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Old December 25, 2016   #16
oakley
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We were posting at the same time but i have also noticed the nutrition value as similar to the full grown plant...if even similar that is great for us. DH does not care for broccoli but ate a giant salad tonight...all micros.
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Old December 26, 2016   #17
Wi-sunflower
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I've been growing a few things for market for several years now. While I call them "sprouts" they are really micros. But that's really just terminology. At my market we can NOT grow real "sprouts" as in jars with water. Restricted due to the stupid commercial growers that recycled their water and created problems like salmonella.

Anyway, I had no luck taking full trays and cutting as sold. Too slow and things wilted too fast. So I plant in the 1801s and sell them as "living" and that works fine. I only do Peas, radish and wheatgrass/cat grass. I didn't have luck with other things. Either took too long to be salable or didn't grow well or didn't sell.

I do them @ $1.50 / pot so it comes out to $27 for a full flat. But I give restaurants who buy a full flat a break @ $20 most of the time.

The pic is peas closest (2 flats), radishes (out of focus), then cat grass last.

Carol
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Old December 26, 2016   #18
Cole_Robbie
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When Farm-tek started advertising their hydro systems to grow sprouts, I did a lot of reading about it, which was enough to scare me away from the idea for good. I read about a farm family in England who had killed off half of their cows by feeding them sprouts. They were having problems with contamination. Eventually they found the source of the contaminants to be inside the husks of the grain they were soaking. The guy made up a kind of washing machine to agitate the grain as it soaked, and then used a lot of chlorine powder for pools to continually sterilize his equipment. He eventually got his problems worked out, but it all sounded like a nightmare. Microgreens seem much safer than sprouts.
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Old December 26, 2016   #19
NewWestGardener
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Thank you Oakley and Lyn for sharing your knowledge and experience here. I started mine trial following your lead. I'm having great success with peas, but my sunflower all have moulds and had to be tossed out.
Question now: do you cover sunflower seeds? My trays did not have drainage holes (while my peas had). Is drainage the main problem here? I suspect it is, but some videos I watched do not have drainage holes in their containers. I did not use a fan. The trays are new, so no hygene issues to start with. Lighting is good.
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Old December 26, 2016   #20
oakley
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Just like any seed starting, drainage is key. Not sure if you were watching 'sprouts' or wakening of seeds in water for sprouting. The problems with the sprouting method
using water rinses on the counter is the possible contamination, a 'microbial soup', where seeds are in a moist environment for a few days at a temp that multiplies any contaminants. 'Microbial load'. Your wet environment cannot keep up with the extra moisture. Increased air flow, (fan), helps.

My environment has quickly become more humid with temps outside 45 a few days and snow melting, overcast...then my watering tray had standing water i missed, many trays watered at the same time increases air moisture...attention is key to keep those levels balanced. More plants growing, more moisture in the air. Letting seedlings dry out helps others.

I soak mixed grains for 24 hours to see the seeds just barely begin to sprout for a brown bread i make and i make a sprouted grain salad almost every Sunday. This is a cooked mixed grain. In fact made one last night. Once the seeds/grain/beans just barely begin to become a plant, tiny opening of the seed, i cook like any rice. It is considered easier to digest. Having it with shrimp tonight.

Anywho, seeds have what they need in their seed 'suitcase' to sprout once moisture is introduce. They do fine on their own food for micro greens. Mine, i've mentioned, are growing into baby salad greens and very healthy. Just not eating/using fast enough.

The trays i grew in the South window was in another home with a wood fired cookstove also used for heat. Very dry environment. A failure tray once may not be the same another time. Just no standing water.
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Old December 26, 2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWestGardener View Post
Thank you Oakley and Lyn for sharing your knowledge and experience here. I started mine trial following your lead. I'm having great success with peas, but my sunflower all have moulds and had to be tossed out.
Question now: do you cover sunflower seeds? My trays did not have drainage holes (while my peas had). Is drainage the main problem here? I suspect it is, but some videos I watched do not have drainage holes in their containers. I did not use a fan. The trays are new, so no hygene issues to start with. Lighting is good.
NewWestGardener,
I always recommend that new growers start with peas - they are almost foolproof and the yield is great. Sunflowers, on the other hand, not so much. They are so quick to mold! Here is my method (even doing it this way, depending on the weather, I still get mold sometimes).

I use a 1020 tray with holes nested inside a 1020 tray without holes. I add 4 cups of pH balanced water to the empty tray and then add enough potting soil to fill the tray about 2/3rds full. I spray the top of soil in the tray with a mister bottle for extra moisture.

Meanwhile, I soak 7oz of black oil sunflowers in a pitcher with pH balanced water and 4 drops of grapefruit seed extract (organic anti-fungal agent that I buy on Amazon; not expensive). Soak for 10 minutes and then rinse. Re-fill the pitcher with more water and soak for 5-6 hours.

