An introduction to microgreens and seed sprouting, Part 2.
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Well, as I mentioned last time, I’ve bought a small sprouter for, er, sprouts, and now I’ve got a much larger propagator for growing micro greens. It’s the Sankey Growarm 300. Originally I’d planned to pay £29.99 for one (plus £7 p&p), but with the month-end bills looming, meaning cash is short, I searched Google rather more assiduously, and found it here for £19.99 (same p&p). The tenner saved will buy me a bag of Vermiculite as a growing medium (or seed compost - I’m still undecided and I’ll probably go with a mix of both). I’m still trying to find an online source of vermiculite, too - or, at least, one where the postage costs doesn’t exceed the cost of the product. No joy yet. While I’m waiting, it’s possible to grow some seeds on damp tissue - shades of school-days - so I can get production underway without delay.
The propagator is 52cm x 42 x 25 high, and is designed to maintain a temperature of 21-26 Celsius ( a tad under 80 degrees max in old money). Of course, that depends on the ambient temperature and, being indoors, the heater is unlikely to be used once the seeds have germinated, unless we have a very hard winter. The heating element is moulded into the base, so is kept well away from any moisture. The investment in a cheap, segmented (not digital), timer switch will enable effective, if crude, temperature control, should I need heat for a long period.
The propagator comes with two 22cm and one 38cm seed trays and a handful of small plant-pots, which adds to its versatility. Using the trays will enable me to grow alfalfa and, say, hemp in the large tray, while growing two more flavoursome plants, like mustard and broccoli, in the two smaller ones.
I’m seriously considering using the heated propagator just to germinate seeds, then transferring the plants to unheated ones for growing on, thus ensuring a steady supply of greens, plus sprouts from the sprouter. Though as the entire growth cycle is pretty short this may be overkill - time will tell.
The sprouter (not to scale - decent images are impossible to find), with its not very imaginative name, is widely sold as the Being Fare sprouter (no idea what that’s supposed to mean, if anything). It’s 15cm high and the growing trays - actually three, not two as shown (the bottom one is a drip tray) - are 15cm square - perfectly adequate for one person. I bought that along with the seeds I mentioned in Part 1, which are hemp, alfalfa, mustard, broccoli and golden linseed, to save you referring back if you’ve already read that page. Postage for that lot was £7.95 (getting anything by post these days is becoming less cost-effective with every postage increase), from here.
The location - on top of a chest of drawers in my bedroom, gets good light from a south-facing window, while being out of direct sunlight. Covering the adjacent wall with kitchen foil will enhance light levels, and minimise the tendency of plants to lean towards a light source though, of course, just turning the propagator round is perfectly feasible.
Pictures of my first crop, plus details of what I did - right or wrong (though, really, if I get this wrong I shouldn’t be allowed out on my own!) - will be posted here in due course.
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