Recently I decided to try out several different kinds of mustard microgreens to see what some of the key differences are. During my trials, two things really stood out. One is that mustard can have many different flavors, from very spicy to mild to unique and earthy. The second characteristic that stood out is the different colors. In this article I will share with you my experiences with the mustards I grew, the flavors, the appearance and potential uses.
Tokyo Bekana MustardMicrogreens
This was one of the most interesting mustards of the trial. With it’s very mild flavor and nice crunch Tokyo Bekana is a microgreen I will continue to grow. Tasting more like Pak Choi than mustard to me, those who typically don’t care for mustards may still enjoy this.
Tokyo Bekana was one of the fastest growing mustard microgreens in this trial and produced the most substantial yield. An extremely easy microgreen to grow, I definitely would recommend Tokyo Bekana to novice microgreen growers.
Due to it’s large leaves and substantial growth this mustard is the perfect addition to microgreen mixes or salad blends. The Pak Choi flavor would make this microgreen ideal to use in mild asian cuisines.
Osaka Purple Mustard Microgreens
A Japanese mustard, Osaka Purple had the most unique flavor of all the microgreens grown in this trial. The flavor starts out with earthy tones and the quickly turns to a nice spicy wasabi like flavor mustard microgreens are known for.
A fast growing microgreen that can easily be grown by a beginner, Osaka Purple mustard is also excellent as a baby salad green. Use this mustard anywhere you would use wasabi or want to add spicy punch. Because of the unique flavor I enjoyed this microgreen completely on it’s own as well.
Colorful leaves with purple edges Osaka Purple mustard looks fantastic used as an edible garnish. Add these atop or beside any dish to add some spicy and beauty or use them in wraps and sushi.
Southern Giant Curled Mustard
A classic mustard, Southern Giant Curled microgreens have a powerful mustard kick. These taste exactly like you would expect from mustard, though even more powerful when grown as a microgreen.
Another very easy to grow microgreen that grows nice and tall making harvesting a breeze providing a healthy yield.
Use these in salads, sandwiches and wraps. The are also a great addition to a spicy microgreens mix.
Red Garnet Mustard Microgreens
A personal favorite of mine, Red Garnet Mustard microgreens are just beautiful, especially when the first true leaves are allowed to grow a bit. The cotyledons are a dark purple with specks of lime green coming through. The first true leaves are a very bright green offering a wonderful contrast to the cotyledons.
These do have the spicy bite you expect from mustard but not as powerful as some of the others. The beauty of the Red Garnet Mustard microgreens makes them an excellent choice for just about any dish, salad or microgreens mix. While very simple to grow it is highly recommended you grow them a little longer to get that first true leaf to really pop.
With so many varieties of, you may be wondering which ones you will enjoy the most. Many are surprised to find out they typically taste just like the their adult counterparts but sometimes with a more powerful flavor. In this article we will create several flavor categories and discuss which microgreens belong there and why.
Spicy Microgreens Category
You might be surprised to learn that many microgreens are quite spicy! Here are some of my favorite spicy microgreens.
Radish Microgreens are probably the most well known for its spicy punch. They come in many colors from red to yellow, while some are more spicy than others you can expect them all to have a least some of that nice radish heat.
While most mustards are spicy, there is a large bandwidth to the amount of heat to expect. A mild mustard like the Mizuna is great for those who do not care for a spicy mustard. If a bold and spicy mustard is what you are after, give the Wasabi Mustard a try, this is sure to wake up your taste buds.
A microgreen with more flavor and spice than its adult counterpart, Arugula Microgreens have a complex flavor of nuttiness and spice. These are a favorite of mine to add onto sandwiches or even munch them down on their own for a healthy snack.
Known for edible flowers, nasturtiums can be an excellent choice as a microgreen. These can have a very complex flavor of sweet and spicy like the Empress of India Nasturtiums . The nasturtium leaves have a very unique shape and the stems can have beautiful colors of pinks, purple and yellow.
