The Ultimate Microgreen Cheat Sheet - Bootstrap Farmer

The Ultimate Microgreen Cheat Sheet

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The Ultimate Microgreen Cheat Sheet


Key Factors for Various Microgreens

We are frequently asked if there are any comprehensive resources for growing microgreens.  We always found information to be quite scattered and lacking key pieces of information.  This guide was put together as a means to help all microgreen growers find the necessary information for growing over different 30 varieties.

 

Some General Guidelines:

  • Microgreens in general prefer a soil pH of near 6.0 at germination in their water, soil or hydroponic solution. Most municipal water systems are too high (too acidic) in pH for optimum swelling and shoot strength.  See “pH balancing your water” guideline for more.
  • Soil and soil-less media like lava rock or other aggregates are generally interchangeable. Seeds requiring soil generally prefer a denser media to help shed the seed coat.  
  • Larger seeds like sunflower should be harvested sooner (7-10 days) to avoid the stems getting woody.
  • The estimated days for each of the steps below are relative and might vary according to your situation. Use them as a guide.

 

Soil Based Systems:

Best with larger seeds - Chard-Buckwheat-Pea-Beet-Cilantro-Sunflower      

Soil Sterilization is not necessary if you are using drained trays and your soil is clean, but if you plan to, you should bake soil for 45 min @ 180F. Soil should be 180-200 (but not over)

 

Soaking Seeds - eg: 9oz/16 oz cup water (sunflower)

  • Use cold water (always pH balanced)
  • Soak for 12-24 hrs typically
  • Refrigerate in warm weather
  • Put in colander drain, soak, rinse, mist seed thoroughly and keep damp for 24-36 hrs until they sprout in the colander. Treat 2-3 times daily.

 

Tray Preparation (for 10”X20” trays (‘1020’ trays))

  • 4 cups water in tray
  • 1 ½ " - 2" soil on top of water, tamp lightly (spatula or lid)
  • Mist the surface to dampen
  • Cover soil surface with seed (use guides below for amount of seeds)
  • Press gently so base of seed has firm contact
  • Thoroughly mist seed so it glistens
  • Sprinkle with 1/8-1/4" soil over the top and mist over the top
  • Mist blackout dome and cover (4-5 days)
  • Mist every 12 hrs
  • Recommend - Extra Strength Trays

 

pH - BALANCING WATER

  • Test water with litmus strips or solution that will allow a range of 4.0-8.0
  • At pH 7.0, 2 tsp/gal of lemon juice should take it down to ideal of slightly less than 6.0. Test various readings and ratios using that as your guide.
  • Be sure to shake well each use
  • All water sources should be adjusted throughout the process.

 

Guides for Growing Microgreens

Below is a list of various different microgreens with information on growing each.  It is comprised of 3 sections: Easiest To Grow, Intermediate and Most Difficult.

 

Easiest To Grow

Arugula
Arugula Microgreens
Prefers indirect light after sprouting.  On the intermediate end of the 'easy' scale.
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 4-6 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

 

Broccoli

Broccoli Microgreens

Flip blackout dome on Day 4-5 and set on top of emerging plants to strengthen roots
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 4-5 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Brussels Sprouts
Very fast growers.  Flip blackout dome on Day 4-5 and set on top of emerging plants to strengthen roots
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-10 Days

Buckwheat
Use cold water soak.  Keep soil continuously damp but not soggy.  Rinse thoroughly to remove shells before drying and serving
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 12 oz
Pre-Soak: Yes
Blackout Time: 3-4 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 6-12 Days

 

Cabbage (Bok Choy/Pak Choi)
Pak Choi Microgreen

Flip blackout dome on Day 4-5 and set on top of emerging plants to strengthen roots.  Keep in lower light after black out 

Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-4 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

 

Cabbage (Golden Acre, Red Acre, Red Rock Mammoth, Kogane)
Red Acre Microgreens

Flip blackout dome on Day 4-5 and set on top of emerging plants to strengthen roots

Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-4 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Cauliflower
Can be sown more thickly than others.
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 4-6 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Chia
Mucilaginous - mist through to root establishment
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-5 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Endive

Harvest close to the root-line for best flavor mix
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-15 Days

Kale
Flip black out lid onto growing crop at day 4 and 5 to strengthen roots at the end of the blackout period
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-5 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Kohlrabi
Flip black out lid onto growing crop at day 4 and 5 to strengthen roots at the end of the blackout period
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-6 Days
Germination Time: 2-5 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Lettuce (several varieties)
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-5 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 10-12 Days