Drain and rinse again. Spread the seeds on the surface of the tray evenly. Using a spatula or something flat, press the seeds lightly down in the soil. I don't cover with another light layer of soil; some do. Take a third tray without holes and nest it on top of the seeds. Put something kind of heavy on top to weigh down the tray. Once or twice a day remove the top and mist the seeds. You will see them start to germinate. If you see any white mold forming, pull out the bad seed or bit of debris that is causing the mold and the rest of the mold. After the sprouted seed starts to form the first leaves, turn the inverted tray over and continue to mist and leave in the dark. Continue to remove any moldy bits. When the leaves reach the top of the tray lid, remove the lid and put under lights.

Position a house fan directly at the tray and leave it on continuously until ready to harvest. To water, lift the top tray with soil and pour water into the bottom tray without the holes. Use enough water to fill the troughs in the bottom tray. Continue to look for moldy areas and hope they don't appear!

I've found that warm weather is brutal for sunflowers in terms of mold. I gave up growing them during the hottest part of the summer just for that reason.

Another thing you could try is a different seed source. I tried 3 or 4 before finding some that didn't mold that much.

Lyn
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Old December 26, 2016   #22
oakley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
When Farm-tek started advertising their hydro systems to grow sprouts, I did a lot of reading about it, which was enough to scare me away from the idea for good. I read about a farm family in England who had killed off half of their cows by feeding them sprouts. They were having problems with contamination. Eventually they found the source of the contaminants to be inside the husks of the grain they were soaking. The guy made up a kind of washing machine to agitate the grain as it soaked, and then used a lot of chlorine powder for pools to continually sterilize his equipment. He eventually got his problems worked out, but it all sounded like a nightmare. Microgreens seem much safer than sprouts.
Being an actual plant and not sitting in a damp environment i think it is a better choice.
Certainly tastes better than those pale sprout stalks. (In grocery clam shells). Cilantro, celery, arugula, etc, micro greens do pack a flavor punch.
This is an interesting read about some of the problems. (with sprouts)http://amazingribs.com/blog/raw_sprout_are_risky.html

We can process a small amount of 'microbial load' as we do every day. Just breathing.
If the load is more than we can handle, or if compromised immune systems, it can harm. Finding the source of an overload is getting a bit easier. Contaminated water, etc.
Factory wash water. Dry weather followed by massive storms and run-off. 'microbial soup'. Hot weather, sitting on hot docks after travel...
Seeds can be holding disease in their seed case that has been discussed with tomato seeds here. Keeping it minimal with dry conditions and a cool environment does balance that imho.
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Old January 16, 2017   #23
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Many experiments and successes trying different methods. I did cut my 20 row trays in half as one full tray of the spicy mix was more than we could use. Having half a tray in succession is easier. The square trays, 1/8th a full try are better for individual seed for us. Not had a failure yet.
So many market gardener videos now. When i started a few years ago it was pretty bleak finding good grower methods. I'll find a post a few good ones and one bad one, 'what not to do'.
Pea shoots are easy. And so sweet and delicious tasting just like Spring peas.
Made spring rolls last night and lots of left over veg and shoots for a salad tonight.
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Old January 16, 2017   #24
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The spring rolls
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Old January 16, 2017   #25
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEdUTwYg4N0Curtis Stone's videos are full of information, trial and error, success and failures.
A dozen or more visit his operation and he visits other growers and how they go about it.
And how he deals with the sunflower 'helmet heads' in another vid.
Air circulation and cleaning/sterilizing methods to avoid crop failures...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTClL8qZjKM

good one

Last edited by oakley; January 16, 2017 at 02:41 PM.
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Old January 16, 2017   #26
oakley
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And what i would not do. Sliding trays on the floor, then stacking.
Filthy trays.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoYjvLomq7k
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Old January 16, 2017   #27
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This thread finally motivated me to clean up some trays and look at a few growing tips for micro greens.
For those on the fence: do not overthink this! So easy. Too many websites make this seem harder than it is.
I don't spray with a bottle or use a fan. I did all brassica mixes. Filled 1020 tray with plain Promix HP potting mix. It was slightly moist. Sprinkled 15 grams of seeds on it. Pressed it down with the palm of my hand. Watered with about 2 quarts warm water. Covered with an empty tray. Put onetray on heat mat, one on the hood of my light refelector (it germed faster). Uncovered after day 2/beginning of Day 3. Put under light. Harvested at Day 14. Could have harvested earlier or later based on needs. I am sowing 2 trays every Saturday now. One mild brassica mix, one spicy brassica mix.

IMG_0321.JPG

IMG_0322.JPG

Last edited by PureHarvest; January 17, 2017 at 06:24 AM.
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Old January 16, 2017   #28
oakley
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I want to encourage also and not over-think it. Your trays look great. Like mine. I just found a half tray treated the same has been enough coming into harvesting, brought up onto the kitchen shelf above my prep area, works best for me.

I'm growing many varieties at different grow rates so smaller trays are easier to tend. Like basils, chards, celery, cilantro, and beets.
The salad blends are the bulk of my salads.
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Old January 17, 2017   #29
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Following....
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Old January 17, 2017   #30
oakley
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Just like starting tomato and vegetable seeds, all our growing environments are a bit different. After a few days of snow and cold temps, it is raining today and well above freezing. high 40's most of the week and damp.
I mist with a pump sprayer lightly but bottom water once any seed tray is showing growth. Uncover and under lights.
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