Facts About Microgreens Seeds

Facts About Microgreens Seeds

Facts About Microgreens Seeds

April 3, 2018

"The vast majority of garden seeds will not do for the microgreens gardener. But navigating the seed catalogs will not be intimidating if you know exactly what you're looking for. Keep these guidelines in mind, and you'll have no problems finding the seeds you need and bringing your microgreens garden to life."

Organic Certification

For seed vendors located join the United States, organic certification need not necessarily means US Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification. Regional certifying agencies also monitor and attest to organic farming methods, but they're not permitted to use the words "organically grown" on seeds packets. Other terminology, such as "naturally grown," may be used, and that's perfectly acceptable.

Pamper your Seeds

Seeds are highly perishable, and untreated seeds in particle must be pampered. If only a fraction of the seeds you plant won't germinate due to poor storage conditions, you may develop a serious mold problem that can spread throughout your crop. To grow successfully germinates, successfully, your seeds need to maintain viability,(the seeds' ability to germinate) and vigor (a measure of the seeds' strength and health). Vigor declines before viability, so even if a batch of seeds successfully germinates, the seedlings may not grow vigorously. 

The best conditions for storing seeds are in airtight containers in a cold place with even temperatures (above freezing) and low humidity - such as a refrigerator. Other good alternatives include a wine cellar, root cellar, or other cold storage. Before refrigerating seeds, first, remove them from packets, envelops, or other packaging and transfer them to glass jars, preferably jars that have gaskets inside the lids. Check to see that the gasket is pliable so that the lid will seal tightly, with age, gaskets can turn brittle and no longer create an airtight seal. Ordinarily, storing seeds in plastic bags isn't ideal because bags are watertight but not airtight. However, a new generation of vacuum-sealed plastic packing (one brand name is cryovac) effectively seals out air and moisture and creates an airtight seal.

The packaging works with vacuum food sealing machine designed for home use, and it could rival glass jars when it comes to effectively storing and protecting seeds. To verify that a vacuum sealed plastic package is airtight, check to see whether you can smell the contents through a sealed bag. If any odor can be detected, air is seeping in.

 Watering your Seeds

As your seeds are germinating, it is important to keep a close eye on their progress and to maintain proper moisture. When using the towel method, observe the dampness of the towel and water daily, keeping the towel and the seed below it moist. One benefit of the towel method is that it gives you a window into the germination process. Instead of the seeds being hidden from your view, you can lift a corner of the towel at any time, allowing you to watch the stages of germination. You want your seeds to remain covered until they are fully germinated.

After a few days, you will notice that the towels will have started to lift off the soil, giving you a hint that your greens are get ting ready to need to see the light. As illustrated in the photographs, certain germinating seeds acquire a white fuzz on their stems.

This is not mold and is a natural part of the process as your seedlings set roots. Trays covered with soil will require a bit more attention. Soil will dry out more quickly than towels, so make sure these trays are watered a couple of times a day. With microgreens, your trays will be so densely sown that when they germinate, the covering layer of soil will lift with the seeds. If the soil is not evenly rinsed from the seeds early in this process, they will remain under the soil in darkness. These seedlings will quickly become weedy and pale. When watered at this point, the covering soil can drown and kill much of the tray.

That said, we covered our seeds with soil our entire first season of growing our greens. While it is not difficult to do, losing trays because you are a few hours off can be frustrating. If you choose not to cover your seeds, take caution when watering. A gentle shower will ensure that your germinating seeds aren’t disrupted. Remember that whichever covering method you choose, your seeds will need consistent moisture to germinate.

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy these post:

"How to make pesto with radish microgreens"

"Understanding microgreens production"

"5 microgreens recipes that will change your life"

Tags: microgreens grower microgreens seeds urban farming

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