Herbal Microgreens Category
Many of the herbs you are familiar with can also be grown as a microgreen. Herbal microgreens can be used the same way you would use fresh herbs or experiment with the amazing, bold flavors as a delicious garnish.
Typically when people think of basil, they think of the basic Genovese Basil . Though there are more flavors to try out! Thai Basil has some licorice undertones you may not expect while Cinnamon Basil has a slightly spicy flavor to it. There are so many great uses for basil, with it’s different flavors you can add it to many different dishes.
A love it or hate herb, Cilantro Microgreens are great with any mexican cuisine. Cilantro can be an acquired taste, though some claim it tastes like soap. Beautiful as a garnish with a fresh bright flavor (If you like it)! I love these to top off a nice bowl of chili.
Until I started to grow microgreens, I had never tried Curled Cress. The peppery flavor is quite unique with an almost minty tone to it. Great on sandwiches, and paired with seafood. Cress germinates and grows extremely fast.
It’s no surprise that the flavor of a dill pickle comes from the dill herb! Dill Microgreens take a long time to germinate and grow but they are an excellent addition to seafood and soups.
Mild Flavored Microgreens
Brassicas are one of the largest categories of leafy greens. Most of these are similar in flavor separated largely by their looks and nutritional values. Since these are all mild in flavor, this will be a list of popular ones to try out.
These microgreens don’t really fit in any one category due to the unique flavors they have. This is my favorite category, who doesn’t love unexpected flavors?
When I first started growing microgreens, sunflower was one that really stood out. Sunflower Microgreens have an interesting nutty flavor. Very crisp and hearty, even kids love munching these down. I wonder who was the first to decide to try sunflowers as a microgreen? I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own. It is very important to harvest these before the first true leaves come in or they become bitter.
Known for it’s pretty little blue flowers, Borage Microgreens taste just like a fresh cucumber. When used in a microgreen salad mix, these are absolutely delicious.
Grown in the dark Corn Shoots are a bright yellow. This is another love it or hate it microgreen that has a artificial sweetener flavor. Perfect for pairing with desserts!
Red Veined Sorrel
A wonderfully pretty microgreen that takes a lot of patience to grow! Very bright leaves with deep red streaks throughout, Red Veined Sorrel has a pleasant citrus flavor that is quite surprising.
Usually the first microgreen people try. Everyone who eats a Pea Shoot for the first time can’t believe how they taste just like a fresh sweet pea!
Radish microgreens are one of the most popular microgreens to grow and there are many reasons for that.
Super easy to grow
Big flavor for a small green
Many colors to choose from
So many uses (Salads, garnish, soups, sandwiches etc…)
My Recent Radish Microgreens Test
With so many radish microgreen varieties to choose from I recently ran a detailed test where I grew 7 different varieties to compare. Here is a video I made showing the results. All of the microgreens in this experiment were harvested a little early, yields would be much higher if grown for an extra day or two.
Judging Radish Microgreens
When harvesting these radish microgreens there were essentially 4 categories I was focused on.
All the purple microgreens under performed in yield per tray as compared to the pink stemmed radish microgreens. The Vulcano Radish had the best yield out of the radish microgreens, however the extra cost just didn’t seem to be worth it as compared to the Red Rambo which is my choice for a purple radish microgreen. The flavor of the Red Rambo was not quite as powerful as the Sango however without a side by side comparision I’m not sure anyone would know the difference. Here is the score breakdown for the Rambo radish microgreens.
These radish microgreens have a decent pink/reddish stem color. The Red Arrow radish microgreens are extremely inexpensive seeds, easy to grow and produce a large yield quickly. These microgreens pack a nice spicy radish punch sure to add flavor to any dish! China Rose microgreens are a very close second to the Red Arrow Radish. Lets take a look at how this microgreen scored.
