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-   -   The Art of Growing Microgreens (http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=43389)

akgardengirl December 25, 2016 12:41 AM

The Art of Growing Microgreens
 
Don't know anything about it yet other than what has been posted here in a different thread. Looking forward to learning about this. I do sprout leafy greens to use in the winter.
Sue

imp December 25, 2016 04:36 AM

I think that is something that is a darned good idea in the cool to cold months! Plus, good for you, but best of all, tasty. I'll watch to see how it goes, LOL, and learn from you some!

oakley December 25, 2016 12:29 PM

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Took a beauty screen shot so it will be on the first page. Gorgeous.

oakley December 25, 2016 12:45 PM

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I've been growing in the full tray 20 row this year. Getting full salads, not just garnish.
Starting a tray every Sunday, two under lights, the third is in succession sprouting, then dance the trays to rotate for light. I just cut one tray in half this morning so i can clean easily in the sink. (outdoor hoses are off for the winter).
I'll start another spicy mix fast grower, 6-10 day small seed mix. And the other will get rows of the larger slow growers. Pea shoots will get their own square tray...

Cole_Robbie December 25, 2016 12:47 PM

What grow media are you using?

Labradors2 December 25, 2016 12:49 PM

This looks VERY interesting :)

Linda

oakley December 25, 2016 12:57 PM

Clean seed starting. Wetted, packed down, then seeded heavily, tiny amount of soil on top. The smaller seeds don't really need any top soil but i don't want the seeds to stick to my tamper. Seeds have their own food supply to sprout. Since these greens are cut before needing any extra food, they do fine without.
My first tray i used a WonderBlock that i had on hand and have never used before. Did not realize it had worm casings but they did great with it.
One tray that got way ahead of me and grew to baby salad size before we used it i fed a small diluted fert, bottom fed.
Grow mats are available and just ordered a ten pack to try. A bit cleaner and more of the plant is usable....we shall see.

oakley December 25, 2016 01:50 PM

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My first attempts the past couple years were in clam shells saved from grains. Way too cheap to purchase
any kits. Sunny window. Made a wicking system with old clean t-shirts material, (paint rags). Cute but not necessary. This is at our NorthEast home where winter/spring storms
and not much veggie choices without driving a 2 hour round trip...i even started the trays before the trip, stacked them, so at arrival they were already sprouting.

Any off season in any climate is a good harvest idea especially if all the start trays and lights are sitting unused during those times. At home in NY with snow on the ground and near some of the best markets in the country i still like cutting fresh greens rather than buying a bag that has some old soggy blend cut days before.

Clam shell growing is still a good idea for some of the slow growing seeds like celery and cilantro. Still testing those.

LDx4 December 25, 2016 02:46 PM

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Oakley, Thanks for the screen shot :D!

Every week I have the following regular trays growing for market:

peas
sunflower
mild mix
medium mix
spicy mix
arugula
broccoli
kale
basil
radish
spicy mustard
Asian mix
garden cress

I grow celery, cilantro, amaranth and some others on an irregular basis, depending on the weather (hot or cold) and the season.

I like to grow the fast growers, 10 days from seed start to selling at market. The slower growers like basil take 20 days. Since my space is limited to two rooms in my house, I don't have the shelf space to devote to the slower growers that much. Plus I need some of that shelf space to start my tomatoes in the spring ;).

I use high quality potting soil that I buy at a local nursery. Mostly peat, not too many large wood chunks (which I remove), and very little perlite. You can also use seed starting mix, but that can cost more. For trays, I use the regular 1020 black nursery trays for peas and sunflower and I use cafeteria trays that I bought on Amazon for the smaller greens. Makes for a better presentation at the market and easier to cut. I use scissors to cut the greens when customers buy them. I take the full trays to the markets each week.

Lyn

oakley December 25, 2016 04:06 PM

And i thank you Lyn. Your post last year in the MarketForum kicked in my thinking for home growing. Following your lead and experience.
At a dinner party, after dinner and a light dessert, i brought out my micros and it was a festive micro tasting. Not one could imagine the intensity of flavor in such a small plant.
All the slow growers were up and fat plantings at that point. An eye-opener for all.
Hence my new trays i started today...

Suppliers are easier found now. I did order this morning from MVseeds. Johnny's can seem expensive but if ordering other things their spicy mix has been so good and i find
in their sale listings always a micro mix to add to an order.
SeedsNow has 99cent trial packets but i would go to the next larger size still ok$.
Still pennies over time for a fresh cut salad. Or if one does not eat greens that often,
a small tray of broccoli sprouts is a compacted boost of greens.

