Best Growing Medium for Microgreens

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Best growing medium for microgreens

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If you’re looking to start growing microgreens, then you’ll need to choose the right growing medium. There are many different options available, but not all of them are equally good for growing microgreens.

In this blog post, we will discuss the best growing mediums for microgreens and why they work well. We will also provide some tips on how to grow microgreens using each of these mediums!

Soil is the most common growing medium for microgreens, and it’s no surprise why. Soil is cheap and easy to find, and it provides a good balance of nutrients for growing microgreens.

However, not all soils are created equal. You’ll want to use soil that is rich in organic matter and has a good pH balance. If you’re not sure which soil to use, ask your local garden center for advice.

Another popular growing medium for microgreens is coco coir. Coco coir is made from the husks of coconut shells, and it has many benefits for growing plants. It is a great substitute for peat moss, which is becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Coco coir is also a good source of nutrients for plants, and it has a neutral pH balance. It is important to note that coco coir can be more expensive than soil, but it is worth the investment if you want to grow healthy microgreens.

Rockwool is another popular growing medium for microgreens. Rockwool is made from spun rock, and it has a number of benefits for plants. It is a sterile growing medium, so it is free of pests and diseases. It also holds moisture well, which makes it a good choice for hydroponic growers. However, Rockwool can be expensive and difficult to find.

Growing Medium for Microgreens
Growing Medium for Microgreens

There are many other options available for growing microgreens, including perlite, vermiculite, and sand. Each of these mediums has its own benefits and drawbacks, so you will need to decide which one is best for your needs.

Experiment with a few different mediums to see which ones work best for you. And remember, the best growing medium for microgreens is the one that works best for you! In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of these growing mediums.

Organic Potting Soil

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Soil is the most common base for microgreen seeds of any size. Don’t use just any soil. You want organic potting soil. This type of soil offers nutrients, which means your seeds will grow strong with no need for additional fertilizer.

The other important benefit of organic potting soil is that it’s very sterile. For indoor plants, like microgreens, you want to eliminate pests in the soil that can harm the seedlings or get into your home.

For those who have homemade compost, you can mix some with standard soil if it’s more convenient than store-bought soil. You must take the time to sterilize the soil first before planting your seeds.

Fortunately, the process is quite simple: preheat the oven to 180-degrees Fahrenheit (82-degrees Celsius) and pop a tray of soil into the oven, and let it bake for 30 minutes to kill off any pests.

While an excellent growing medium, the soil is messy, especially when working with it indoors.

100% Natural Coconut Coir

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Coir is the fiber found between the outside of a coconut and the seed inside.

Coir is a top choice for growing microgreens for its amazing ability to hold water, yet not retain so much that it kills tender plants.

The material is also very affordable, lightweight, and expands quite a bit when in water, so a little goes a long way.

Coconut coir comes in blocks that are dehydrated and compressed, so it’s simple to store until you start a new tray of microgreens or sprouts. You can also buy coir in thin, easy-to-handle sheets, which you roll out and trim to the size of your growing tray.

Coconut coir has many benefits, like a fine texture, which allows proper aeration and room for seeds to grow. Water distributes evenly through the fibers, so every seed has exposure.

While coir has a near-neutral pH balance, it doesn’t provide many natural nutrients for your microgreens. Many growers use fertilizer in the water they add to their growing trays when using coconut coir as a growing medium.

Hydroponic Growing Mats

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Grow pads are either made of mostly synthetic fiber or are 100-percent natural fiber. Natural fibers like hemp, coconut, jute, and wood are common.

Hydroponic mats are sterile, so there is less concern about fungal growth or a bug infestation that could happen from using soil.

The pads absorb and hold water around the seeds/roots of the microgreen plants, so you don’t have to monitor them constantly. The pads are easy to store, use, and dispose of after harvest.

Hydroponic mats also grow microgreens more cleanly. Soils and coconut coir are grainy, and some of those particles can end up in your microgreens even after a wash. Grow mats avoid this issue, because the mats either disintegrate or cut cleanly away from the plant.

The disadvantage of growing mats is that you’ll need to add fertilizer to your water, as they hold little to no nutrient value.

Some of the materials inside growing mats fail to properly regulate moisture levels around the plant roots, which can weaken or kill seedlings.

Woven Hemp Mats

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Woven hemp mats are made of hemp fiber and look similar to a thick, airy piece of felt. Hemp has extreme moisture-retention benefits, which makes this a favorite fiber for growing microgreens, as it reduces the time spent on watering. With hemp mats, you avoid having to deal with messy soil.

Hemp mats are free of pests, and it’s great for the environment since you can compost them when your microgreen batch is complete. Hemp fibers break down in about two weeks when wet, which makes perfect timing for most microgreen crops.

Woven hemp mats absorb water and pull it evenly to all sections of the growing tray. This feature helps the seeds quickly germinate and keeps all the seedlings growing strong. The woven material also provides excellent aeration to encourage healthy root development.

The downside to hemp mats is that the material can rip when wet, which can make moving the mature microgreen crop out from the growing tray difficult. These mats may also require fertilizer in the water to increase nutrient levels.

