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Microgreens Gardening

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Post  trolleydriver on 10/4/2015, 2:49 pm

After Kelajan mentioned microgreens on another thread, I decided to take a closer look at what is involved.  I checked out the AeroGarden™ product but found it to be too expensive.  I then found one on sale on Kijiji but the deal fell through.  After that I checked out videos on YouTube and found some simple low cost methods such as:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whtB1TCbU5A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SrTYD_D1y8 

Then came the search for “bulk” seeds.  Individual seed packets are too costly.  I found a source for the seeds in Canada but the shipping costs were out of this world and were going to be higher than the cost of the seeds.  Today I discovered Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds and got free shipping on my order which was just over $25 Cdn.  I’ve ordered aragula, daikon raddish, and sunflower seeds.

I’m thinking of going to the dollar store to see what kind of cheap containers I can get for the microgreens to grow in. I’m going to use some of my left over Mel’s Mix for the soil. I’m hoping there will be enough sunlight coming in one of our south facing windows to allow the plants to grow.

You probably noticed many references to “cost” in the above discussion.  I’m originally from England but I think there must be some Scottish blood in me.

“Have you heard the rumour that the Grand Canyon was started by a Scotsman who lost a coin in a ditch?”
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/4/2015, 4:29 pm

Now why didn't I see this before ordering seeds online?  I could have tried some seeds from a local store like Bulk Barn. I may still do that anyway.

http://www.rootsimple.com/2010/02/bulk-bin-microgreens/
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/4/2015, 5:00 pm

Very cool, thanks TD! Never knew there was such a thing. Yes, need bulk seeds the way they sew them so intensively....but would be yummy and nutritious! Sunflower, broccoli, beets, I can't think what else the first guy said. Might keep me busy over the cold dark months that I knwo are ahead! Wish I had a south facing window. I do have an East french door, that is where I have my house plants, and Rosemary that overwinters if I water her enough!
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Post  sanderson on 10/4/2015, 7:09 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:You probably noticed many references to “cost” in the above discussion.  I’m originally from England but I think there must be some Scottish blood in me.

“Have you heard the rumour that the Grand Canyon was started by a Scotsman who lost a coin in a ditch?”
rofl  I think many of us like the word "free"! And Dollar stores sometimes carry the neatest things that gardeners can re-purpose.

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Post  Marc Iverson on 10/5/2015, 2:16 am

The dollar store is awesome for cheap containers. Love getting them there in all shapes and sizes. They're generally as good as the similar-quality ones you see going for many times the cost in regular stores.

Amazon sells seeds in bulk. You have to look about a bit, but some sellers have really great deals. You'll be able to keep yourself in seeds economically that way.

Also, you can't beat growing and saving some seeds yourself. With crops like kale and radishes, you get a huge amount of seeds.
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/5/2015, 9:09 am

Good ideas Marc. I looked on Amazon Canada but Mumm's in Canada gave a better price and variety. Keeping seeds from the SFG is something I will have to try but it's too late for this year as my SFG begins to shutdown. I did collect coriander seeds from the SFG, so I could try growing some cilantro microgreens from them.

BTW Marc, did you see the Virtual Flyover I did for south-west Oregon?

http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t19978-virtual-flyovers-south-west-oregon
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/6/2015, 1:31 pm

Here I go with the microgreens "garden". To get things going while waiting for the seeds to arrive, I went to the dollar store and bought some containers ... two plastic containers and two aluminum cake pans with plastic lids. There's not much for a $1 in our dollar stores anymore so I had to pay a whopping $1.25 Cdn for each of these containers. For each type of container one will be a water catching basin and the other, which will hold the MM, will have holes drilled in it for drainage and will rest on top of the "basin". The aluminum pans have clear plastic covers which can be used as a greenhouse when the seedlings start to grow.

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9190_zpsrk7jpsgt
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Post  Marc Iverson on 10/6/2015, 2:57 pm

I don't know how that will work for you as far as comfort and convenience. Great if it's all easy for you. I kinda mistrust the durability of aluminum pans, as if they bend they will create a weak point that may eventually break through and leak water.

What I did for my sprout garden was poke holes in one container and set it down in a duplicate of the same container where there was enough space between bottoms for water to be caught, or when there wasn't, I set the exact same size container made by two different manufacturers one inside the other. Different makers of the same size can mean a bigger space for water to drip down. For me, the best and most durable set-up was Glad brand plastic containers as the bottom "tray" and dollar-store as the growing tray. The Glad's are thicker and stronger and have bigger lips for gripping and moving about, so they are great on the outside. On the inside, I had good clearance between cheapo dollar-store growing tray and Glad holding tray.

