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Old January 4, 2018   #211
Wi-sunflower
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Well it sounds like what I use are from the same species then and are OK. I know I have 1 customer that buys 3 or more pots each week most of the summer and hasn't shown any problems that I know about.

BTW, some people ask if they could plant the peas or radish sprouts like transplants. I know that this variety of pea doesn't make a decent pod worth growing. It has a very short window for picking and most pods only have 2 or sometimes 3 peas.

Carol

Last edited by Wi-sunflower; January 4, 2018 at 01:21 PM. Reason: added thought
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Old January 4, 2018   #212
LDiane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWestGardener View Post
I grew some Black Oil sunflower this year as an experiment using bird seed from Walmart. They were planted late but still matured quickly. They are easy to grow and do not take much space. So if you like sunflower sprouts, grow your own seeds is pretty easy.
Those bird seeds were not used directly for food, as Oakley thought, but instead were used to grow plants that flowered and produced seeds which then were used for microgreens.

Growing your own seeds is a good way to save money. I have jars of arugula, peas and several kinds of cress seeds that I have grown. I haven't been successful growing sunflower seeds. They get eaten by birds or else wind blows the plants over into the dirt. I haven't tried black sunflower seeds yet, but maybe they'll be more successful.
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Old January 5, 2018   #213
oakley
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Just planted/sowed these four to compare. The field pea is Pisum sativum
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Old January 5, 2018   #214
greenthumbomaha
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I have the Botanical Interests microgreen pea seed.

Is there a difference between shoot seed and ordinary garden seed? If so, what would that be. Would any differences be crop specific?

I have seeds for arugula broccoli lettuces, etc for the garden. Would these work as well as specific shoot seed? I am so used to planting with a 6 week grow out with generous spacing in the seed tray.

-Lisa

I have a packet of garden Sugar Snap pea seed that I didn't plant last year. Debating a comparison or save for the garden.

Last edited by greenthumbomaha; January 5, 2018 at 08:54 AM.
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Old January 6, 2018   #215
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The only thing I look for with sprout seeds vs seeds for the garden is "treated" or rather "untreated" for sprouts. While it's possible any seed treatment MAY wash off before someone would eat the sprout, I don't want to take that chance. I also water with just water as I don't want any fertilizer residue on the sprouts. Many customers ask if it's "organic" with the meaning of "nothing on them".

Carol
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Old January 6, 2018   #216
greenthumbomaha
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I've read and re-read most of this thread. I'll be making another pass tonight. I am shedding impressions of growing full sized plants in soil so please forgive these strange questions :

Is the term "sprout seed" the same as "shoot seed". In my mind sprouts are grown in water and microgreen shoots in a tray with soil or felt. Are the seeds in the expensive little specialty packages the same or are there specific ways to harvest or process seed for each purpose?

What is the purpose of the blackout tray? Is the outcome and different if you forego the darkness and start in a clear dome (albeit monitoring the seeds as to not dry out). I pat the seeds down in the coir and will use the felt mat for the first time., again patting to ensure good contact.

I saw a photo of microgreens growing on a felt pad compared with a tray that had soil underneath a felt pad. The difference was dramatic.
Thus I am wondering about the fertilizer regimen. Oakley mentioned adding a little when the greens are along.
What are the preferred fertilizers and concentrations (exclusive of any yucky fishy stuff)? How does the application and frequency differ for soil vs felt?
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Old January 6, 2018   #217
akgardengirl
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Oakley,
Did you formulate a spicy salad greens mix and if so, what varieties did you use and how did it turn out? The one from True Leaf Market isn't spicy at all and doesn't have any contrast...just green!
Sue
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Old January 6, 2018   #218
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Lisa, You ask questions I've wondered about, but even as I proceed in the microgreen growing I can't answer with any certainty. I used some packets of seeds I've accumulated for the past 5 years to grow as microgreens and all have behaved like microgreens should, except I had some poor germination on dill seed.

