Growing Microgreens Hydroponic Method
Welcome to the world of growing your own microgreens! You can grow outdoors in warm seasons, or indoors all year long… even if you have limited space. It is literally countertop gardening. Microgreens are inexpensive, fun to grow and cover a wide variety of exciting, nutrition-dense tastes. We hope you enjoy growing and eating these exciting living foods!
These are the materials needed to get started (check out our premade microgreens growing kits if you need most of these items).
- Growing trays with drain holes
- Growing trays without drain holes
- Hydroponic Medium
- Spray bottle
- The following instructions
Specific details and additional instructions per seed type are found on each individual product page. Simply use the search bar above to find the product page of your specific seed. For microgreening larger seeds such as peas and microgreens, we highly recommend that you use soil as your growth medium as they are very difficult to maintain hydroponically. See our Soil Method Microgreens Page.
What follows are general instructions for growing your microgreens or baby salad greens in or on a hydroponic grow medium. Based on times to germination and harvest, you may need to sow your seeds at different times if you want to harvest all your greens at the same time. The microgreens growing kits include enough seed for several plantings. While microgreens are generally easy to grow, you may need to experiment a bit to get it just right.
Step 1:Prepare trays – Place your desired grow medium (bamboo, jute, biostrate, micro-mat, micro mat confetti) into your tray with holes. Nest tray with holes into the the tray without holes. Thoroughly dampen the medium by misting or spraying water over the it until it is moist. Or place water in the bottom tray without holes and allow the medium to soak it up when nesting trays.
Step 2:Spread seeds – Spread your seed evenly across the grow medium. A basic rule is to allow the seeds enough breathing room, which is about the double the size of the seed itself. If seeds are too close together, they can often tangle, preventing successful growth.
Step 3:Water and cover - Use your spray bottle to thoroughly mist the seeds directly on the grow medium. Now take one of the trays with no holes and use your spray mister to spray the inside of it 4 or 5 times with an even distribution of mist. Use that misted tray as a black-out and humidity dome on your recently seeded tray. Set your tray in a place where it will not get too hot or too cold; 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
Step 4:Mist every 8 to 12 hours – Uncover the seed tray every 6 hours or so and check the moisture level. Mist them again with your spray bottle if the medium is even slightly drying out. 15 to 20 evenly distributed sprays should do. Do not add additional water other than the misting. Re-cover your tray. Hydroponic mediums can dry out quickly if left unchecked.
Step 5:Uncover after about 3-5 days. Watch for when the baby leaves (cotyledons) of your crop first emerge, and then wait one more day. It is important to keep your crop in the dark for about the first 3-5 days to force your crop to grow in the struggle for light. Place about 1/2 inch of water in the tray with no holes. The benefit of bottom watering is that the roots of the microgreens will reach for the water and allow the shoots to grow tall and strong without the interference of water being sprayed from above.
Step 6:Expose to light - Make sure your crop gets plenty of light. We highly recommend LED grow lights . Direct sunlight, fluorescent, or incandescent lights are also good. If your crop angles for light, be sure to rotate the tray occasionally. Check daily and water when necessary – Your crop should have the right balance of water from now until harvest. Each type of microgreen will require differing amounts of water. Check the moisture. It should be moist, but not soggy. Note the weight of the tray as well. If it is sufficiently watered, it will feel heavier. If it feels too light that is a sign that it needs to be watered.
Step 7:Time to harvest – Most microgreens will be ready to harvest in about 10 days. Some crops can be harvested as early as 7 days. Most crops will not last pass 14 or 15 days before they must be harvested. Move your trays to a cool, shady place. If your greens are harvested when it is too hot, they will wilt very quickly after harvesting. If harvested when cool (late evening, early morning), they will tend to stay fresh and crisp. Use scissors to trim the microgreens just above the medium line. Think of it as giving your greens a haircut.
Storage Tip: Rinse and dry – Use a colander to rinse your microgreens thoroughly under cold water. Dry the greens completely by spreading over a towel or paper towels and air dry. Speed dry by using a fan on a slow setting. Cut greens are best if served right after drying but can be stored loosely in a bowl in the refrigerator for several days. Do not try to refrigerate greens that are not completely dry.