What’s in the kit?
6- 6x6x2” Growing Trays (1 extra for germination phase)
5 -Individual Seed Packets (All seeds are certified organic)
5 Diff Crops (Listed below with time to harvest)
Triton Radish 8-11 days
Broccoli 8-11 days
Mellow Mix 9-12 days (Broccoli Raab, Purple Kholarabi, Crimson Clover)
Speckled Pea 9-12 days
Red Russian Kale 11-13 days
1 Bag-Growing Medium (soil)
15 cups of Black Gold Just Coir (certified organic coco coir).
Instructions: These instructions can be modified or adjusted to suit your needs or preferences. When it comes to growing, there is always more than one way! These guidelines however, will give you the best chance of success if you would like a little assistance.
Preparing the Growing Medium
Before you fill your trays, it is important to wet the growing medium first. You will need a clean large container - a large mixing bowl, a plastic container, or a bucket works well; whatever you have is fine. If you do not have a large enough container, do as much as you can with whatever size container you have, and repeat with the remainder.
Step 1: If you are only growing 1 or 2 seed packets to start, measure out the amount of growing medium for the number of trays you will be growing (approximately 3 cups per tray). If you do not have a measuring cup, use the tray as a measuring cup and fill it to approximately 1/2 in. below the top of the tray, then dump into your large container. If you are growing all 5 crops at once, simply empty the entire bag of growing medium into your large container.
Step 2: With your growing medium in your large container, slowly stir in some water so that the growing medium is moist throughout; but not saturated. Now you are ready to fill the trays.
Filling The Trays with the Growing Medium
Step 1: Arrange the growing trays on a flat surface; a table or counter works great.
Step 2: Fill your trays with the growing medium. Spread the soil as evenly as possible throughout the tray.
Step 3: You will want a fairly firm and level soil surface on which to spread the seeds. Press it down firmly; but not completely compacted. Use the extra tray to tamp down the soil, applying pressure with your fingers evenly throughout the tray. You may have to pay extra attention to the edges, as the tapered nature of the tray does not quite cover the entire surface area. Remove the extra tray and set it aside for use during the final step, and additional trays.
Sowing the Seeds
NOTE ABOUT PEAS: If growing pea microgreens (better known as pea shoots), it is common practice to soak them for 3-12 hours before sowing (placing them in the soil). This is not imperative, but can increase germination rate. Germination is when the seeds sprout. The germination rate is not how fast they germinate, but rather the percentage of the sowed seed that actually germinates. To soak them, simply pour them into a container and add water until the water level is 2-3 times more than the amount of volume that the peas take up in the container. Leave them uncovered for 3-12 hours. Once the peas absorb most of the water, they are ready to sow. They will still germinate if un-soaked, but likely at a slightly lower rate.
Step 1: Take the seed packet (or your bowl of freshly soaked pea seeds) and distributing them as evenly as possible, gently sprinkle them onto the soil surface. If you wind up with clumps of seeds, use your hand to gently even them out; but be careful not to disturb the soil too much and wind up burying them as you spread (this is where the hard surface is a benefit).
Step 2: Once the seeds are evenly distributed, use the extra tray to tamp down the seeds. Remove the extra tray and set it aside for use during the final step, and for sowing additional trays.
*Watering Tip: To avoid a messy counter, water over the sink, or place the growing trays on a towel, or in a shallow container to catch any run-off water. Be very careful to not water too much, too fast. This will sort of drown the seeds, which could result in them sort of pooling around in the tray and clumping in one area. This will result in poor germination and a low yield. If they do happen to pool up and clump together in one area, it is easily fixable; just spread them as evenly as possible after watering.
Step 1: The best method to avoid pooling/clumping is to use a gentle spray or mist from a sink sprayer or a hose. Any type of hand or pump sprayer or spray bottle will also work. Water your seeds as gently as possible, ensuring the entire surface area is covered, and that it soaks down into the growing medium. If you do not have access to any of these, you can simply fill the tray with water. This method can increase the chance of pooling/clumping, but to avoid this, be sure to use a very slow stream of water, and if necessary, pause periodically to let the water absorb in one area before adding more. Ideally you want to slow or halt the flow before it starts to pool up and move the seeds around. If this does happen, just stop pouring until it is absorbed.
Step 2: Once your tray is watered, use the extra tray and tamp it down just as you did before you watered. Leave the extra tray on top until your seeds germinate. An optional but not imperative step that can help improve the rate and time of germination is to place an object with some weight inside the extra tray. A mug works great or something else that fits in the tray and is of approximately similar weight. The stems should push up the tray with the weight with no problem. If growing more than one tray at a time, trays can simply be stacked and the extra tray goes on top. To make it easier to unstack them as they germinate, be sure to stack them in this order:
Step 3: To encourage germination, place your tray in a dark (not completely), room temperature area until it germinates. Humidity control is not imperative, but if the room is exceptionally dry, the soil will dry out faster; in that case just be sure to check it often and keep it watered. It should be consistently wet, but not overly saturated.
Moving from Germination to Growing
Step 1: Checking daily, as soon as the majority of the tray has started to sprout with yellow leaves and stems, remove the extra top tray and place the growing tray in a sunny window to finish growing (south facing will give you the most sun, but any window that gets at least 3-4 hours of sun should be fine).
Step 2: If you have stacked the trays, and the longer harvest day trays are still germinating, replace the extra tray on top of the remaining stack. If all your trays are ready, move them all to the growing spot and disregard this step.
Keeping your Tray Watered
To keep your tray watered after germination, you will want to water when the very top layer of soil starts to dry out. It is also important to switch to watering from the bottom after gemination. This ensures that the water gets right to the roots, and does not allow excess water to sit on the soil surface at the base of the stems, which can increase the chance of mold growth. To water from the bottom, simply place the tray in a shallow container and add water to the container until the soil is soaked through. Remember,, be sure not to add too much too fast.
Your microgreens can be harvested when the first leaves (cotyledons or baby leaves) are fully formed (see pictures for reference); approximately 7-12 days from when you sowed the seeds depending on crop type. You can also allow the first true leaves to start to form if you like, but it will take an extra 2-3 days.
To harvest, simply cut the stems close to the soil line; not too close to avoid picking up soil with your harvest; and try not to pull otherwise you’ll wind up with attached roots. For easier harvesting, you can pop out the soil block, which will be held together by the roots, for a little easier access to cut the stems. If you want to harvest a portion, you can just put the soil block back in the tray and place it in the fridge, or let it keep growing.
Generally, the best storage method is to refrigerate as close to 32 degrees F and 99% humidity in a closed, but unsealed plastic bag or container with a small piece of paper towel on the bottom or side of the bag. However, if your fridge is on the drier side, sealing the bag might be better to keep in the humidity. They should last at least 5-7 days if stored properly.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and share your growing journey. Warm Wishes, Chris and Kirsten at Pro Brothers Farm