It’s possible to grow microgreens without soil! But how? You might be surprised to learn that there are many different types of mediums for growing microgreens.
Soil isn’t the only option. It should also come as no surprise that these options vary in cost and convenience, depending on your preference.
Here are some popular methods of growing microgreens without soil:
- Coco coir
- Sea sponge
- Rock wool cubes and other mineral wool cubes
- Perlite and other hydroponic mediums such as expanded clay, coconut husks, etc. – just be sure that it drains well. Most of these aren’t “organic,” although you can find organic versions of some.
One word of caution: even if a medium is labeled as “organic,” it still might not be. Make sure to do your research and check online or ask your supplier what the growing medium is made of.
While these options work great for growing microgreens without soil, they are not necessarily completely organic.
coconut coir for microgreens
Coco coir is a type of coco fiber that’s made from the husks of coconuts and has been used as an organic soilless growing medium for several years now.
It has some great benefits, which makes it particularly popular among those who choose to grow microgreens without soil as well as those who do grow them in soil.
First, coco coir is extremely lightweight when dry and absorbs water well when damp, making it easy to work with in comparison to soils. It’s also pH neutral, so you won’t have to worry about messing up the chemistry of your soil or having to manage the pH levels yourself.
You might even be able to get away with not using a container to grow your microgreens, depending on the medium you choose.
One of the most popular reasons for choosing coco coir over other soilless growing mediums is that it can be stored after use and used multiple times, whereas soil requires changing every time.
This means that if you’re not ready to give up your preferred growing method, you don’t have to. Just keep a supply of coco coir on hand and use it as needed for your next crop.
Eggshells as a medium for microgreens
As many growers know, eggshells make an excellent medium for growing various different types of plants. But how about eggshells for growing microgreens?
One of the best things about eggshells is that they are completely organic. Plus, since you’ll probably be using them to make your own fertilizer or compost at some point in the future, what more could you ask for?
However, eggshells also present some challenges. Since they’re lightweight, it can be difficult to get the microgreens out of the growing container.
If you’re looking for an organic medium, eggshells might just be your best choice. But if you prefer something with a little more substance to it, try one of these options instead.
Mineral wool cubes as a growing medium for microgreens
Mineral wool cubes make an excellent growing medium for microgreens, especially when you allow them to dry between waterings.
They’re made from materials like sand, volcanic rock, and heated minerals (for example, perlite). Of course, if you can find organic mineral wool cubes, that would be even better!
However, one thing you’ll want to be sure of is that they drain well. Since we’re not using soil, it would be quite a challenge if your microgreens couldn’t drain well and ended up rotting or dying from too much moisture.
Mineral wool cubes are also lightweight and easy to use, making them an excellent choice for those who find themselves having to transplant their microgreens frequently.
If you notice your seedlings aren’t doing as well as they should, try using mineral wool cubes to see if that is the problem.
Perlite and other hydroponic mediums for growing microgreens without soil
If you’re looking for a medium that doesn’t require any additional fertilizing or watering and will never need to be replaced, try using perlite.
Perlite is a white volcanic rock that has been heated and expanded to make it lighter than water. It’s used in hydroponics systems because of how porous it is.
This allows for great drainage and aeration when the medium is used in water-based gardening methods such as when growing microgreens without soil.
If you can find perlite in local stores, it’s also extremely affordable.
Many gardeners prefer to use perlite over other mediums because of how little they have to do to keep their microgreens happy and healthy.
However, one drawback is that it doesn’t hold water well so you might have to water your microgreens more often.
When you use perlite for growing microgreens without soil, you can expect:
lightweight and easy to handle medium that never needs replacing absorbs moisture well and is pH neutral will drain well and provide plenty of aeration
This makes it an excellent choice for beginners who want something a bit easier than just using soil.
Soilless potting mixes for growing microgreens
When it comes to growing microgreens without soil, one of the best options is using a soilless potting mix.
Why use a soilless potting mix?
Aeration and drainage are two important factors when choosing a medium for growing microgreens.
Potting mixes won’t retain water well and will drain much faster than soil, which helps keep your microgreens nice and healthy.
No need to worry about adding fertilizers or prepping the soil before planting either, because potting mixes will have nutrients already included.
This makes it an excellent choice for people who are looking for reuseable growing mediums that can be made at home.
Some people might think growing microgreens without soil can be difficult because of all the added chemicals used in potting mixes. However, you won’t have to worry about this when choosing a soilless potting mix.
Not only are there no chemicals to worry about, but many soilless potting mixes are organic which eliminates even more problems. And since they last a long time, you can make a single bag of potting mix last several seasons before it starts to break down.
Even better, soilless potting mixes are easy for beginners to use. They’re lightweight and can be reused over and over again, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to grow microgreens without soil.
What do you need to grow microgreens without soil?
Almost anyone can grow microgreens without soil using any of the mediums we just discussed. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need a few different items before getting started:
Select the equipment you need
-Your choice of growing medium.
-Trays or a container to grow your microgreens in. (The 1020 Trays are very popular among microgreen growers)
-seeds of your choice (although most herbs and leafy greens will work just fine)
What are some of the best tasting microgreens?
The best tasting microgreens are…
- pea shoots
- mustard greens
- crispy cucumber
- crispy kale
- spicy radish
How to grow microgreens without soil step by step
- Soak any medium in water overnight. Make sure it’s completely saturated.
- If you’re using eggshells or sea sponges, cut them into small pieces with scissors.
- Loosen the seeds from their casings by rubbing the seed between your fingers.
- Spread the seeds on top of your growing medium. Make sure they’re not too thick or too sparse. Use 1-2 tsp. for microgreens and 2-4 tbsp. for baby greens.
- Mist your seeds with water until they are slightly damp, but not soaking wet. You can use a spray bottle to evenly distribute the water.
- Cover with a small piece of plastic wrap to retain moisture, but be careful not to let it touch the seedlings. To vent excess humidity when needed, simply peel back enough of the plastic to allow water evaporation.
- If you’re growing indoors in low light without grow lights, keep your seeds in indirect sunlight when they sprout and move them out into direct sunlight as they reach the seedling stage.
- Once your seeds are big enough, you can expose them to more humidity by placing a tray of water underneath the growing medium. The roots will absorb water from the tray.
How to harvest your microgreens
Once your microgreens or baby greens are ready, harvest them by cutting near the soil line with scissors or a sharp knife.
Then wash your greens in water if needed, pat dry, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days in an airtight container.
So there you have it!
Easy ways to grow microgreens without soil that offer great results and minimal effort. You can find pre-made growing media options in most garden supply, hardware, box stores or a hydroponic store near you.
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