Inchworm Microgreens: Lessons learned in my First Year

Ann Arbor Food

The picture above shows several nice trays of microgreens growing. But there seemed to be some new challenge and lesson every week of my first season as a microgreen farmer.

-Poor germination
-poor drainage in trays until I cut more holes in the bottom
-Buying the wrong seed
-dealing with rain
-dealing with heat, and frying a few batched of trays with the plastic lid covers
-varieties that flopped like lentil, chic pea, and corn shoots
-trying a supposedly fail proof indoor system that failed
-Then there were the chipmunk attacks
-And even when I had a bumper crop, a rainy day at the market resulted in slow sales

Ann Arbor Food

I set up a fence to protect my microgreen trays from deer and wood chucks, but I never thought about chipmunks. They can get in anywhere, and they love sunflower seeds. The real problem is that they like to dig around in the trays, and once they uncover the seeds, the seeds dry up and die. They ruined a weeks worth of trays.

I set up this system of a brick frame with some hardware clothe on top, and bricks on top. If you are more of handy person than me, you could build a wood frame. Once the seeds sprout to about an inch they are safe because the chipmunks only seem to like the seeds, and not the sprouts.

Ann Arbor Food

This system is also great for sprouting seed starts outside. Stadium Hardware sells hardware clothe by the foot/yard.

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Sugar Beet Starts

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One response to “Inchworm Microgreens: Lessons learned in my First Year

  1. Hey, I’ve been reading through your blog, it’s awesome what your doing btw. I took a tour of http://www.threespringsfarm.com/ a couple years ago, and Emily and Mike have a great system for getting better germination and faster germination. They use an old fridge with a thermometer inside with a can of water in the bottom to aid humidity. They put the trays in the fridge for 48 to 72 hours then pop the trays into the green house to finish getting started. I don’t have a fridge, but my husband built me a a tray stand with four ft fluorescent grow lights, 2 to a shelf with four shelves. I soak the soil first, put the seeds, soak again, then cover with news paper for 2 to 3 days. Just about everything I do this way has come up pretty good, except for the woody shrubby stuff that takes longer to germinate, like lavender and such. All the greens come up great this way. Im building the short side “hoop” house greens box next. Basically a table with a top made of chicken wire for drainage, with dowels for the stanchions that that “hoop” made from whatever, pvc, electrical conduit..then plastic or shade cloth as the weather dictates. Never tried it before, but seems like it should work. 🙂 Newayz, thanks for the inspiration, information and cogitation on a nifty way to farm!

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