Microgreens really come into their own during winter. While outdoor crops are limited to a select few and weather makes it more and more unattractive to get the rain jacket on and venture out to the garden, microgreens don’t care if you tend to them in your birthday suit. (In fact they'll probably love it!) Protected from the cold and bad weather, the microgreen season never ends.
That said, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when growing microgreens during winter to get the best results:
Temperature is probably the most important factor to keep in mind when growing microgreens during winter. If the surrounding temperature is too cold, your seeds won’t germinate well if at all. Keeping your germinating trays warm during the first few days is of key importance and is half the battle. Keep your trays in a room you would be happy to wear a t-shirt in and that doesn’t get too cold at night. Once your seeds have germinated and are starting to shoot up, temperature doesn’t play as important a role. It’s still advisable to keep them above 8 degrees Celsius at night to ensure growth isn’t impacted.
It’s no secret that the days are getting shorter. Seeing as microgreens spend at least a third of their lives in complete darkness, it’s not a major issue for these little mighty little greens. Reduced sunlight hours will result in slower development of your crops. Expect an additional day or two than in the longer sunny days of summer.
Use the blackout phase to stretch your microgreens a little more than you would in summer. This should shave some time off the growing time.
Place your microgreens in a sunny spot, ideally a south facing window. You can use something like our Elevation Station to maximise the space you have available for growing.
Unless you have grow lights or a heated greenhouse that maximises available sunlight, growing sun loving varieties like basil won’t give you good results during winter.
Opt for more robust varieties that don't mind a bit of a chill and lower light conditions.
Some of our favourite varieties for winter are:
During winter, your plant will not be as thirsty as in summer and there won’t be as much water loss from evaporation. Keep this in mind when watering to avoid water logging your microgreen roots. The simple but effective method of getting familiar with the weight of your trays when dry and when watered will help you judge when your greens need a drink. You can also try using our Ecompost which uses perlite to reduce the chances of watering.
I hope these tips help boost your crops during the colder months. If you have any questions or need some advice, we are always here to help and make sure you are getting the most from your microgreen farm!