It might be worth trying that combo if you're worried about the tin trays ever leaking, as I would be.

Also, the dollar store trays can sometimes crack. I just had that happen outta nowhere on one I was using to hold my kitchen compost. *ugh* Not a problem with a sturdier tray such as I'd recommend for your bottom tray.
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/6/2015, 3:04 pm

Good points Marc but keep in mind that this is an initial experiment and not necessarily a long term solution.

You said, "What I did for my sprout garden was poke holes in one container and set it down in a duplicate of the same container where there was enough space between bottoms for water to be caught"

Actually that is EXACTLY what I said I was going to do. I wrote, "For each type of container one will be a water catching basin and the other, which will hold the MM, will have holes drilled in it for drainage and will rest on top of the "basin". With each type of container (e.g., aluminum) the top one will have holes and that tray will rest on top of the one that does not have holes.
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/6/2015, 6:50 pm

Marc was ABSOLUTELY CORRECT about the dollar store trays cracking.  I tried to put some holes in the bottom of one of the plastic trays and it cracked. So now I have a hybrid system with an aluminum tray on the bottom and a plastic tray on the top.  I was able to put holes around the perimeter of the bottom of this plastic tray without cracking it.

Here is the current setup c/w Mel's Mix.  Note the grid. This is SFG in quarter scale. After soaking the MM with water I planted left over radish seeds in this mini SFG.

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9212_zpswqvcuabd
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Post  sanderson on 10/7/2015, 5:35 am

Cute setup with the grid!

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Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/7/2015, 7:16 am

Did you sow them really thickly like the video?
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/7/2015, 10:39 am

The seeds are sown thickly but maybe not as thick as in the video. I checked them this morning and they are already developing shoots! I'm keeping them in the dark and misting them a couple of times per day.
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/7/2015, 4:39 pm

A close up (not all that clear) of the radish seeds sprouting after less than one day.

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9217_zpskagdqes1
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/7/2015, 6:34 pm

Radishes=dependable germinators. I like the taste of radish sprouts when I thin them! I would like to try the sunflowers, like in the video.
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/7/2015, 9:50 pm

SR ... I've got sunflower seeds on order.

The radishes after the first 24 hours look like this.

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9218_zps96kfdm5l

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9222_zpsblcvbqo4
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Post  Marc Iverson on 10/8/2015, 4:21 am

For crops like radishes, you don't even need soil. They're fine on water alone. Sunflowers are one of the rare seeds that people plant in soil when growing sprouts.

I'm not sure of the technical difference between sprouts and microgreens, though. But many sprouts get pretty big before being harvested, so I'm not sure there really is a hard and fast dividing line.
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/8/2015, 8:45 am

Marc ... the difference is that microgreens are harvested after they get their first set of true leaves. Cheers.
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/8/2015, 9:06 am

When I checked the radishes this morning my first reaction was "Oh no! There's mold on them".  But then I wondered if it was the radishes themselves that had this fuzzy growth rather than mold.  Sure enough it is root hairs as evidenced by the following articles.

http://morningsongfarm.com/radish-sprouts-have-hairy-roots-not-mold/

http://frances-bea.livejournal.com/6469.html

Here is what mine look like now.

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9224_zpsvqdnaqjo

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9225_zpsqyyoytxd
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Post  Marc Iverson on 10/8/2015, 1:14 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:Marc ... the difference is that microgreens are harvested after they get their first set of true leaves. Cheers.

Ah, I see, thanks.
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Post  Marc Iverson on 10/8/2015, 1:16 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:When I checked the radishes this morning my first reaction was "Oh no! There's mold on them".  But then I wondered if it was the radishes themselves that had this fuzzy growth rather than mold.  Sure enough it is root hairs

Heh, yeah. Kind of alarming but par for the course.
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Post  CapeCoddess on 10/8/2015, 1:18 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:

Here is what mine look like now.

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9224_zpsvqdnaqjo

Ooohhh... how cute are they!?!
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Post  trolleydriver on 10/9/2015, 8:22 am

After their third night and still growing while covered 24 hours per day to keep in moisture and keep out light.  I may move them into the light this afternoon.  I should have put something directly on top of them to press them down and stress them so that they send down stronger roots.

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9238_zpsqev7xyzb

Microgreens Gardening DSCN9239_zpsirxucjgr
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/9/2015, 8:24 am

They are adorable! Taking their first steps....
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 10/9/2015, 9:10 am

Okay, haven't looked at the videos yet.  But I've got a bunch of sunflower seeds I want to sprout.  (LOVE them.  Tastes great!)

If I have to do them in MM, do I just cut them off when ready to harvest?  What do I do with the root system, MM, etc.?
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