10 Common Q&A’s: Grow Microgreens Like a Pro

You might be having some trouble growing your microgreens- or just want to know more so you don’t mess anything up. Here are ten of the most common microgreen questions and the solutions.

1.) What if my microgreens become limp after harvesting?

Microgreens must be handled carefully after harvesting due to their delicate nature. Never leave your harvested greens out in the open for an extended period of time, especially in the summer.

To keep your greens fresh and nutritious after washing, move them into a cool water wash as soon as possible. Limp greens might also result from careless storage.

Make sure the container you use to store your greens is tightly closed, whether in bags or a sealable container.

Microgreens can stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to a week or longer when handled and stored correctly.

2.) What if the leaves of my greens look burnt?

The sun’s intensity can occasionally cause the leaves to burn. This permanent damage weakens the integrity of the greens.

Burnt leaves are less aesthetically pleasing and lose some of their durability after harvest.

When the sun is particularly intense, move your greens into some partial shade to prevent solar damage.

To avoid burning, avoid watering during the hottest part of the day. Because they tend to dry up more quickly, the edges of your trays may have more significant damage.

You can save at least a portion of the tray by taking your time and cutting around the damaged areas.

3.) What if my microgreens are yellowing and stunted? 

When nutrients are not provided in sufficient amounts, greens become stunted. The type of soil is the first consideration while growing them in soil.

Some lesser-quality soils lack the variety of nutrients required to support growth. You will notice that the seedlings stop growing, start turning yellow, and eventually rot rather than continue to grow. 

The pH of the water can also be a concern.

Related Article: Learn how the soil, water, and nutrients are taken up by microgreens and benefit your health

4.) What if my microgreens are getting tall and weedy?

Light is always the key factor when your greens start to get weedy. You can tell the difference between tall, spindly greens grabbing for any available light and healthy, sturdy greens that receive appropriate light.

These microgreens frequently lose some of their colors as they focus all their energy on finding the light. Either grow lights or sunlight can readily address this issue. Ensure your location receives full to partial sun for most of the day.

If you discover locations close to you that do not have long enough sunlight intervals, you could decide to relocate your trays in the direction of the sun.

Moving one or two trays around over the day might not be a big deal, but ten trays would require a lot of time and increase the likelihood of trays being dropped. Consider looking into grow lights if you find yourself in this scenario.

5.) What if my tray of soil gets a crack in it?

When trays are moved, you can find that your soil moves. Therefore, deep crevasses could develop if the trays aren’t carried with support.

Although this may seem concerning, your seeds will still germinate as usual, and any cracks won’t stop the growth of seeds that have already started to sprout in trays.

6.) What if my microgreens start to rot?

Rot can become an issue for two primary causes. The first is that your greens receive insufficient sunlight and too much moisture.

In the summer heat, we often water twice—once in the morning and once in the evening. In hot, sunny situations, this is effective.

However, watering, in the same manner, would soon lead to areas of rot developing in your trays if a cold front were to pass in for a few days, bringing clouds and temps in the 60s. In cooler, less sunny weather, one-morning watering would be plenty.

Your greatest route to understanding what each crop prefers is to have issues with both over- and underwatering. Then, you must provide your greens with the required conditions and experiment with the factors. 

The water quality you are using is another potential cause of rot in your trays. Ordinarily, municipal water contains chlorine, which plants dislike. The majority of drinking water filters can readily fix this.

Another thing to consider is whether your water’s pH is abnormally high or low. Your greens lose access to nutrients that would otherwise be locked up and unavailable.

The common microgreen types have a wide variety of preferred pH levels, but most prefer a pH of about 6.5. Testing is simple, provided you have the right tools.

Liquid solutions and portable digital devices are both used as pH monitors. Keeping your pH in check might help with a variety of issues.

First, the plants will be healthier and less prone to rot and disease, which will be even more significant than the more substantial growth and higher harvests.

7.) What if the microgreens come up thickly in some and sparsely in others?

A tray of growing microgreens will occasionally resemble a lush, perfectly level lawn. However, sometimes you notice that your trays’ development and germination are uneven. Several things are at work in this situation.

