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What Does "Grow Time" Mean in Microgreen Farming?

April 28, 2024
Written by Garrett Corwin
What Does "Grow Time" Mean in Microgreen Farming?

Introduction

Stepping into the world of microgreen farming can be both exciting and a tad overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding the lingo. One term that often causes confusion for beginners is “grow time.” Professionals toss this term around to refer to the total time it takes to grow a crop from planting to harvest, but what does that really include? Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of microgreen grow time, breaking down all the possible steps to give you a crystal-clear picture.

Understanding “Grow Time” in Microgreen Farming

“Grow time” refers to the total duration required to grow a microgreen crop, from the moment seeds are sown until the greens are ready to be harvested. This total time includes several distinct phases, some of which may or may not apply to every crop. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Preparation: This initial step involves selecting the right seeds and preparing your growing medium and trays. Although not directly part of grow time, it’s crucial for success.
  2. Sowing the Seeds: The grow time clock starts ticking the moment you sow your seeds into the growing medium.
  3. Weighted Germination: Many microgreens benefit from a period of weighted germination, where a weight is placed over the seeds to encourage even germination and root penetration. This phase usually lasts for 2-3 days.
  4. Humidity Dome Phase: Some seeds require a humidity dome to maintain moisture levels during the early stages of germination. The duration under the dome varies by crop.
  5. Blackout Period: After germination, many microgreens go through a blackout period to stretch the stems. Not all crops require this step, but for those that do, it can last several days.
  6. Exposure to Light: Once the blackout period is over, microgreens need light to start photosynthesis and develop their color and flavor. This is when they truly start to look like the greens you’re excited to harvest.
  7. Harvesting: The final step in the grow time is, of course, the harvest. This is when your microgreens are ready to be cut, packed, and enjoyed.

Total Grow Time

The total grow time is the sum of all these phases. It can vary widely from one crop to another – some are ready in as little as 7 days, while others might take up to 21 days or more. Understanding that grow time includes all these steps – not just the time in light or under a dome – is crucial for planning your planting schedule and managing expectations.

Conclusion

Grow time in microgreen farming is more than just a countdown; it’s a comprehensive process that includes everything from sowing your seeds to harvesting your crops. By understanding each phase of the process, beginner farmers can better plan their growing schedules, ensuring a successful harvest. Remember, every microgreen is unique, and getting to know the specific needs and grow times of your chosen crops is part of the fun and challenge of microgreen farming.

Ready to get your hands dirty and your greens growing? Armed with a clear understanding of what grow time really means, you’re all set to dive into the rewarding world of microgreen farming. Happy growing!

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