarm 20” x 48” heating mat
  • Vivosun heat mat and thermostat set
  • Growerology 10” x 20” seedling heat mat

Why You Should Use a Heat Mat to Germinate Microgreens 

There are four things that microgreen seeds need to germinate properly; heat, light, moisture and oxygen. Every microgreen seed is different and needs different amounts of these four growth variables. For now, we would be dealing with heat. 

In a normal microgreen garden, the temperature of your soil is usually 5-10 degrees cooler than your air temperature. This is due to the evaporation from the soil medium causing evaporative cooling. With a heat mat, your microgreen seedlings would be provided with a uniform temperature that can be calibrated to the requirements of the specific seeds. 

Best Tools for Managing and Harvesting Microgreens 

As we have reviewed grow tools for microgreens above, let us look at harvest and maintenance tools for microgreens.

Depending on the type of microgreen seed you chose to grow, your greens should be ready for harvest about two weeks after planting. 

Shears or Sharp Scissors

You can order any of these in a local store or on Amazon. Do not pull the microgreens out of the soil, use sharp scissors or shears to cut the plant a little bit above the soil level. Then store in containers, preferably a basket. 

Conclusion

A farmer is only as good as his tools. Growing microgreens as a beginner or a veteran require the best tools. There are varieties of tools and they can be classified into tools for growing, tools for maintenance and finally tools for harvest.


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