I use the blackout tray to cause the seedlings to reach for light and get leggy, and the darkness seems to help germinate the larger seeds like sunflower, pea and buckwheat. I remove the blackout when most of the seedlings have sprouted. I think light will make the microgreens too thick and short for microgreens (the opposite goal compared to trying to grow tomatoes).

Now, as to grow medium, I am so far unhappy with coconut coir. Compared to growing in soil the microgreens grown in coir are puny and less vibrant looking. My dream was to have a nice, sterile, clinical microgreen growing in coir that I could stick in a bag when a customer bought it. I just ordered some felt, so I will experiment with felt and soil again.

My view is that you don't want any fert at all in your microgreens. The idea is to have a pure veggie that is 100% plant. The microgreens should have adequate nutrients in their seed to grow to harvestable status of 10 - 20 days. If you grow your greens to where they are producing true leaves they are no longer microgreens.
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Old January 6, 2018   #219
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I zipped thru several hours of you-tubes when I was frozen in, and one showed a tub of seed that was mechanically cut in half. I can't remember what vegetable it was nor the reason at this moment. It made sense at the time.

I would say puny is right. That is why I was thinking of fertilizer. This coir does not have any nutrients, unlike wonder soil. Here is day 5 for the coir grow out , with the new pea tray and a misc garden seed assortment I just started:
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Old January 7, 2018   #220
oakley
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Back in Sept-Oct I cleaned out my micro seed crate to organized the next order.
At that time I made a few mixes using up some sample seed of this and that.
Mixes using similar growth rate and size as to not compete and shade out smaller
seed. Yes, some commercial 'mixes' are not so satisfying...
Just now experimenting with the fresh seed I just received. Also need to get the
weight amount down for each tray.

I have everything I desire for some good trials and mixes. Good color also.

Black-out does not necessarily mean 'black', just out of direct sunlight. Just like any
germination that does not need light. Damp, not wet, maybe some bottom heat, and
good air flow once germination starts.

Weighing down the trays heavily and stacked, for peas especially, is to keep them in
solid contact with the soil. Otherwise the root and cotyledon will pop up and curl well
above each other and loose contact with water/soil. The commercial growers like
Curtis Stone do it to also save precious space while previous trays are growing, off
to market, then stacked trays are ready for light, re-peat. It's a dance that I do in
small scale.

Just like growing seed for the garden, we all have different variables in climate, temps,
moisture. Reviews for every different type of soil and those dozen varieties of mats vary.
Some love it, I have love/hate. Prefer soil. Bottom water wicking. Sunny window once sprouting,
in a dry room, is always best from my experience. Downstairs under lights where it is 62-65 is
just a slower growth.

The 'sprout', 'microgreen', 'baby green', is a marketing coined term, not a botanist distinction.
'Microgreen' is anything up to/including the first set of true leaves. I don't cut and refrigerate.
I bring up a tray or three and place on a shelf above my prep in the kitchen. Good to cut
fresh for easily a week. Just under the LED under cabinet lights. A little seaweed dilute Fert
seems fine. I do have some worm castings. Forget I have them. First set of true leaves is
where the good color and leaf shape develops that I love. Still just 3-5 inches over that
kitchen growth through the week. Some trays jump to 6-8 but still gorgeous and delicious.

Some swear by the hydroponic liquid foods.

Non of us are 'tweezer' micro restaurant chefs. (Tiny bright red amaranth decoration). I want bang
for the buck healthy greens and fast. Tendril peas are pretty but get woody fast I have learned.
Tender stalks and meaty spicy greens fit our needs. Buckwheat is under 7$ a pound. Diakon and Red
Rambo radish also cheap.

We share a lightly dressed side salad with every meal every day. Different greens in every mix keeps
it interesting. Fresh cut is a win-win.
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Old January 12, 2018   #221
greenthumbomaha
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Thank you for that detailed explanation, oakley. Your experience is very helpful to this project. Your photos are motivating!

