So an update on my original post where we were trying our hand at microgreens indoors. For all intents and purposes, the experiment has worked out great. There were a few hiccups, but thus far, we’ve had source from which to supplement our fresh greens for about a month now.
This picture, taken on December 2 (about 14 days after planting) shows how things started out.
These early pictures were shot before the application of any fertilizer. It’s hard to see from the picture, but the greens (with the exception of the Mibuna) came up pretty spindly (with the lower stem structure actually prutruding from the soil). Also while everyone recommended using covers, I caution use vented covers or leave the covers off for a few hours a day (at least in this climate where our humidity is most always in excess of 50%). Letting too much moisture form created some minor surface fungus problems which were corrected by allowing the soil to dry some. The greens were ready to eat at this stage, but there wasn’t much substance to them, so they were more of a flavoring agent than anything substantial. The microgreens need to be watered each night, although that had to be adjusted depending on the humidity level.
At about 3 weeks, I started applying Bio Vega twice weekly (also purchased on clearance for less than $10 at morninghomestead.com). The price tag for Bio Vega is high, but you only use about 8mL per gallon of water, so you get about 125 gallons of ready to use fertilizer per liter of concentrate solution. I also started out using a mister for watering, but after about 4 weeks, I found it necessary to switch to a small watering can in order to prevent leaf rot.
At this point (about 6 weeks in), we’ve moved beyond microgreens and into the baby greens phase (with the exception of the Arugula which is full grown). We’ve been harvesting about once a week and four flats has produced quite a bit of leafy material. We usually harvest about a gallon bowl of greens each time. They are best quickly sauteed and added into soups or used as a condiment on tacos.
Some of my lessons learned include:
- Be very careful of watering levels, this is more art than science, so you have to spend some time adjusting to the growth medium.
- Harvest carefully, if you cut below the main stem, you get tough, unchewable bits. If you harvest about 1cm above the main stem, most of the greens will regenerate.
- As you can see in the picture, some of the leaves yellow… It’s not a huge deal and I feel this is normal as the lower leaves die off as the plant grows.
- My best experience has been with the Bak Choi, it grows quickly and has the most substance (but it is the least flavorful). The Fenugreek also grows well, but it has a bitter, sprout like flavor so it can only be used sparingly.
- If you are going for baby greens, then use more conservative spacing between the plants, they are difficult to harvest if packed in too tightly.