Triton Purple Radish Microgreens
The Triton Purple radish microgreen had an incredible yield per tray performing better than most. These microgreens are fairly unique for having a pretty purple stem and green leaves. As a very inexpensive seed these radish microgreens are comparable to the much more expensive Hong Vit radish. While the flavor is not terribly powerful these microgreens have a nice amount of substance to them with a thick crunchy stem. How did these microgreens score?
All of the tested radish microgreens are a good choice for a grower or a consumer. This test was done to show the small differences, helping you decide which of the many radish microgreens you may want to grow. If you found this post useful please let me know by leaving a comment or contacting me at BrabantFarms@gmail.com.
Recently I ran a experiment with 4 different kinds of kale microgreens from True Leaf Market a company I use exclusively for my seeds. What I found was a bit surprising, watch the the video below to see the entire experiment or read on for details. Kale, while well know for its health benefits has a certain appeal to it as a garnish as well. As a microgreen, kale has a very mild flavor, making it perfect for adding to sandwiches and salads as a way to get the multiple nutritional benefits kale provides without the need to force feed yourself kale.
Red Russian Kale
When I started this microgreen kale experiment I had only grown Red Russian Kale which is one of my fairly regular crops. The main reason I like this crop is for its beauty. If grown until the first true leaf stage the leaves have a beautiful frill to them, they can get long with jagged edges of pink colors creating a wonderful look. Chefs love them for their great presentation as a garnish to just about any dish. If you watched the video above you will find that Red Russian Kale was my favorite of this little trial with its delicious flavor and superior looks.
Dwarf Siberian Kale Microgreens
As far as size goes the Dwarf Siberian Kale Microgreens grew very similar to the Red Russian Kale microgreens. These didn’t produce a very strong flavor and the yield per tray wasn’t terribly high. This kale may do better as a baby or full grown kale, allowing the adult leaves to develop. If you want a highly tender kale microgreen with a mild flavor, this might be the microgreen for you. This kale variety is perfect for mixes or added to a salad or sandwich while it wont provide the pop as a garnish many chefs may be looking for.
Vates Blue Scotch Kale
A very compact microgreen that produced a very good yield per tray, this kale microgreen wont disappoint. Vates Blue Scotch Kale microgreens have a powerful flavor for such a little plant. The taste is similar to cabbage but with a little kale kick. A little tougher than the Red Russian or the Dwarf Siberian but still tender enough to be very enjoyable. Perfect for a mix and will have a good shelf life.
Like the Blue Scotch, the Lacinato is a high yielding, compact microgreen. This may have been the most powerfully flavored kale of them all. The stem of the Lacinato is much firmer than the other 3 kales with a distinct crunch. Add this microgreen to sandwiches to add a bold broccoli like flavor with a nice crunch.
Microgreens are largely used to set dishes apart with their bright colors, powerful flavors and beautiful features. Few Microgreens offer colors as bright as Rainbow Beets, also known as Detroit Beets Mix from True Leaf Market. With stems of bright yellows, deep reds and brilliant pinks these beets are sure to make your plate stand out and provide for an incredible presentation.
That Microgreen Beet Flavor
Rainbow Beets pack a strong beets flavor without being overpowering. Beets are strong in flavor by themselves, adding these Microgreens to just about any dish really tames that beet flavor and they become more of a garnish, adding flavor without taking over. Rainbow Beet Microgreens are great in salads, paired with any meat and make a beautiful garnish
A Challenging Microgreen to Grow
A challenging Microgreen to produce, they are easier to grow than rainbow chard. Chards and Beets are challenging due to the seeds being a “cluster” seed Microgreen. This means more than one plant will sprout from each seed, and the seed hull is not easily shed from the little plants making harvesting difficult. Both chard and beets being difficult, beets are less prone to damping off issues and germination is more even than rainbow chard. While a low yielding crop you can expect 5 – 6 ounces from a 10″ x 20″ tray. The low yield can be made up by the high desirability of this Microgreen, so expect this little gem to cost more than your average Microgreen.
Purchase From us or Grow Your Own
Brabant Farms is not only committed to providing Microgreens of the highest quality but also to teaching others how to grow them themselves. Follow these grow tips to increase your chances of getting a quality crop.
