The thought of a farm invites images of vast acres of land covered with a wide variety of plants. However, the nice thing about growing microgreens is that it lives up to its name “Micro” and can take up very little space. Another nice benny is that it can be done indoors. Here at the Triple J&R MicroFarm, we do all of our growing in a six foot by 4-foot space along one wall of my living room.
Now you might be wondering why someone, or anyone for that matter, would want to take up valuable space in their living room to grow, basically a small farm.
Well, a little back ground may be in order. When you retire before your normal activity level decreases, you get bored with nothing to do, so you think of little projects to inject purpose in your life. I have always enjoyed growing a garden for the vegetables that I like to eat. But let me tell you a little secret, I have a brown thumb. Everything I try to grow turns brown before it is ready to eat. Then one day I was looking at the internet and discovered Microgreens that you can eat in a matter of weeks instead of months. I was hooked. What a great idea to try. Now I have two young nieces and a young nephew and I thought maybe they would be interested in trying to grow microgreens with me. Now they were hooked as well. I live in a small cabin on my brother’s property and the kids live right next door. Convenient, huh?
I bought the stuff to get started and the kids took over. I need to make this clear, though as they are the owners and I am just there to help. It is a great opportunity for them to learn about farming, business and working with the public. We attend the local Farmer’s Market and the kids do all the talking. This is their business and it shows in the pride they exhibit at the Farmer’s Market.
I volunteered to host the farm in my living room. It is a small endeavor. It currently consists of a 30 X 30 X 72” PVC rack with four shelves and a smaller 30 x 30 x 60 rack with four shelves.
I must confess we have changed the way we do microgreen growing since we first started back in August. We started out doing an organic grow using Coco pads and water in large green dough pans.
After trial and error, internet searching and learning about microgreens growing, we switched to the way we do things now.
We still use the original racks, but we have added some new racks and switched to a different set of trays and other accessories.
We now use smaller 10 x 20 growing trays with food grade screens instead of Coco pads. We cut the screens into individual pads for the market instead of packaging them in bags.
We have added a bubbler system to help provide air and moisture to the environment. We also added a mild nutrient solution to help the microgreens grow faster.
I have built an additional wash rack that doubles as a seeding rack to hold the trays as we put the screens and seeds into them.
Bubbler tray (bottom) and seed Tray (top)
The tray system consists of a bottom tray to hold the bubbler and nutrient solution and a top tray to hold the screens with the seeds.
The bubbler in constructed of 1” PVC with the connectors shoved on each end for easy separation during the sterilizing process.
Small holes are drilled into the long tubes to allow the air to bubble into the nutrient solution. In one of the small end tubes a connector has been inserted to allow an air hose to be connected providing the air flow needed.
During the blackout period a dome is used to cover the tray and keep the seedlings in the dark.
Check out some of our other topics that describe more about the MicroFarm setup and how we do things, as they become available.
Thanks, and Happy Growing!