Stacked trays of microgreens

Stacking microgreens Trays – Is it Necessary?

Stacking microgreens is a technique that can significantly enhance the growth and quality of your microgreen crops. By understanding the benefits and proper methods of stacking trays, you can achieve even sprouting, stronger stems, and a healthier yield. Whether you’re a home gardener or a commercial grower, mastering this practice is essential.

In this article, we will explore the necessity of stacking microgreen trays, provide step-by-step instructions, and offer tips for optimizing your microgreen growing process. Let’s dive into the world of stacking microgreens and unlock their full potential.

Buy firstly,  What does stacking microgreens mean?

Stacking microgreens refers to the practice of placing multiple trays of seeded microgreens on top of each other during the initial germination phase. This method applies even pressure and simulates the natural growing conditions found in soil, promoting better and more uniform growth.

Why stack trays for germination?

Stacking trays for germination is essential for several reasons. First, it encourages even sprouting and growth by applying uniform pressure across the seeds, ensuring they germinate at the same rate. This method also helps seeds shed their coat more effectively, resulting in a cleaner final product with fewer deformed leaves.

Additionally, the added pressure strengthens the stems as they grow, making the microgreens more robust and less likely to fall over once they reach maturity. This practice not only enhances the overall quality of the microgreens but also optimizes space and resources in the growing area.

 

How to Stack Trays of Microgreens

To stack trays of microgreens effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare Trays with Holes and Media: Start by filling shallow trays with holes using your preferred growing media, such as soil or coco coir. Ensure the media is evenly spread and lightly pressed.
  2. Moisten Growing Media: Thoroughly moisten the media until it reaches the dampness of a lightly wrung-out sponge.
  3. Evenly Spread Seeds and Mist: Evenly distribute the seeds across the surface of the media. After spreading, mist the seeds with water to ensure they are well-hydrated.
  4. Stack Trays and Add Weight: Place each filled tray on top of another, ensuring the tray without holes is on the bottom. Add an empty tray on top of the stack and place a weight of about 5-10 pounds to apply pressure.
  5. Maintain Moisture Levels: Check the moisture level of the trays daily, misting lightly if needed to keep the growing media adequately moist.

 

How Long Do You Keep Microgreen Trays Stacked?

The duration for keeping microgreen trays stacked varies based on the seed type. Generally, trays should be stacked for 3 to 4 days, depending on the specific microgreens being grown.

As a guideline, keep trays stacked until the majority of seeds have sprouted and the plants are between ¼ and ½ inch tall. After this period, you may use a blackout dome to help the plants reach an easily harvestable stem height. Monitoring the growth and adjusting the stacking duration based on the microgreens’ progress ensures optimal results.

 

How Many Microgreen Trays Can You Stack?

The number of microgreen trays you can stack typically depends on the space available and the strength of the trays. Generally, stacking 3 to 5 trays is common practice to ensure even pressure and optimal growth conditions.

Ensure that the trays are sturdy enough to handle the weight without collapsing, and always monitor the moisture levels to prevent drying out.

 

Should You Sterilize Your Seeds Before Planting?

Sterilizing your seeds before planting can offer several benefits, primarily reducing the risk of mold and disease. One effective method for sterilization is using a hydrogen peroxide (h2o2) solution. To sterilize, mist the seeds and growing media with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.

This helps eliminate any pathogens that might be present on the seed coat or in the soil. For larger batches, you can mix your own 3% solution by diluting a 34% food-grade hydrogen peroxide solution at a ratio of 10 parts water to one part concentrate. Sterilizing your seeds can lead to healthier, more robust microgreens.

 

Should All Microgreen Seeds Be Stacked for Germination?

Not all microgreen seeds should be stacked for germination. Seeds that are too sticky or mucilaginous, such as basil, chia, and flax, tend to clump together when stacked, leading to poor germination rates.

Additionally, some seeds require light to germinate and should not be stacked. Examples include lettuce, carrots, and certain types of herbs. These seeds benefit from exposure to light right from the start. Understanding the specific needs of each seed type is crucial for successful germination and growth, ensuring optimal results for your microgreen crops.

 

What to Use as a Weight?

When stacking microgreen trays, it’s essential to use the right type of weight to apply even pressure. Suitable weights include bricks, paving stones, or jars filled with sand. For smaller trays, lighter weights such as books or small bags of sand can be effective.

The weight should be evenly distributed across the top tray to ensure uniform pressure on the seeds below, promoting even germination and growth.

 

How Much Weight to Use?

The amount of weight used when stacking microgreen trays should be appropriate for the size of the trays. Generally, using 5 to 10 pounds of weight per stack is recommended. For smaller trays, 2-3 pounds may suffice.

Ensure the weight is evenly distributed to apply consistent pressure across all the trays, promoting uniform seed germination and robust growth. Adjust the weight based on the specific requirements of your microgreen setup to achieve optimal results.

Be Careful of Thin-Stemmed Microgreens

When using the stacking method, it’s important to be cautious with thin-stemmed microgreens. Varieties such as amaranth and some mustards are delicate and can be damaged by excessive weight.

These microgreens require less pressure to avoid crushing the stems and hindering growth. Monitor the trays closely and adjust the weight or stacking duration as needed to ensure these delicate plants thrive.