Use a light fluffy soil with a fair amount of perlite and excellent drainage. Stagnant water is the enemy of all Microgreens, especially Beet Microgreens. We love Sunshine Mix #4, this soil is a very high quality soil perfect for a long term growing Microgreen like Rainbow Beets. Place a 1020 tray with holes in a 1020 tray without holes and spread about 1″ of soil in it.
Planting Rainbow Beet Microgreens
Water the soil heavily then evenly spread 60 grams of dry Detroit Beets Mix onto the soil. Use the Microgreens Calculator to find out the cost of seed per ounce of Rainbow Beets produced! Very lightly cover the seeds with a layer of soil, keep the soil super thin and nearly transparent, you want just enough soil to stick to the seeds without creating a solid layer over them. Use a spray bottle and gently mist the soil enough to dampen it. Use an upside down 1020 tray without holes over the trays a blackout dome and place in an area between 70 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 days. Once most of the Rainbow Beets have germinated and some are 3/4″ tall, remove the blackout dome and place under lights for 16 hours a day. Lightly mist the Microgreens daily, adding water to the bottom tray only when the soil begins to dry out. A fan keeping a steady breeze on the Rainbow beets and a humidity of < 60% will ensure a healthy crop. After 2 weeks under lights your Rainbow Beet Microgreens are ready to harvest!
I often get people asking me what the best microgreens to grow are. The answer isn’t as simple as some would like. The only way to give a good answer is to ask why are you asking? In this post I will cover the best microgreens to grow for 4 different scenarios. Some microgreens will be in every category while others might make just one list. I will then tell you how to know what the best microgreens to grow for you would be.
Our Favorite Microgreens
These would be the microgreens my family and I enjoy consuming the most. I will list out some of our favorites, maybe you will want to try some of these yourself. We enjoy many different varieties, though the three below rank high in our house.
Easily a family favorite. If you have never had a sunflower shoot, they are a little difficult to explain. Sunflower shoots have a nutty sort of flavor with a nice crunch. Everyone in our house loves them and our kids even take them to school as a healthy snack. These are a very popular microgreen due in large part to all the ways they can be consumed. They can be added to a salad, eaten on their own or even used to make a fancy pesto.
Pea shoots are a very close second to sunflower shoots for many of the same reasons. Pea shoots taste, well, just like a sweet pea. If harvested early they are extremely tender with very little fiber. We grow two types, the pea shoot (Speckled pea) and pea tendrils (Green pea). The tendrils are a little sweeter than the pea shoots, though the pea shoots are a little fluffier and may be better as a snack. Pea shoots are great in a salad, in recipes or just added to your plate for a beautiful and tasty garnish.
Radish microgreens, like many microgreens taste exactly like their adult crop. Everyone who ever tastes a radish microgreen for the first time is also shocked at the strong radish flavor. Again this is a microgreen our kids love as a snack though they can be a bit spicy. Radish comes in many varieties and mainly in three colors, all of different shades. Daikon radish has a nice white stem and is known to have some significant health benefits. China rose radish has a beautiful pink stem and a spicy bite while Sango radish has deep purple leaves and stems. We grow many different kinds of radish and love them all.
The Easiest Microgreens To Grow
Some microgreens really stand out for being either extremely easy to grow or just down right difficult. Below I will list what we find to be nearly foolproof varieties that anyone interested shouldn’t be afraid to try growing.
One of our favorites as listed above and quite possibly the easiest of all to grow. We use the exact same growing techniques on radish as we do many other microgreens. However radish are consistently the easiest to grow. Radish microgreens have extremely high germination rates, consume the perfect amount of water needing a heavy dose once a day. Lighting requirements are minimal with radish and can be grown easily on a well lit window sill. Also a very fast growing microgreen, radish is ready to harvest in 7 – 10 days from planting.
