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Beginning Microgreens

I’ve been trying to grow sprouts and micro-greens on and off for years. I’ve never been successful until now! This method is fool-proof for me, and its fast!

If you’re reading, you already know many of the benefits of micro-greens. I’ve noticed a big difference in health after eating them for only a few weeks. I can tell when I haven’t had any for a few days.

I recover more quickly after working hard on the farm. I don’t have a late afternoon energy slump, either. I feel healthier and more energetic, too!

I’ll show you how I got started with the City-Hydro kit, and how I expanded my set up for less money.

Getting Started

I found this video (How to Grow Microgreens in Your Home & Make $100,000+ a Year) and it sent me down a wonderful path to being able to grow micro-greens.

I bought this kit from Larry at City-Hydro and it changed my micro-green growing life.

The kit contains one dough proofing tray with a lid, a light, pre-cut coconut coir growing pads, a shelf, spray bottle, measuring cup, starter seeds, pH testing paper, and instructions. I also watched a few of the videos on his channel to see exactly what he was doing. I think he wrote his own instructions ๐Ÿ™‚

The kit from City-Hydro comes with smaller pads. Four coconut coir pads fit in the bottom of the tray. I used them, and they worked really well. I have no complaint about them, and may buy more from them.

I bought these replacement pads from Amazon. They have a little more stiffness to them. I was hoping I could clean and re-use them. I haven’t found a way to clean and sanitize them well enough to re-use.

  1. Soak the coconut coir mat (cut to fit your container) for 2-4 hours in hot water until it’s completely soaked.

2. Rinse the pad in pure water. I have a reverse osmosis system. You can use any purified water that has no chlorine in it.

3.Check the pH of your water. Mine is around 6, which is just where you want it for growing seeds.

Your kit will come with a spacer to put under the coconut coir mat.

4. Place the mat on the spacer.

“Planting” the Seeds

Your kit comes with a measuring cup. It’s pretty accurate. You’ll need about 100 ml of seeds for a full dough tray.

5. Sprinkle your chosen seeds on the coconut coir mat. Spread them evenly, but don’t worry about being exact. It’s okay if they are a bit crowded in some areas, and sparse in others.

6. Use a mister or a spray bottle the seeds with purified water. Keep spraying the seeds until they don’t bounce around.

7. Spray the lid until it has droplets all over it.

8. Place the lid on top of the tray. The area that I have has lights. I found that if I cover the plastic cover with a dish towel to keep the light down, I get a better sprout. (Later in the post I’ll show you how I use black cricut vinyl to cut down on the light, and get rid of the dish towel.)

9. Label your sprouts. I peel the painters tape off when I harvest, and put the label right on the container that goes into the fridge.

10. Let the seeds sit for 12 hours. Spray the seeds and lid again. Do not water under the coconut coir yet! Seeds get sprayed. Sprouts get watered once they get put under the lights.

11. Spray every 12 hours or so.

So exciting! These are my seeds within 24 hours of starting! Keep spraying the seeds and the lid every 12 hours or so.

This is 48 hours after planting. The seeds have sprouted, but they aren’t quite ready to go under the lights yet.

The seeds I like to grow usually need 2-3 days of darkness before I put them under lights. Some seeds need to be in the dark for 5-7 days. You’ll have to check the seeds you are trying to grow.

This site has a list of mild flavored micro greens. Bootstrap Farmer has a micro green ‘cheat sheet’ with all sorts of great info. Scroll down the page and find the heading with ‘cheat sheet.’ They also have more in-depth information on their site than I’m going into here. They use a different grow medium, but it’s worth looking through their website.

Under Lights

Once you start seeing small yellow leaves on most of your sprouts, it’s time to put them under lights.

Sorry, I forgot to take photos of the next day before I put the sprouts under lights.

12. Once you put the sprouts under the light, water the tray instead of spraying the seeds. The water should come up about 1/2 way through the coconut coir mat. Leave the lid off at this point.

I have my lights on a timer so I don’t have to worry about turning the lights on and off. My timer goes on at 6:00 am and shuts off at 11 pm.

You may notice white ‘stuff’ growing in with your seeds. Look closely. If you’ve kept things clean, it’s probably root hairs and not mold.

Harvesting

Sometimes we just walk by the tray and grab a few sprouts to munch on.

You can eat the root, shoot, and seeds if you like.

I usually take a pair of clean scissors and trim the micro greens from the coconut coir pad. I store them in a zip top bag in the fridge, or an air tight container. Our family goes through about 2-3 trays of micro greens a week.

We put them on burgers, or in a salad. I usually eat 1 1/2 cups with some ranch dressing on it for lunch. I also put them on breakfast burritos.

Less Expensive Set Up

I started with one tray, and wanted to expand my set up since I have had such an easy time growing this way.

My set up is in a laundry room with no windows. It’s not pretty (I’m a ‘for real’ blogger, not a pretty blogger) but it works and I can grow quite a few micro greens with this set up.

You can also see the black vinyl that I have on the lids for a better ‘black out’ on the seeds as they sprout. I do get a better/faster sprout with the black on the lids.

Below will be a bunch of links to products I bought to expand my set up. I don’t make any money from any of the links. I don’t make any money from this post, either. I just want people who can eat micro-greens to get a jump start on growing their own at home.

I bought dough proofing trays on Amazon. At the time of this post you can buy two trays and lids for $49.99 (plus tax and shipping).

I bought more coconut coir mats (not pre-cut) at Amazon for $14.99 (plus tax and shipping)

I use some sink mats from Walmart as spacers. They don’t fit exactly, so I put hot water in the dough proofing tray, filled it with hot water, and put the sink mat in the dough proofing tray. I weighed it down with a plate and let it cool off. It fits just fine now, BUT it isn’t as long as the one I got from City Hydro. I haven’t had a problem, but if you do, you can use some acrylic or plastic rods used for supporting cakes. (If you come up with a fabulous idea, please leave it in the comments!)

This wire shelf is about the closest I’ve come to the one that I got in my kit. It’s $12.98 (plus tax if you buy it right at the store)

I got more lights from Lowe’s for $19.98 (plus tax). I hung them using the included hardware. The City Hydro replacement light is $50. He sent some shower curtain hooks (brilliant idea!) that hook onto the shelf.

I used black vinyl on the tops of the dough proofing tray lids to keep the trays a bit more in the dark. I found the vinyl at our local Dollar Tree. One roll did all three tray lids with a little to spare.

I’m sure you can use a measuring cup that has ml measurements. You’ll also need a spray bottle. I may upgrade my spray bottle to a 1 gallon garden sprayer. You can probably find them online or in your local hardware store. Now is a good time to see if they are on clearance.

I buy seeds from True Leaf. They have lots of varieties. Their seeds are reliable and grow well. Free shipping on orders over $75.

I tried this starter pack of seeds from Amazon. They worked grew well so I ordered directly from True Leaf after that.

More Experimenting

I’ve been trying some other experiments to see if I can grow seeds on a reusable substrate.

I’ll be posting more about this experiment later on once I grow a few more batches. It did a great job, and the clean up wasn’t extensive on the first try. I’m very happy with the first harvest.

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