KarenO December 25, 2016 04:14 PM

Wonderful! they look so perfectly delectible and chock full of vitamins
KarenO

Cole_Robbie December 25, 2016 04:47 PM

Thank you for answering my questions. Your pictures look great.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you charge per pound? And how many pounds on average does one 1020 tray produce?

LDx4 December 25, 2016 05:29 PM

I charge by the ounce - a 1020 tray of sunflowers or peas usually yields 28-32 ounces. So about 2 lbs give or take.

I sell by the clamshell:
small clamshell = 2 oz -- $5
large clamshell = 4 oz -- $8

If someone only wants one ounce or half a clamshell I charge $3.50.

So the price per ounce goes down as the volume goes up. I do full trays by special order only. Order and pay at one market, pick up the next week at the market. I charge $20 for a full small tray and $24 for a 1020 tray.

My prices are comparable to grocery store prices (if the store chain even carries microgreens. Not all do around here). Plus mine are much fresher! Kept in the vegetable bin of a fridge, they will last a week to 10 days, maybe longer for peas/sunflowers. Most grocery stores carry clams of traditional sprouts grown in water. I based my prices on what the going rate was for those also.

Microgreens have so much more flavor than sprouts! Kids especially like the pea tendrils. They have a hint of sweetness to them. I offer free samples of all my greens to customers. I just cut a small handful to let them taste them. I have a steady return customer base at my markets. I find the hardest part is convincing new customers to try them out. Once they try them, they're usually hooked. I've only had one person tell me that they don't like them!

Lyn

LDx4 December 25, 2016 05:46 PM

[QUOTE=oakley;606753]And i thank you Lyn. Your post last year in the MarketForum kicked in my thinking for home growing. Following your lead and experience.
At a dinner party, after dinner and a light dessert, i brought out my micros and it was a festive micro tasting. Not one could imagine the intensity of flavor in such a small plant.
All the slow growers were up and fat plantings at that point. An eye-opener for all.
Hence my new trays i started today...

Suppliers are easier found now. I did order this morning from MVseeds. Johnny's can seem expensive but if ordering other things their spicy mix has been so good and i find
in their sale listings always a micro mix to add to an order.
SeedsNow has 99cent trial packets but i would go to the next larger size still ok$.
Still pennies over time for a fresh cut salad. Or if one does not eat greens that often,
a small tray of broccoli sprouts is a compacted boost of greens.[/QUOTE]

I agree - the taste of microgreens is amazing - one taste is usually all it takes to convince someone that they're good.

I always place my big orders for peas and sunflowers from Johnnys. I buy 100 lbs at a time and the price for peas works out to about $1.45/lb. Plus free shipping if the order is over $200. MVseeds is good for smaller orders, plus they offer free shipping if the order is over $35. Which mine always are.

Something I tell new customers about broccoli greens is that 1lb of broccoli head = the nutritional value of 1 ounce of broccoli microgreens. I found that tidbit on the internet somewhere.

There was a study done in 2012 at the University of Maryland (I think) that showed that microgreens have 4 - 40 times the nutrition of the full grown plant. Good selling point for the health conscious.

Lyn

oakley December 25, 2016 07:47 PM

Lyn is the market grower and knows prices per pound. But it would always be regional me thinks. I've not seen a GreenMarket seller in NYC growing tray micros. Or micro toms, sunflowers. Would seem ahead of the other sellers do do so. Prices have to be set by what sells and competition. Prices are based on what a buyer is willing to pay.
Being consistent and available. With a buyers eye i would always buy fresh cut but not a pre-cut bag.
My first 2010 tray that went to baby salad greens beyond micro and now my NewYears tray is the same...not even a lb. Or might be one lb. Salad greens are light. It's the food value per plant/stem that has $ value. Not every shopper knows that. Education is part of the selling plan.

Every dollar spent should make a retail 10. My method doing charity events the past few years. (not my time and labor...that is free charity) I just want my dollar to give 9 back.

If i was retired for market extra income i would want the same or more. Every 50cents spent i can make 10 bucks. Labor is retired free time.
Why i'm testing micro sunflowers now. 5 plants in a cute felt grow bag costs 75cents, sells for 10-12. The kids could start this project in Feb. and sell early April.


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