Another microgreen making a showing in at least two of the four categories are pea shoots. We have found soaking the seeds in water for 4 to 5 hours increases the harvested yield though it is not required and we typically plant them dry to eliminate the step of soaking. Watering pea shoots is very easy as they can be watered from above without knocking down the shoots, this also helps keep them nice and clean. Harvesting pea shoots is also very easy because they are tall and not too delicate. Pea shoots are ready to harvest in 7 – 10 days while pea tendrils take a little longer at right around 14 days.
This is a large family of microgreens that includes cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. All of these tend to be easy to grow, the same method used for radish is used on brassicas. These can require a little more light than radish but can still be easily grown on a well lit window sill. Brassica microgreens are best watered from below to avoid knocking over the tender plants. Brassica microgreens seed hulls tend to be very small and don’t stick to the making them very easy to harvest.
Favorite Microgreens for Chefs
This is the category most people asking are interested in. This is also the most difficult category to answer because there are so many different restaurants and cuisines. The chefs that purchase my microgreens may like something totally different than what your chefs will want. In my experience, you can’t really go wrong with colorful microgreens as chefs tend to use them to brighten up their plates and really separate themselves from competition. Microgreens can take an average dish and make it look like a dish that should sell for twice the price. We eat with our eyes first, if it looks delicious, it’s more likely to taste delicious.
Bulls Blood Beets Microgreens:
We never have any trouble selling bulls blood beets. With their bright red stems and leaves with multiple shades of red these are just gorgeous. We have not yet had a chef tell us they no longer want bulls blood beet microgreens. Not only do they look amazing, they also taste great, just like a full grown beet but maybe a little better due to being small. As a grower beet microgreens are one of the most difficult microgreens to grow, however with the right process this problem can be lessened.
Chefs love sunflower shoots for all the same reasons we love them at home. That flavor, that crisp crunch combined the many things they can use them for makes them a favorite. Many chefs have never heard of a sunflower shoot microgreen, though once they try them they are hooked. Sunflower shoots have a pesky seed hull that can be difficult to remove making them time consuming for harvest. They can be watered from above which really helps them break free of the hull and gives them a nice wash down daily.
Red Garnet Amaranth Microgreens:
Red Garnet Amaranth microgreens are another one of the most beautiful microgreens you can grow. These beautiful little plants are bright red and pick, they look very similar to and can be confused with bulls blood beets. In the past when we have struggled to grow bulls blood beets we would offer chefs Amaranth. Many times chefs were not familiar with Amaranth but once introduced would ask for it. Amaranth is a difficult microgreen to grow consistently, though mastering them is not too difficult. Amaranth is very small and yields can be as little as 4 ounces per 1020 tray.
Basil microgreens have a great, fresh and powerful basil flavor. Chefs can use basil in many different dishes, especially Italian plates. Basil comes in many different varieties and colors. A personal favorite of mine (Didn’t make my favorites list), basil can be tricky to grow consistently. Basil microgreens need to be planted lightly, avoiding seeds touching each other. When basil seeds get wet they form a gel like coating that makes them stick together making harvesting difficult if planted to heavily.
On its own Cilantro microgreens tend to be a love it or hate it microgreen. They have a very strong flavor, those who don’t care for them say they taste soapy though I love them and so do chefs. Cilantro is great in Mexican dishes and many others. This is another difficult microgreen to grow, though once a successful process is in place they become much easier. Cilantro can take a long time to be ready for harvest, sometimes as much as 3 weeks is needed so it is important to plan ahead.
All of our chefs enjoy radish microgreens and use them weekly. Due to their bright colors and bold flavor radish are a clear favorite among chefs. They are an excellent addition to salads and many different plates. Whether as a garnish or a main ingredient, these are a favorite for many reasons.
The Most Profitable Microgreens:
When growing as a business, this is the most important category. When trying to figure out what microgreens are the most profitable there are several things to consider. Below is a list of the most important factors to consider.
