Grow Cheap Microgreens Using Hydroponics
Today’s post is from Chris Wimmer of Health Smart Living. Chris is an urban hydroponic hobbyist who uses hydroponics to maximize his 400 square foot yard and extend the short Chicago growing season.
Microgreens have become very popular recently due to the increased attention from the media and gourmet chefs around the world. However, most people who cook their own food find microgreens a little too expensive or just simply too difficult to find. If you have developed a taste for microgreens but find them too costly then you would be pleased to know that you can get cheap microgreens by simply growing them with the help of hydroponics.
What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are vegetables that are even younger and smaller than baby versions of popular vegetables such as baby lettuce, baby spinach, and baby corn. You can make microgreens out of virtually any vegetable. Common microgreens include spinach, chard, beets, and peas. Microgreens are grown for an extremely short period of time (about two weeks) before they are harvested.
What Are The Benefits Of Microgreens?
The big question though is why you would want microgreens in the first place. Here are just a few of the many benefits of using microgreens:
#1: Microgreens are perfect for garnishing. They can be used over salads, soups, sandwiches, and any number of other dishes because they offer unique color and textures.
#2: Microgreens can impart rare and subtle flavours to your dish.
#3: The final but perhaps the most important benefit of microgreens is that they are four to six times more nutritious than their larger counterparts. Gene Lester of the US Department of Agriculture led research at the University of Maryland. The researchers studied 25 different types of microgreens and found that they contained 400 to 600 percent more nutrients than normal full sized vegetables. Nutrients studied included beta carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Why Use Hydroponics To Grow Microgreens?
#1: Reduced cost (cheaper to grow than purchase)
Traditional growing techniques and long haul distribution of microgreens cause grocery stores to charge extremely high prices for just a few ounces of microgreens.
#2: Hydroponic systems can be extremely compact allowing them to be used indoors
A hydroponic microgreen system can yield a pound of greens in just a 2 by 2 foot area. This makes it much more realistic to create an indoor garden as it is easily hidden or integrated into your décor.
#3: Short growing cycle
The microgreen growing cycle (~ 2 weeks) allows you to sow your seeds, water them, and fertilizer your crop just once. At the end of the 2 weeks you are ready to harvest.
More about Hydroponics grow systems
While I’ve already shared how hydroponics and microgreens is a great paring, I also wanted to highlight a few additional benefits of using hydroponics throughout your garden. You will use up to 90 percent less water growing hydroponically than if you would use conventional farming techniques.
* Hydroponics allows you to grow in areas and seasons that are not suitable for your desired crop.
* Less or no pesticides are necessary as the plants do not have exposure to soil.
* Hydroponic plants only require about 25 percent of the nutrient compared to soil based plants because nothing is washed away.
* Hydroponic plants do not require weeding.
Thank you to PantryParatus for the opportunity to share my knowledge and love for hydroponics. I hope you’re interested and excited to take the next step to learn more AND plant a hydroponic microgreen farm. You can learn more at Health Smart Living or at Instructables.com.
Nothing in this blog constitutes medical or legal advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.
The Photos were provided by www.captainhydroponics.com and were used with permission. Please see that website for more information regarding photos.