Let’s get planting

I thought I would spend a few posts talking through my process.  At a high level, it is simply: plant, water, harvest.  But there is a little more to it than that.  Today I will cover planting.

Since my growing room is in my basement, the first step is to try to con one of my teenage boys to carry the pro-mix bale to the basement.  If that doesn’t work I put on my big girl pants and carry it down myself.

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The pro-mix is compressed so it can’t be used straight out of the bag.  I put some in a plastic bin and get to work breaking it up as fine as I can.  I used to screen it but lately I have ditched that effort because it seems I am always short on time.  Next I add some water so that it is damp but not soggy.

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Next I lay out the trays and fill them with soil.  I am the queen of using what I’ve got, so I use an old concrete mixing cup.  I’ve found that 4 cups full fills the trays nicely.

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I spread the soil out with my hands and then use the “smoosher” that my husband made for me.  It is important to have the soil compact and as flat as possible so that germination will be even and the microgreens will be fairly consistent in height.  Otherwise you have a harvesting headache.

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Next it is time for seeds!  I used to measure my seeds by weight but found that was taking a really long time.  Now I use a measuring spoon (or cup for sunflowers and peas).  I use about 2 1/2 tablespoons for seeds like kale and cabbage, and 3 tablespoons for bigger seeds like radish.

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The goal is to have good even coverage.  You don’t want clumps of seeds – if they are too thick they will rot as they get bigger.

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The last step is to stack and weight (and wait).  I stack all varieties.  About 5 trays high, with a brick or two on top.  This helps aid soil contact with the seeds which increases germination.  The seeds also don’t dry out this way and it drives the roots down into the soil so you have strong healthy greens.  I peek at everything each morning to see if they are ready to be uncovered – usually they are uncovered after several days and introduced to the light.

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