Seed Cost per Ounce of Produce: The primary cost of producing microgreens is the seed cost. When considering the cost of seed it is important to know how much seed produces an ounce of product. If interested, check out my handy calculator here Microgreens Calculator
Can you sell them: Microgreens that have low seed costs and high production are only profitable if you can actually find customers for them.
Cost of labor: Profitable microgreens tend to be easy to grow microgreens. They need to be easy to harvest as that is the most labor intensive part of growing microgreens.
Grow time: In order to be profitable, microgreens need to have a short grow time. Lighting costs are a major factor, the less time they sit on the grow rack the more profitable they will be. A variety that takes a long time to grow may also be taking up space a more profitable, faster growing microgreen could be using.
With the list of factors above, you should be able to figure out which microgreens are the most profitable. Two of our most profitable are radish and pea shoots. In many cases you can’t just sell the most profitable varieties. If you refer to the chefs favorites list you will see many microgreens that are not highly profitable, though they are necessary to sell in order to keep the client happy. I hope this blog post was educational and helpful for many growers.
In this blog post I will cover many of the different grow mediums used when growing microgreens and cover some of the pros and cons. Let’s get started with my all time favorite microgreen medium. UPDATE: Soil used to be my favorite grow medium, but that has since changed.
Coco Coir Compressed Blocks
It wouldn’t be right for me to leave out the grow medium I have been using for over a year now, so here I am updating this post! I have found coco coir to be such an excellent choice that I even wrote a very short book about it’s benefits Growing Microgreens with Coco Coir . Though I am going to cover most of what is in that book right here for you!
When choosing a grow medium for microgreens, there are a few basic factors to consider. First is cost, nobody want to spend more than they need to to grow microgreens and if you are selling them you want to keep your costs low and margins high! When purchased in compressed block form, coco coir is very inexpensive, less than half the price of soil. Don’t be fooled by its small size, compressed blocks will really surprise you at how much they expand. A 5 lb block like I linked above will expand to easily fill an entire wheel barrow. It can be purchase in bags already expanded, however it is much more expensive so you lose out on that benefit. Using loose coco coir has been a much different experience than the mats that I talk about below. Water retention is another big factor to consider when choosing a grow medium. Some soils can retain too much water that can lead to mold, root rot and damping off issues. Coco coir retains water very well while allowing the surface to dry out quickly. Since switching to coco coir I have not experienced damping off, even with amaranth which is very sensitive.
One downside of using coco coir, at least the pure coir blocks is there are zero nutrients in it. There is a common misconception that microgreens don’t need nutrients to grow, this is only partly true. Yes there is enough nutrients in the seed to form a root, push up the sprout and form some leaves, but that is about it. To grow nice lush healthy microgreens you will need some form of nutrients, my nutrient of choice is General Hydroponics Max Grow but there are plenty to choose from.
Coco Coir Pros
Very inexpensive, can be less than $0.30 per tray.
Becoming more readily available as it gains popularity.
Easy to use.
Retains water well while not too much.
Is considered clean and can be sold with living microgreens to some restaurants.
Coco Coir Cons
It takes time and some effort to expand it.
Requires nutrients to grow lush microgreens.
Soil Grow Medium
Good old tried and true soil, by far my favorite grow medium for microgreens. There are many reasons to love soil and I will break down exactly what makes this earthly substance the best for growing microgreens. First off, soil is inexpensive. When using a quality soil for microgreens you can expect to pay right around $1 per 1020 tray making this the most inexpensive medium on the list. When using soil to grow microgreens, it’s easier to grow organically when using a quality organic soil, there are movements to designate growing in soil the only organic method for growing microgreens. Soil also holds moisture extremely well, especially if the soil contains a fair amount of perlite making watering a breeze. Watering microgreens when using soil is typically a once a day task. Growing microgreens on soil is also very predictable, I have found soil to be very consistent from one batch to the next and the results are very predictable.
