What is important when growing Microgreens?
The most common method of growing microgreens uses common nursery flats, typically referred to as “2010” trays (the trays typically measure 20” x 10”). Soil is added to the flats and they are then seeded, watered, and covered. Once the microgreens have germinated, they are monitored daily and when they attain a certain height, they are uncovered and placed either in a greenhouse to receive sunlight or put under “grow lights. Grow Lights afford a much more consistent product since weather can drastically change the amount of sunlight that reaches the plants in a greenhouse.. After a few days under lights the microgreens are ready for harvest.
There are a couple problems associated with growing microgreens in 2010 trays that people may be unaware of. The most troubling problem is the material that trays are manufactured from…. They are often made from very inexpensive plastic. The worst of these trays contain bpa, lead, and other nasty chemicals which can leach into the microgreens. The second issue is the soil growing medium. Since chefs don’t want soil in their kitchens, the microgreens need to be cut and packaged. Since microgreens are extremely delicate, handling them can cause bruising, which reduces the appeal and longevity. Lastly, 2010 trays have a very short life and are therefore not a very sustainable option. the typical 2010 tray can only be used about 5 times before they start to fall apart. They are then discarded and become part of the massive waste stream of plastic garbage.
N.R.G. uses a much different approach. We grow all our microgreens in heavy duty N.S.F. certified (100% food safe) flats and use a bio-inert growing medium for the growing substrate. Our N.S.F. flats are expensive compared to 2010 trays however they will last indefinitely and won’t end up in a landfill or ocean.