Growing microgreens in an old shipping container is the perfect solution to farming here in Thailand during the rainy season (blogging is another 555).
The rains came early this year and I’ve lost countless days in the food forest to the sheer volume and persistence of the precipitation. We also have plenty of space in a 20 foot shipping container we originally had onsite while we were building, and has since only been used as a garage to safely store tools and general ‘stuff’ we may one day find a use for. I’ve had the idea of utilising some of the space to grow microgreens for a while. Now we have made a start on our vertical nano farm!
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are leaf and root crops grown from seed for 7 to 14 days before harvesting and consuming. Not to be confused with ‘sprouts’ that are grown and harvested before the leaves appear. Microgreen seeds are intensely planted on flats and are grown under ‘grow lights’ in our case but can be easily grown on a sunny window sill.
Cress is the most common of microgreens people know or recognise, having grown then in a school project or purchased from a supermarket.
Now days, successful microgreen farms are popping up and growing kale, radish, alfalfa, mustard, carrots and broccoli to name but a few of the popular microgreen crops.
Microgreens are the young seedlings of edible vegetables that have up to 40 times more nutrients then the adult plants.
Since they are harvested soon after germination, the seed contains everything the plant needs to grow. They are packed full of flavour, nutrition and depending what you decide to grow, an array of beautiful colours and textures.
Microgreens are great for fresh, healthy salads, sandwiches, smoothies and also used as garnish.
The entry level for growing your own healthy food is pretty low with microgreens. We invested in shelves and T8 grow lights but if you have a space by a window, you can still be up and away in no time at all.
The biggest hurdle for us to start growing was finding a reputable merchant to buy in organic microgreen seeds in bulk. This shouldn’t be a barrier if you live in the US, UK or Australia, a simple search online will provide the results you need. We couldn’t find a merchant anywhere local to buy organic microgreen seeds but we did find a supplier in Japan through an established microgreens farmer in Bangkok.
If you’re in Bangkok and want to get Microgreens delivered to your home or office, contact Dr. Sprouts & Microgreens. Tell them Thinglish Lifestyle sent ya!
Microgreens can be grown in water (hydroponics), soil or other medium. We have started to grow ours in soil as it’s inexpensive. Many professional growers use grow mats and water only to grow their microgreens. This would be ideal (less mess = less work) but again, locating grow mats at a reasonable price is proving to be a challenge.
Which-ever way we grow microgreens, with or without soil, there is next to no waste. What little there is goes on the compost pile so the chickens benefit from them too.
Initially we are exploring controlled – environment agriculture (CEA) for our own consumption and to supply our family restaurant Thinglish Kitchen. If there is a demand to grow to order for local restaurants and/or families we would be happy to scale up and increase production to supply ‘live’ trays or freshly cut punnets. Contact us here if you would like to buy our fresh microgreens.
Come rain or shine we will continue to grow our own ‘beyond organic’ healthy food free from herbicides, pesticides and GMO’s!
Are you growing microgreens? Let us know in the comments below.