How to create perfect growing conditions for microgreens
Our microgreens greenhouse is only 30 m² yet we have designed intensive + efficient systems to produce 2000 kg of radish micrograms from this space per year.
Tray filling is the most detailed hand work here. Seeding + stacking filled trays creates a fast, even germination. This process of forced germination eliminates late germinating seeds and mould issues.
We sow our microgreen seeds with the Paperpot drop seeder. This original Paperpot tray is far superior to any alternate versions of it + for this reason is our preference. We use the 8 mm plate + drop the seeds twice to give 36 g per tray. This cost is $NZ1.34 in seed.
Microgreens, take 6 days to grow in summer and 12 days in winter. For the first third of their life they are stacked after seeding pressing and watering. After germination happens, they then spend the next third of their growth on the bottom shelf in our microgreens house to elongate as they search for light. The final third of growth they are moved up to top shelf to receive maximum photo synthesis and produce large leaves called cotyledon. We harvest the leaves using the quick cut greens harvester.
The final process is to wash the microgreens in the Bubbler to remove seed hulls. Next is a spin to dry and a final moisture adjustment under the drying screen. These elements all increases shelflife.
We sell micorgreens to top local restaurants as a garnish and to retail stores as microgreen salad. We combine with lettuce, baby mizuna and pea shoots to create our award-winning Leaves & Shoots salad mix.
Steps to fill your trays
Adjust the soil moisture so that it will firm in your hand in a crumb openly easily, too dry and it’s hard to fit in the soil into the tray vs too wet and it sticks to everything and you can easily over compact the tray.
Overfill the tray, so you have a mound of soil to press down make sure the edges are evenly firmed.
Also then use a wooden stick ruler, ours is 75 cm x 25 cm and 450 mm, long to scrape off most of the excess soil, leaving 5 mm higher than the tray rim.
Use the stick ruler to press the surface, and then cut along the rail of the tray.
Check the tray is firm and even before stacking on top of another full tray.
Our seed raising mix is home-made from garden soil and home-made compost 50% each.
For more information, see our podcasts on FARM SMALL FARM SMART – The Profitable Mini Farm
Further microgreens podcasts are coming out later in 2023.