Microgreens are popular plants among new and experienced gardeners because they are easy to grow. However, although microgreens are simple plants, they need much more than the bare minimum of care to be healthy. One thing that gardeners should keep in mind while growing microgreens is how much water they should receive.
How frequently should microgreens be watered? How often microgreens need to be watered depends on the method used to grow them. They can be grown in soil or through the hydroponic method. However, a good rule of thumb is to water them every one to two days or when the dirt or growing pad starts to feel dry.
Regardless of the method used to grow microgreens, knowing when it is time to water them and how much water to give them is essential in order to raise and harvest healthy plants.
Gardeners should keep an eye on how often microgreens are being watered starting with the beginning of the planting process. In most cases, it is necessary to pre-water the soil or growing pad before planting the seeds.
The amount of water needed for the media, as well as for the seeds after they have been placed, will depend on whether the microgreens are grown with the soil-based method or hydroponic method.
First and foremost, use a shallow container with drainage holes for microgreens. This will allow excess water to drain from the bottom and prevent the plants from becoming waterlogged. The soil chosen for the microgreens will also affect how the water is held. Microgreens grow best in a soilless mix of organic potting soil.
To plant microgreens in soil, follow these steps:
- Add about an inch or two of soil to the microgreen container.
- Water the soil until it is damp. Make sure it is moist but not soggy.
- Evenly sprinkle the seeds over the surface of the soil. Make sure they are close together but not clumped together.
- Gently press the seeds into the soil with a hand, but do not completely bury them underneath the soil.
- Water the seeds. Note: Just mist a light amount of water over them because the soil has already been dampened.
The hydroponic method for growing microgreens relies heavily on the growing pad absorbing and retaining enough water to keep germinated seeds and greens moist at all times. For that reason, unlike soil-based microgreens, gardeners recommend using a container without holes to keep the growing pad moist.
Rather than choosing soil, another option is to choose from several growing pad types on which the microgreens can rest, including wood fiber, biostrate, coco (coir) and hemp. Some of these pads are even made with recycled paper.
After choosing a growing pad, do the following:
- Fill the container with water.
- Cut the growing pad to fit the bottom of the planter and place it inside.
- Move the padding around the bottom in the water so that it becomes fully saturated.
- Flip the pad over to dampen the other side, as well.
- Spread the microgreen seeds evenly across the surface of the pad.
- Mist the surface of the seeds lightly, being careful not to accidentally move the seeds too close together.
Keep reading until the end for bonus tips and products to make watering your microgreens super easy!
Watering During the Germination Period
Once microgreen seeds are planted, cover the top of the container with a dark dishtowel or lid spritzed with water to block out light. For both methods of growing, microgreens require a warm, humid environment in order to germinate, so consistent watering is critical during this time.
Keep the microgreens in this warm, dark setting for three to four days, or until the seeds have germinated (Some microgreen varieties may take longer to germinate). During this period, make sure to mist the seeds and the towel or lid every 12 hours.
After germination, remove the towel or lid from the microgreens and place them under direct or indirect sunlight or artificial growing light. They should be receiving light between five to eight hours a day.
Microgreens & Routine Watering
Continue watering the microgreens regularly after they have been moved to grow under direct light. At this point, it is recommended to water the microgreens every one to two days or anytime the soil or growing pad begins to dry. Another sign that microgreens need water is when the green or early cotyledons (leaves) begin to droop.
Make sure not to overwater the microgreens. As previously mentioned, the key is to make sure the plant media is moist but not completely soaked with water.
Watering from the Bottom
Soil-based microgreens grow best when they are “watered from the bottom” rather from the top. This will help keep the stems and leaves dry and reduce the chance of mold and disease. The bottom-watering method is a bit different between the soil-based and hydroponic-based growing methods.
To water from the bottom of the tray, place the microgreen planter inside of a second container or a sink. Fill the second container or sink with about an inch of water, allowing the original microgreen container to sit in it for a few minutes.
The soil will draw in water through the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. Do not leave the tray in the water for longer than a few minutes because it can result in an oversaturation of the soil and could lead to the development of mold or disease.
If watering from the bottom of the container is not feasible and it is necessary to access the soil from the top, make sure to water around the growing microgreens rather than directly over them. This will prevent early cotyledon damage as well as pooling on the soil surface.
For hydroponic growing microgreens, make sure that the areas between the growing pad and edges of the container regularly receive water when the pad begins to feel dry. Avoid pouring water directly over the growing pad because this can dislodge some of the seeds.
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.Hebrews 10:22
Tips for Watering Microgreens
The following are some final tips to keep in mind when watering microgreens:
- Mold usually develops if the soil either does not have enough drainage or too much moisture is present. If mold begins to develop in the soil, double-check how often the microgreens are being watered. In addition, make sure the dirt has enough airflow through its drainage holes. Discard any microgreens that continue to be the source of mold so it doesn’t spread to neighboring microgreens.
- Microgreens can develop other diseases if too much water is present, as well. Keep an eye on how much water is provided to the plant media. Only enough water to keep it damp, not soggy, is ideal.
- The ideal pH of the water used to water these plants should be 6.0. To maintain this pH before watering, add two teaspoons of lemon juice for every gallon of water.
- Some seeds benefit from being soaked in water prior to planting to increase the chances of germination. This is more common among larger seeds, such as beets, cilantro, and sunflowers.
Jump over to our True Leaf Market products page and check out some great products to make watering your microgreens super easy! They have a great pump sprayer, watering trays, kits for soil and hydroponic growing, and much much more on their website!
Microgreens are easy to cultivate and care for as long as gardeners remain aware of their needs. When it comes to watering, it is best to water when the soil or growing pad is starting to dry. If microgreens have access to moisture at all times, they will thrive!