The most evident factor is your sowing technique. Even germination requires slowing down and concentrating on spreading the seed evenly. Practice makes perfect.

Uneven germination and growth may also be caused by poor soil quality or improper soil mixing. While the majority of the potting soils usually have positive results, a few appear to prevent the germination of specific seeds.

To discover a good match, experiment with various soils to address this factor, which may take some time.

The location of the tray may also be necessary. You will observe the corollary germination and growth if one side of the tray is in bright sunshine and the other is in partial shade.

Find a location in the shade where your seeds can germinate. Find a location with an even distribution of sunlight for your growing greens, and/or rotate the trays if necessary.

Finally, the seed may have an impact on growth. Different seed batches may germinate at various times. Resulting in an unlevel tray. For the home grower, uneven germination and growth are typically more of an aesthetic than a practical problem.

8.) What if I see mold when pulling up my towel?

Depending on when you remove the towel, you can detect a white fuzz surrounding the seedlings’ roots. This may easily be mistaken for mold. Rest assured that it is a normal part of germination and growth.

The white fuzz will disappear when the tray is watered. Mold, however, can grow under unfavorable circumstances.

Your seedlings will suffer if you have prolonged periods of chilly, dreary, or damp weather. The mold and the white, fluffy roots are very different. While the mold is darker and surrounds the seeds or bare soil, the fuzz, which is light in color, surrounds the root zone.

Basil and cilantro are warm-weather crops that will be more prone to mold. Crops that must endure the mentioned conditions and require a more extended germination period will also be vulnerable. To prevent the growth of mold:

  1. Take control of your environment.
  2. Use heat mats, or relocate your greens to a warmer location while germinating.
  3. When you notice mold in the tray, uncover your seeds, lightly water them, and create a space with more light and airflow for them.

Related Article: What Do You Need to Grow Microgreens? (11 Essential Items)

9.) What if my germinating microgreen seeds stick to the paper towel when I pull it off? 

Watching your initial seeds sprout and develop into microgreens can be exciting. Wait and put the paper towel back down if your curiosity causes you to remove it too quickly.

You may check on the development of your seeds without removing the paper towel completely. If the majority of the germinating seeds and their fuzzy roots are sticking to the towel when you remove it from the soil, you have removed it too soon.

Give the seeds one more day, and then check to see if they have rooted in the corner. The paper towel lifting off the dirt is an excellent indication to watch out for. The seedlings are pushing through the towel and getting ready to open their first leaves and see the light, as indicated by this.

Your seedlings will struggle if you leave the towel on for an extended period of time. They’ll grow tall and weedy, making them more prone to rotting and matting. It could take a number of cycles to get your timing down, but it will soon become instinctive.

10.) What if my microgreen seeds aren’t germinating?

If your seeds are not germinating, it can usually be related to these three common causes:

1.) Temperature: Is the temperature too hot or too cold where the greens are germinating?

Poor germination is frequently a result of extreme heat or cold. With temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees F, it is simple to get good germination rates. Due to the differences between varieties, check your seed packet, which typically includes this information, can be helpful. 

Be encouraged if you are having any issues with the germination of your seeds.

One benefit is the short growing time, area, and energy commitment required to raise a tray of microgreens instead of a field of lettuce. Start a new tray, make necessary changes, and monitor the results to see if the germination and growth are being hampered.

2.) Moisture: Are your bins drying out?

During the germination process, underwatering is far more of a risk than overwatering. Never let the top layer of soil or your towel to dry out.

However, it is not advisable to oversaturate your soil at this point because you risk losing crucial nutrients. Your goal is to maintain moisture in your soil and, by extension, your seed.

Focus on keeping the top layer damp rather than over-soaking the entire tray during the early stages of germination before the seeds have developed roots.

3.) Seed Are your seeds good?

As long as you know the seed’s source, checking the viability of the seed is relatively simple. If you bought the seed, the packet would have helpful information.

The average germination percentage, the ideal germination temperature range, the date, and occasionally the number of days till germination should all be readily available.

You could buy new seeds, pick a different seed source or variety, or sow the seed more densely the next time you discover that your seed has a low germination rate (anything below 80%). The rate at which your seeds germinate may be impacted if you let them become warm or moist.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.