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Friday, December 26, 2014

Winter Veggies - Microgreens

I have decided to grow microgreens in an available room with a southwest facing window after considering setting up an indoor aquaponics system to grow fresh vegetables during cold weather. I used available materials for most of the setup, things I had on hand from other projects. For example, a rack made of 3/4" PVC pipe that I originally intended to be a solar drying rack for an overabundance of plums. I also had four fluorescent light fixtures and ten full spectrum 4' lighting tubes I had intended for my greenhouse before discovering that there was little need for them. I had a 5 gallon water storage barrel with a spigot in which to store ph adjusted water. Although I now drink water adjusted to at least an alkalinity of 8, plants do best with slightly acid water which I produce by adding a little lemon juice or vinegar to tap water to bring it down to 6. I purchased a starter kit from and also ordered beet seeds and soil plus additional growing trays and grow mats. I intend to start a new tray every other day. The first tray, radish, was seeded on the 19th of December. On the 21st I planted beet seed which requires soil. 'Mixed salad' a blend of seeds provided in the kit was started on the 23rd. On the 25th I planted kohlrabi seeds. While the first trays planted were covered as germination took place, I set up the rack with lights for the second phase of growth. Since growing microgreens is conservative of water, I feel it dovetails nicely with aquaponics. Since no fertilizer is used because the greens are harvested before the plants begin to need more than the nutrients provided in the seed itself, and there is no water drainage, it can provide a daily supply of highly nutritious greens. So far the beets have been slow to germinate but the radish and mixed salad trays are thriving under the full spectrum lights. The low temperature in the room may account for the delay in germination of the beet seeds. I numbered the trays and keep a log of when and what was planted and the day they were exposed to light.

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