Mustard:  Red Streaks Mizuna
Grows better in cooler conditions
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 2-4 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days


Mustard: Mibuna 
Easy, tall, fast grower. Prefers cooler conditions

Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 2-4 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-10 Days

Mustard: Mizuna, Osaka, Feathered Red, Yellow
These are all fast, easy growers.  See each of the other mustards for variety specific considerations.
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 2-4 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Mustard: Southern Giant
Fast grower, lower cost for seed
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 2-4 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-10 Days

Mustard: Tokyo Bekana
Expensive seed, may be ready in 6 days, but still should let it mature to 10 so leaves can grow.
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 2-4 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Red Clover
Experiment with flipping blackout lid onto plants at day 3 or 4 for a couple days to strengthen the crop.
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-5 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Sunflower
Sunflower Microgreens

As with peas, after initial soak of 8-12 hrs, put in colander and mist/rinse 2-4 times a day till almost all of the shoots have sprouted (usually 1-2 more days)
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 9 oz
Pre-Soak: Yes
Blackout Time: 2-3 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass
Prone to mold, use perforated trays and keep the soil on the dry side of moist. Moderate to slightly cool temps, under 75 degrees F.  Do not soak the seed for more than 8 hrs.
Preferred Media: Soil or Hydro
Seeding Rate: 16 oz
Pre-Soak: Yes
Blackout Time: 2 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-10 Days

 

 

 

Intermediate Difficulty

Celery Leaf
Slow to germinate and emerge, slow to reach harvest stage
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 0.75 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 6-8 Days
Germination Time: 10-14 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 4-5 Days

Corn Shoots

Must harvest at 6 days before leaf formation. Keep in the dark for full 6 days to harvest to prevent leaf formation.
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 8 oz
Pre-Soak: Yes
Blackout Time: 6 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 6 Days

Fennel (Microherb)

Grow long enough to shed stubborn seed husks
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-5 Days
Germination Time: 3-4 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 12+ Days

Leek
Plant thick. Strong flavor, a little goes a long way
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 4-6 Days
Germination Time: 3-4 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 12 Days

Peas
Pea Microgreens
Use plenty of water when soaking seed as they are very absorbent. After soaking for 12-24 hrs, transfer to colander and mist 2-4 times/day until seedlings peek out.  Mist twice a day for 3-4 days during blackout
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 12 oz
Pre-Soak: Yes
Blackout Time: 3-5 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Sorrel (Large Leaf) (Microherb)
Tough to grow hydroponically, but does well in soil.
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 3-5 Days
Germination Time: 1-2 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 10-12 Days

Spinach - Japanese (Tat Soi)

Experiment with flipping blackout lid onto plants at day 4 to strengthen the crop.
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 2 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 4-6 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

 

 

 

Toughest To Grow

Amaranth
Prefers warmer conditions, sensitive to direct light
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 5-6 Days
Germination Time: 2-3 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Basil

Mucilaginous - mist through to root establishment
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 5-7 Days
Germination Time: 3-4 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Beets

Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 1.2 oz
Pre-Soak: Yes
Blackout Time: 6-8 Days
Germination Time: 3-4 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 10-12 Days

Chard

Use cold water soak.
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 2 oz
Pre-Soak: Yes
Blackout Time: 4-7 Days
Germination Time: 2-5 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days

Chives
Challenging, slow grower
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 2 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 4-7 Days
Germination Time: 7-14 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 21+ Days

Cilantro (Coriander)
Erratic germination, slow grower, keep soil moist throughout black out period. Prefers cooler temperatures
Preferred Media: Soil
Seeding Rate: 2 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 6-7 Days
Germination Time: 7-14 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 21-28 Days

Cress
Mucilaginous - prefers considerably less water at germination and sprouting, unlike other micros. Use 1/4 normal amount of water in the initial soak of the pad…a little in the tray and mist the top of the pad only enough to keep the seed from bouncing around...in blackout, mist more frequently but with less mist.  Best to experiment first.
Preferred Media: Hydroponic
Seeding Rate: 1 oz
Pre-Soak: No
Blackout Time: 4-5 Days
Germination Time: 3-4 Days
Estimated Time To Harvest: 8-12 Days


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