I think I"m doing alright with the sample mixed greens seed and the peas from Botanical Gardens; they are all sprouted and a few inches high. However, the cost of seeds per quantity of edible greens seems very high. I'll post progress pics of the coir grown seeds later. It just doesn't look lush and full like your trays. I have another strawberry clamshell with coir and conventional seed for comparison. The arugula is coming in very nicely, but I think I overseeded this one. I put in a row of lemon basil and they thought that was too slow growing but it is not too far behind at this stage.

I used the conventional felt mat in-the-dark technique two black plastic tray method for a half tray. It is germinating on top of my dvd player. I haven't peaked yet to see how they are. It's been two days.

- Lisa
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Old January 13, 2018   #222
oakley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akgardengirl View Post
Oakley,
Did you formulate a spicy salad greens mix and if so, what varieties did you use and how did it turn out? The one from True Leaf Market isn't spicy at all and doesn't have any contrast...just green!
Sue
My mixed salad 'spicy' is always evolving. It is in a 1/2 pint ball jar in the freezer.
A few different mustards, arugula, and a half dozen various mesclun mixes that I
picked up in August sale bins. As well as a Johnny's and a SeedsNow mix that I have
added to that jar. I stopped trying to make a solid measured 'mix' as all the
combinations grow well together being the same size seed. I'm getting a good
collection of shape and color letting it grow to true leaf.

I make my own condiments like mustards, so I have a few different mustard seeds
....white, yellow, and a few browns, but no idea the variety. I buy them one lb and
and five lb quantity at a time so super cheap. And organic.

I clearly don't do anything I say I want to do. Plans, no plans. This pic from
from yesterday, is a 'spicy' mix, just uncovered. A 1010 tray of all four posted above
with a tbsp of buckwheat. A new trial thinking they might do well together....so far
so good. And two 5x7's...one is daikon radish and a solo mustard. Red Rambo radish
I started yesterday as well as some herbs.

So very different just this morning and growing fast. (I'll pic again tomorrow)
And new thoughts that seems to be working during the drier Winter deep freeze
months.
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Old January 13, 2018   #223
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I've scaled way back with the MG; mainly due to the beautiful broccoli heads that have been readily available since December 24. Last year I grew 100 Broccoli heads and had only given a few away so we were so burned out on it. I ended up blanching and freezing them but most of those went uneaten and became worm/compost food. This season, with dedicated much less space and a much cooler and wetter year; where it is bad for tomatoes, the broccoli and lettuce are thriving. I grow Castle Dome which is faster and will produce 2nd and 3rd heads. Last year, we were burned out, but this year I'm aiming for those 2nd/3rd heads.

Oakly - What did you think of your Coir Roll? I hadn't done anything but the other person on this thread was not happy with it.

Back to the compost worms, they LOVE the unpicked MG and bedding. The Coir roll would be good for the worms

Finally, I don't like the MG Peas at all; probably the kind we have. We've tried a few times; growth is amazing though.

We seem to like the small seeded MG the best.

The sunflower was kind of good; Anyone else think it tasted like carrots?.
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Old January 14, 2018   #224
oakley
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"...However, the cost of seeds per quantity of edible greens seems very high."

It is a quantity issue. I paid 6$ a pound for buckwheat seed. If a sample small packet is
1/2 ounce or even an ounce for 2-3 dollars that is paying anywhere from 36$ and up per
pound. yikes.

Just like any seed we buy, the cost is always better in larger quantity. Those combined
trays above including the 4 downstairs may have a total of 2$. Easily 10 salads. And
fresh cut. Not bagged grocery bought that often goes bad.

Sure I bought some sample seed packets this time last year just wondering what other
varieties I might like rather than invest in quantity at that time.

"Oakly - What did you think of your Coir Roll?"

Not a fan. I had crop failure a couple weeks ago. Just two small trays. I was juggling
trays and switching some lights around and did not realize the heat mat was on. The
coir dries out so fast and seems to need much babysitting. Soil would have bought some
time before perishing.
I did not buy a roll, just two mat types to sample.
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Old January 14, 2018   #225
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That was quick. Really filling out.
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