Making a cheap microgreens setup is easy and fun, a project that you can make with your kids.
Growing microgreens means essentially growing seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs. If you have sprouts and cut their roots you get microgreens: the stem, the first leaves and the first set of true leaves make the microgreen. As microgreens are rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper they are used as a nutrition supplement. Microgreens can add sweetness and spiciness to foods and therefore are used as a flavor and texture enhancement.
How easy is to start microgreens?
Growing microgreens is easier than growing the actual plants, because they only take around 2 weeks and there are less things to go bad. Microgreens can be grown outside but if you dont have the space you can easily grow them indoors. The Greenshine Farmer tells how grow microgreens outside: how to prep, seed, grow, harvest, and pack micro peas and sunflowers. If you are looking to grow microgreens indoors, Josh Sattin explains how to make a professional indoors microgreens setup. But what if you are looking for the cheapest way to start microgreens at home?
Making a cheap indoor microgreens setup
To grow microgreens at home you need at least a few items:
- the seeds (go for organic seeds if you can)
- trays (any trays will do for the beginning)
- planting medium
Abby from Three Daughters Farm makes a beginners guide together with her daughters. She says: “Growing microgreens is one of my favorite things to grow during the winter! There are so many to choose from, and all taste so different”. And I say: also so easy:
The kitchen counter microgreens setup
Let’s start with the basics. You can grow microgreens on you kitchen table or by the window. You need seeds, some plastic containers and (maybe) soil. Josh Sattin has a funny explaining on what you need to grow microgeens: take-out food containers and… a rock :))
Comparing soil and soil-less microgreens methods
Keeping Josh’s video on mind, Khang Starr shows us how to grow mustard microgreens in two different methods, soil-less method and soil method, comparing soil with a paper towel setup:
The cheapest microgreens setup – plastic containers from dollar stores
Mike VanDuzee explains how you can make a cheap microgreens setup using containers from the dollar stores – he cuts slots in the lid of a plastic container without breaking it using a cutter. Then, using a paper towel he makes a self watering system for the seeds by inserting the towel in the slots and putting water in the container. To improve the system he also puts a small grow mat on top of the paper towel, but this is not mandatory. Then, for the blackout period, any black plastic tray will do.
Easy indoor microgreens growing with your kids
Growing microgreens can also be a nice project to do with your kids. Brian from Next Level Gardening who is mentored by a University of California Certified Master Gardener shows us how much fun is to do microgreens with your kid. He goes through both system, soil based using a standard planting pot and soiless.
Growing microgreens using silicone mesh
If you are not a fan of the paper towel method, it seems that using a silicone mesh is actually simpler and cleaner as Padma Aleti has discovered. Using the silicone mesh, there is no wastage, no mold, no fuss, no mess, no need for constant attention… you can grow them right on your dining table. The silicone mesh is nothing special, they are simple dehydrator sheets.
For better results, Aleti uses Epsom Salt (1 tablespoon per gallon of water) and Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide for healthy germination and growth, but once again, this is not mandatory.
Cheap ready made microgreens tray
If you are looking for something ready made, there are very cheap microgreens trays (a 2 tray system, one to hold the water and the one on top with a plastic mesh. They are similar to the silicone mesh and unlike the other systems above you don’t need do do any work on the trays. Pei Zhai grows pea-shoots indoors, without soil and only adds water 2 times. To do this, you need to place some paper towels on top of the tray with holes and just add one extra towel to get to the bottom tray with water. You only need to add water 2 times during the 2 weeks of growing, because the paper will suck water from lower tray and keep upper tray damp.