Vermiculite

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Vermiculite is a naturally sterile and mold-resistant soil additive that many people use as-is for growing microgreens. Vermiculite is a mineral that is ideal as a growing medium due to its neutral pH.

Vermiculite provides a nice balance of aeration and water to delicate microgreen roots, which increases yield. Better yet, vermiculite provides nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and other trace minerals to the growing plants.

Vermiculite is lightweight, easy to store, and affordable. These features make it a convenient growing medium if you plan to make batches of microgreens often. The composition of the vermiculite makes it a better growing medium for larger seeds like peas or beans.

On the downside, vermiculite on its own can appear dry on top, yet be quite damp underneath. This tendency can lead to roots that rot out if you keep adding water to the tray without checking the moisture level near the bottom.

Using vermiculite can require a bit of trial and error to get the most from your microgreen crops.

List of Growing Medium for Microgreens with Pro and Cons:

Potting Soil
Reusable: Not for more microgreens, but can be a great addition to compost
Sterile: No
Water Retention: Good 
Needs Added Nutrients: No
Cost: $$
Soilless Mix / Sterilized SoilReusable: Yes
Sterile: Yes 
Water Retention: Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $$
Coconut Coir Mats & FiberReusable: Yes
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Very Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $
BurlapReusable: Yes
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Very Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $
Jute PadsReusable: Yes
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $$
Peat MossReusable: Yes
Sterile: Depends on the brand
Water Retention: Very Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $$ to $$$$ depending on where you buy it from.
Hemp MatsReusable: Yes, but they’re difficult to clean
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Very Good
Needs Added Nutrients: No
Cost: $$
BiostrateReusable: Yes, but cleaning can be a tedious process
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Very Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $
Micro MatsAKA Confetti mats or cellulose matsReusable: No
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Very Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $$
Downside: Fragile when wet
PerliteReusable: Yes
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $
VermiculiteReusable: Yes
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Good (more water retention than perlite, and less than coco coir)
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $
RockwoolReusable: Yes
Sterile: Yes
Water Retention: Good
Needs Added Nutrients: Yes
Cost: $$
List of Growing Mediums

What Are the Top 5 Microgreens?

  1. Sunflower Microgreens. Sunflower microgreens are the most popular microgreens in the market. 
  2. Microgreens Pea. Microgreens pea is the second most popular, right after sunflower microgreens. 
  3. Radish Microgreens. 
  4. Broccoli Microgreens. 
  5. Crest Microgreens.

Top 6 Healthiest Microgreens

  • Broccoli. At 550% of daily value cumulative nutrients, broccoli is the king of nutrients. 
  • Kale. Kale is one of the trendiest vegetable on the market for a good reason. 
  • Peas. 
  • Radish. 
  • Amaranth. 
  • Arugula.

FAQ

What is the best soil for microgreens?

The best potting soil for microgreens is roughly 80% organic material (peat moss, coconut coir, sterilized compost), mixed with 20% perlite soil. Soil is the tried and tested way of growing microgreens. Any organic potting soil will work best.

What should I grow my microgreens in?

Microgreens are very easy to grow. You can grow them in the ground, in a raised garden bed, or in a container outdoors or inside on a sunny windowsill. If you’re planting microgreens in a garden bed, loosen the soil and rake it smooth. Scatter your seed mix so that the seeds are about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch apart

Is Coco coir good for microgreens?

Coconut coir can be used as a stand-alone medium or mixed in with other mediums such as soil or perlite. Some of the great things about using coconut coir for growing microgreens are: It’s 100% organic – It’s really earth-friendly as it’s a completely natural and renewable resource.

Soil can hold too much water, causing the roots of the seedlings to be unhealthy. … Coconut coir for microgreens will keep the seeds damp, yet allow for excellent air circulation, preventing rot. It also makes for a cleaner harvest, not clinging to the seedlings in the same way that soil does.

Can you reuse microgreen soil?

Yes, of course, you can reuse the soil for the next round of planting. But, the remaining root and stem structures have to be broken down first before you can use them. … Compost the microgreens that remain in here, and reuse them later!

Should you fertilize microgreens?

Nutrient solution: Microgreens can germinate without any fertilizer application. However, providing mineral nutrients to microgreens will increase yields. Providing 75 to 150 ppm N from a complete, balanced, water-soluble fertilizer will enhance growth, though the concentration to use depends on your production system.

Are microgreens anti-inflammatory?

Microgreens and vegetable intake, in general, is shown to reduce inflammation markers as well as lower the risk of several types of cancer. They’re also linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Are Kale microgreens good for you?

several health benefits, and at the same time, low in calories. As microgreens, they hold four times the nutrient levels than the full-grown version!

Quick Recommendation:

Conclusion 

So, what is the best growing medium for microgreens? The answer to that question really depends on your specific situation. If you have access to a sunny spot in your yard, soil may be the best option for you.

However, if you don’t have outdoor space or live in an area with colder winters, using a hydroponic system may be the better choice. No matter which growing method you choose, make sure to use fresh, quality seeds and keep an eye on moisture levels and pH levels to ensure healthy plants. 

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