Whether microgreens regrow after cutting is one of the most asked questions by microgreen farmers. It is understandable. Most people want to get the most out of every single planted batch of plants.
So, do microgreens regrow after cutting? Unfortunately, few microgreens regrow after harvesting. If gardeners harvest microgreens without cutting the lowest leaf, a chance exists that it can regrow. However, the regrowth is usually stunted and affects the taste of the microgreen.
But why is the regrowth probability of microgreens so slim? This article reveals the most significant factors that affect microgreen regrowth.
What Affects Microgreen Regrowth?
If you are a microgreen gardener, it is important to know what makes microgreens grow, what hinders their growth, and if they can regrow.
Photosynthesis and Cell Regeneration
Leaving the lowest leaf on microgreens when cutting them can facilitate photosynthesis, which prompts regrowth. Since the lower leaf is commonly situated in a cell regeneration section, which is mandatory for growth, it raises the chances of the plant’s survival.
But why is cutting the microgreen near the soil ineffective? See, the bottom parts of the system have fully developed and can only differentiate to the same type of cells. This makes it impossible to produce the leaves that you desire most.
Cut Healing and Defense
Cell regeneration is also tremendously important for the healing of the microgreen. God created plants with the ability to heal themselves, just like human beings. When they are injured in any way, they must produce a scarring tissue that prohibits infection.
It’s hard enough for a cut microgreen to regrow, let alone defend itself. When any plant is young, it’s extremely vulnerable to infections. Fungus can find its way to microgreens even when they are healthy, and the risk increases when they are cut. The open tissue makes it hassle-free for the fungus or other diseases to reach them.
Be careful not to water microgreens too much since fungus thrives even better in moist environments. Consider creating a sterile environment for microgreens when choosing the regrowing strategy.
The Types of Microgreens that Can be Regrown
Peas, beans, and kale are some microgreens that can regrow after being cut. Gardeners can also experiment with their favorite microgreens. When experimenting, make sure to use large pots because they provide better root structure, which subsequently improves the chances of regrowth.
So, Is Microgreen Regrowth Worth It?
Gardeners can try to regrow microgreens for the fun of experimentation. However, it won’t save money if that’s the goal. In fact, it’s rather labor-intensive and reduces the aspect of microgreens that we love most: taste. Moreover, for commercial purposes, it’s definitely a waste of time.
If gardeners regrow the plants and a generous 70% of the stems regrow, they will be getting stunted, mold-prevalent, nutrient-deficient microgreens instead of a new, successful, tasty batch of microgreens.
The worst part is: space and energy is being used that can be dedicated to growing new microgreens.
However, don’t shy away from trying. Gardeners who decide to try to regrow microgreens can use the companion planting method like the one displayed in the microgreen replanting video below. But if the replanting concept isn’t appealing, what should be done after microgreen harvesting?
How To Reuse The Soil After Harvesting Microgreens
Most people do not want to simply dispose of the soil from their last microgreens batch. It’s still packed with nutrients that can grow another batch!
However, growing another batch straight away is dangerous due to the possible microbes present in the soil. So, what can gardeners do the preserve the soil?
Here are the best ways to use the throw-away parts of microgreens plus the soil:
1. Turn It to Compost
God created everything with sustainability in mind. If you look around, you will notice that everything becomes something else and the chain continues to form an always productive universe. We can take advantage of this grand design even with the planting of microgreens.
24 How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.Psalm 104:24-25
After harvesting, put the remnants in a compost pile or worm bin. The worms and other microorganisms that facilitate decomposition will then help to fertilize the soil for the next batch.
The remaining microgreen stems and roots contain ample nutrients that will break down to form incredibly fertile soil. This process makes up a cost-efficient way of growing healthy microgreens. Even better, this leads to organic farming, hence sustaining the environment.
Check out how to make compost and even witness Urban Farmer Curtis Stone apply it in microgreen farming in the following video.
2. Use the Turnover Method
Another option is to turn the current soil over and plant new seeds. While the previous microgreens stems are decaying, they generate nutrients that’ll boost the growth of the new batch.
With the turnover method:
- Flip the soil over.
- Put the seeds on the current top surface.
- Sprinkle topsoil to cover the seeds.
- Follow the usual microgreen growing steps until the harvest.
Beware of mold when applying this process. Since the same soil is being used from a different angle, microbes will be retained unless something is done about it.
3 Tips for Growing Better Microgreens
While questions regarding the aftermath of harvesting are answered, let’s look at ways that healthier and tastier microgreens can be grown.
Here are some tips and tricks to grow better microgreens:
1. Drain Properly and Aerate
While it’s necessary to water microgreens, don’t overdo it. Most importantly, ensure that the microgreens have proper drainage.
Saturation of water around roots of microgreens leads to the deficiency of oxygen. This promotes the development of fungi and algae and can even lead to rotting of the microgreens.
Stay vigilant and use drainage materials like mesh to ensure proper drainage. Additionally, try using a moisture sensor meter to ensure the right moisture levels. Gardeners can also increase aeration using a fan. Forced aeration reduces the chances of mold development.
2. Avoid Seed Congestion
When the seeds are congested, fungal issues will likely occur. This is due to the heat and humidity stress that’s caused by the dense plant canopy.
The general rule of thumb is: the seeds should be close together but not overlapping each other.
You can use this Microgreen Seeding Density Calculator to help you get an idea of how much seed you should be using per tray.
3. Use the Best Equipment
Some microgreen growers disapprove of the purchase of certain equipment since they think that it’s too costly. However, by doing the math and scrutinizing labor costs, most would disagree with that mindset.
In order to produce healthy, tasty microgreens, we recommend investing in a few useful gadgets. Spend that saved energy on setting up more seedbeds, which will result in better microgreen harvests.
Regrowing microgreens may seem like the best option for benefitting from a single batch, but it truly is not — especially for those who grow commercially. Most don’t want to deal with all the issues that come with the regrowth process. Instead, practice all the ways that streamline microgreen production process without compromising quality.
While regrowing microgreens can be a fun experiment, it is not suitable or recommended for actual microgreen harvesting.