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How To Grow Microgreens Without Soil in 7 Easy Steps

Microgreens is a new gardening trend in which smaller young plants are grown swiftly and reaped in their 2nd stage of development. They’re simple to grow; you can even learn how to grow microgreens without soil.

That’s right; there are two ways to cultivate microgreens hydroponically or without the soil. Gardeners instead utilize growing mediums like Rockwool, perlite, sand, coco peat, and other alternatives.

They’re not only pretty to look at but they’re also packed with nutrients. Microgreens are one of the most nutrient-dense foods. According to this study, microgreens are 4–40 times more nutritious than their fully developed plant counterparts.

They are also beneficial to your cardiovascular system. Previously, microgreens were mainly used in high-end eateries or fine dining, but they are now increasingly used.

It’s mainly because they’re simple to cultivate, can be grown all year, and the supplies needed to grow them, like seeds, growing medium, and so on, are inexpensive and readily available.

How To Grow Microgreens Without Soil
How To Grow Microgreens Without Soil via Reddit

How To Grow Microgreens Without Soil: A Garden Guide

In hydroponic gardening, plants are grown without soil. Instead, they’re watered and fed using mineral nutrient solutions that circulate through the root system of the plants to grow them into healthy and delicious microgreens.

Hydroponics provides gardeners with many benefits, such as being eco-friendly, time-saving, and low-cost. Let’s look at the steps involved in how to grow microgreens without soil.

Things You’ll Need

  • Seeds
  • Spray Bottle
  • Growing Medium
  • Coco coir – Coco peat has a neutral pH, is resistant to fungal disease, drains well, and has good aeration.
  • Vermiculite – Vermiculite is made of mica. It’s lightweight and able to retain water without becoming soggy. It also provides good surface drainage, has good nutrient-holding properties, and buffers pH.
  • Rockwool – Rockwool is the most common medium used in hydroponics. It consists of basalt rock melted into fibers mixed with sand or perlite.
  • Lightweight Expanded Clay Pellets (LEC) – LEC is made out of clay fired to create lightweight, porous pellets.
  • Sand – Sand used for hydroponics should be rich in calcium carbonate.
  • Hemp Growing Mats
  • Growing Trays
  • Growing Lights
  • pH Testing Kits
  • Fertilizers or Nutrients

Step 1: Prepare the Water and Nutrients

  • First, you’ll need to prepare the water and nutrients.
  • Because hydroponics is based on water, the water quality you utilize is critical.
  • It’s ideal to use distilled or rainfall; tap water can be used, but it’s best to allow it to sit for a day or boil it to eliminate chlorine.
  • Learn how to use pH testers to maintain the nutrient solution’s pH between 5.5 and 6.8 (in most cases).
  • Depending on its pH, you can do this by adding more or fewer nutrients to the solution.
  • Add small amounts of water until you’re satisfied with the result.
  • To decrease the pH, add phosphoric acid or wood ash lime to increase it.
  • If using liquid nutrients, mix them with water at a ratio of 2 drops per gallon.
  • If using organic liquid fertilizers, it’s best to use an organic fertilizer that’s diluted to half strength or less.
  • Make sure that there are no chemical fillers or additives in your fertilizers, as these will cause stress.
  • You can use a pH tester to test the nutrient solution’s pH level.

Step 2: Prepare Your Growing Media

  • The first step is to get the growing medium inside the trays ready.
  • Growing microgreens necessitates the use of a tray or two. You can use any tray you have around the house, but it should be at least 20 inches long and 1.5 to 2 inches deep.
  • Option are: Soilless Potting Mixes – Coco coir, vermiculite, perlite, rock wool, and sand are some common growing mediums used for hydroponic gardening.
  • Whichever growing medium you choose, make sure it is uniformly distributed around the pan and readied ahead of time. It must be 1-inch deep around the tray.
  • Each tray needs one mat; don’t double them because they do not appear to be thick enough.

Step 3: Planting Your Seeds

  • Soak your growing medium with water; it shouldn’t be dripping wet but moist enough to make a fist when squeezed.
  • Use a spray bottle to moisten the growing media.
  • Now take a peek at the seed packaging and note the directions.
  • Take 2-3 Tbsp of seeds and equally distribute them over the tray and growth media.
  • When you spread the seeds equally around the tray, ensure no large lumps of seeds or bare spots are there in one spot.
  • These seeds don’t require a lot of space. Because they take a few weeks to be reaped, they don’t require much space to grow.
  • Maintain a moist environment by covering the tray or keeping them in the dark area.
How To Grow Microgreens Without Soil 2
Grow Microgreens Without Soil via Reddit

Step 4: Watering Your Microgreens

  • After planting your microgreens, it’s time to water them.
  • With hydroponics, you need to create a mist of just the right amount of water to get enough oxygen into the plants’ roots.
  • After you moisten the growing medium, spray enough water on it until there are no dry spots. It should be dark and wet but never standing in puddles or pooling at the bottom of your tray.
  • You want to avoid over-watering your microgreens because they can “drown.” You don’t want to let them dry out, either. Your best bet is to water them once a day.
  • Try this for about three weeks, and you should be able to see microgreens start growing!
  • Once they grow, you’ll need to begin watering them twice a day. There’s no formula; it depends on the amount of light and temperature in your growing area.
  • Keep them wet but not soggy.
  • It’s best to take a look at the seed package for approximate days until harvest or wait until you see sprouts before watering more frequently.
  • You can adjust your watering schedule if your microgreens are wilting during the day when it’s light out.

Step 5: Germination

  • Keeping the seeds warm (about 70°F) will germinate in 3-4 days.
  • Keep the tray warm and dark throughout those days, but make sure there is air movement because mold will form if there isn’t any.
  • Ensure that the soil tray is kept moist by sprinkling it with pH water after every 12 hours.

Step 6: Use Grow Lights

  • It’s now time to place the trays in front of the grow lights.
  • Avoid immediately watering the microgreens and follow the dry and soak method by adding a water mug in the tray and then removing the excess water after 15-20 mins.
  • You should do this each day until the microgreens are ready to be harvested.

Step 7: Harvesting and Storing Your Microgreens

  • Your microgreens should be fully mature after 3-5 weeks; it depends on the seed variety.
  • Some seeds, such as kale and sunflower, only take a few days to mature, while others, like romaine, can take up to four weeks.
  • Once you’re ready to harvest your microgreens, cut the stem one inch above the top of the growing medium.
  • You should do this with a sharp knife or pair of scissors; never pull them off as this can cause damage to the plant itself.
  • Cutting them will remove any excess moisture on top and make it easier for the microgreens to dry out.
  • Now you can store them in a small plastic bag and stick them in your refrigerator for up to four days.
  • They’ll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them!
  • It’s best to use or consume your microgreens within five or six days after harvesting because they will begin to wilt.

Final Remarks

Compared to in-ground gardening or soil-based microgreen growing, mastering how to grow microgreens without soil is great for many new gardeners and microgreen growers to start as it requires minimal investment. Give it a shot and see whether you enjoy hydroponically cultivating microgreens.