ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Pre-soaking - Out of the varieties that we currently grow, the only seeds that need soaking are - Pea Shoots, Sunflowers and Nasturtiums. The reason we soak these seeds is to soften the outer shell and in turn this helps with germination. We soak for approx 12-24 hours. You can also soak for less time (A minimum of 6-8 hours). Use plenty of water when soaking make sure to rinse thoroughly 2 to 4 times before sowing.
Growing Medium - In our grow-room we use a mix of compost and vermiculite to grow our plants. We recommend using this medium. Please note : for convenience and ease we have included coconut coir into our Micro Starter Packs so that you can get started straight away growing microgreens. If you enjoy the process and wish to continue growing on a regular basis then we recommend sourcing compost and vermiculite from you local garden centre.
Vermiculite helps to aerate soil while simultaneously retaining water and nutrients, which it then releases over time. Vermiculite is therefore useful in seed sowing and propagation.
Coco Coir is short for Coconut Coir and is made directly from actual coconuts. This material is made out of coconut fiber. Coconut coir is one of the most effective growing media for water retention out there. It can absorb up to 10x its weight in water, meaning the roots of your plants will never get dehydrated. Coir is 100% organic and a renewable resource, it is uniform in composition, odourless, provides good drainage / good aeration, high water holding capacity, great absorption, and promotes strong root growth.
Our Wooden Punnets - 250ml in size. 100% biodegradable with their composition in wood from French poplar resources managed in an eco-responsible way and without treatment. Food safe.
Air Flow - What we use are the computer fans that help to keep air flowing. What we use are the computer fans that help to keep air flowing. For every level of our vertical grow space we have a computer fan fitted. Plus we use table top and pedestal fans situated in different areas of the room which helps to keep a good constant circular flow of air around the plants. We use a dehumidifier in our grow room to keep the humidity levels at a maximum of 60%. The ideal temperature to grow is around 70° F (68 to 72) = 21°C . Favourable temperature range of 18 to 24°C and relative humidity (RH) of 40 to 60 per cent would meet the needs of most plants.
Heat - During the germination stage it’s important to ensure your seeds have warmth. At this stage this is what they need, they don’t need light to germinate. We don’t use heat pads underneath our trays. If you have one then you can use one but we prefer to keep our grow space at a constant good all year temperature and have portable heaters for the cooler months which have thermostats/ timers to keep a constant temperature in the grow-room.
Germination / Black Out Stage - we have a section in our grow room for our germination/ black out stage. As the grow room is a working room it is not 100% in darkness but the system we use to add an extra tray over the germinating seeds is enough to gives the seeds enough darkness that they need. When we write black out it doesn’t mean it is required to be 100% black (dark).
Moving from germination to blackout stage will depend on the growth of your plants. Do not worry if some plants need a little longer than 3/4 days in these stages. One reason may be down to temperature as the plants will take longer to germinate if the temperature isn’t warm enough.
Watering - we water twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. During the germination and black out stages we water using a mister and water the seeds from the top. When the seeds move into the light (approx day 4/5) we then ONLY water from the bottom, meaning pour water into the bottom black tray, ensuring the water covers the entire tray. The holes in the wooden punnets allow the water to soak up into the coir and feed the roots of your plants. When watering if you are unsure of how much water to use, we recommend less and keep checking your plants. If the wooden punnets feel heavy then the coir is probably moist enough. If the surface of the coir looks dry then add more water. Generally the centre of the punnets hold the most water and the outer edges will be drier.
Grow Lights - All crops need sunlight and darkness to grow. So in our indoor vertical grow room the lights are kept on for a total of 15-18 hours each day. Then we switch them off. Some microgreen growers leave there lights on 24/7 but we don’t recommend doing this as in our experience it doesn’t increase the size of the plants and it doesn’t quicken the time needed before harvest, in fact we have seen the opposite. By giving the plants a break from the light it actually produces stronger, healthier plants. The cycles of nature light / dark are important to growing great microgreens.
If you want to more information about what grow lights we use please get in touch. If you decide to use a grow light then it is best positioned above your plants (approx a distance of 21-22cm above) so that your plant grows evening upwards towards the light.
Composting & Cleaning - Once you have harvested your microgreens then the waste can go in the compost, this included the wooden punnet, if you do not wish to reuse for another grow. Keep your microgreen trays clean, once used, wash with hot soapy water, dry well (ideally in the sunlight as this helps to kill any bacteria) and store well.
Storing Seeds - store your seed packets in a cool dry place. We use air tight containers with small rechargeable humidity sachets inside.
Mold / Root Hair what is the difference? - Root hair has a bright white color and radiates from the roots only. It helps the plant to absorb moisture and nutrients. Mold or mildew, in contrast, has a white grayish tint, appears not only in the root zone and spreads everywhere with long threads like a spider web. If you are still not sure whether you have mold or root hairs, the best test is with a spray bottle. Spray water over the area. If it is root hairs, they will seem to disappear completely when wet. Mold will not disappear, but will gather water droplets and lay against the soil and greens.