We seeded some microgreens today. Microgreens are the baby shoots of plants which are harvested about two weeks after sowing and used as garnishes on dishes for decoration and flavor.
Here at Ridgedale we have sunflower, pea and radish microgreens which are sold to private customers and chefs every week. They are seeded into the same flats which we use for the paper pot transplanter with a layer of compost compacted into the flat.
24 hours before seeding we soaked the seeds in water. We soaked 430g of peas, 70g of radish and 220g of sunflower seed for each tray we made. The trays are about 30 cm x 60 cm x 3,2 cm in size and have small holes in the bottom for drainage.
After soaking we used a bucket with holes in it to drain the water from the seeds, filled the bucket with water again and cleaned the seeds really thoroughly to get them clean. It is important to be through on this step because it is critical for germination and against mold.
After rinsing we weighed our seed and split it into equal amounts according to how many trays we where going to seed. In our case this was 4 trays per variety.
We filled all of the trays with fine compost and spread it evenly making sure all lumps and sticks, etc. where thrown out in order to get an even surface. Then we pressed the compost flat with a wooden plate that fit into the trays exactly. An improvement for this could be a plate made of metal or hard plastic with two handles to press down because wood deteriorates with the moisture.
Once all trays had an even amount of compost with flat surfaces we spread the microgreen seed very evenly over the flats. We tried to not have any seeds laying on top of each other resulting in an even covering of seeds on layer thick throughout the tray. It is important not to press down on the seed but just to lightly brush over it in order to re position it on the tray. If we press on the seed it gets buried in the soil surface and will be more than one layer thick which will lead to uneven germination and possibly mold issues.
Once the seeds where planted we gave them a good watering and stacked them on top of each other with flats in between. On top we put two heavy cement blocks to weigh the seed down during germination.
After three to four days the seeds should begin to lift up the tray above them and they will be ready to put under light.
It is essential to do a good job of monitoring the growing microgreens. They should be well watered but not ever have too much moisture (no standing water), humidity and temperature should stay the same throughout growing micros as far as possible. They are prone to having mold near the soil surface because of the seeding density. To counteract this it is important to seed into a compost that drains well and to have very good air circulation.
After about 10-15 days our microgreens can be harvested.