Some microgreen varieties such as sunflower and beets really prefer soil over hydroponic methods. When growing microgreens in soil you wont need to add any nutrients, again making it easier to grow organically as organic nutrients can be difficult to use though for very long term grows like Sorrel a nutrient may be helpful. Soil however does have a couple downfalls, it is messy. Using soil to grow microgreens means more time cleaning and sterilizing trays. Your location is also a factor when growing microgreens in soil because you need to do something with it once you have used it. I pile up my soil outside and allow the microgreens roots to break down then it gets reused in outdoor gardens. Many people do not have the space to pile up soil outside and finding a way to get rid of it could be a problem many people don’t want to deal with. Soil also makes it difficult to sell living microgreens as chefs don’t want or can’t have soil in their kitchens, an understandable request. Therefore soil grown microgreens need to be harvested and packaged when selling to restaurants.
Soils I recommend
Microgreens will grow in just about anything, though some soils definitely outperform others. The soil I use the most is ProMix BX series Promix BX this soil is light and fluffy, characteristics I look for in a microgreens soil. This is also an easy to find soil and is carried by many gardening stores and hydroponic stores. I also really like Sunshine Mix #4 this mix is loaded with perlite and is a fantastic choice for microgreens, this might be my favorite soil though it’s a little harder to come by in my growing location. An organically listed soil that works great would be Black Gold this is just an all around great soil for Microgreens and can be found fairly easily, even at some Ace Hardware stores. Soil can be found in any big box store and will grow Microgreens just fine but the ones listed above are among the best in my experience.
Easy to buy locally
Can be used organically
Can be reused for outdoor gardens
Holds water very well
Consistent growing results
Doesn’t usually require added nutrients
Soil is messy, almost like it was dirt…
Can be hard to figure out what to do with used soil
Can’t be sold live to restaurants (Most of the time)
Hemp Mats Grow Medium
My second favorite grow medium for microgreens is hemp. Hemp grow mats are very similar to soil in many ways. The hold water fairly well but will need to be watched more closely than soil. I have found when growing Microgreens on Hemp mats nutrients were not necessary though they may help. You can grow on hemp and call it organic though nothing is more organic than soil. When growing Microgreens on hemp, you can sell live microgreens to restaurants as it isn’t “Dirty” and can be brought into the kitchen. In my experience growing on hemp is consistent as compared to soil, you can easily predict how the crop will come out. Hemp can also be composted down like soil and reused in outdoor gardens or it could be disposed of in the trash if you are growing a small amount, a little hemp in the landfill wont hurt anything and could actually be beneficial. Growing on hemp does require a little more attention than growing on soil as it can dry out faster, watering may be needed more than once a day. Hemp is fairly expensive, more than twice the cost of soil. The cost of growing Microgreens on hemp is the biggest reason I prefer soil.
Hemp Mats I Recommend
I have used these Hemp Mats and have found them to be excellent.
Hold water well
Nutrients are not normally needed
Easy to dispose of and compost well
Microgreens can be sold live
All Microgreens grow well
Can be considered organic
Expensive compared to soil
Requires more care than soil (Watering)
Not always easy to find locally
Does’t perform quite as well as soil
Coco Coir Mats Grow Medium
Coco Coir is fairly similar to Hemp and is a great alternative to soil. Coco Coir tends to be more expensive than soil and while fairly easy to find it is more difficult to find than a quality soil. The only thing I have found different from hemp is that added nutrients seem to be more necessary than with Hemp mats. Coco Coir comes in a lot of different varieties. You can get it compressed where water is used to fluff it back up Compressed Coco Coir or you can get it as a mat where its woven similar to the Hemp mats Coco Coir Mats Coco Coir mats are typically considered a clean way of growing and live Microgreens can be allowed into a kitchen when grown on Coco Coir.
Coco Coir Pros
Less expensive than Hemp though more expensive than soil
Holds water well
Doesn’t always require added nutrients
Fairly consistent growth of Microgreens
Can be fairly east to find locally
Coco Coir Cons
Doesn’t hold water as well as soil
Fairly expensive as compared to soil
May need added nutrients for optimal growth
More difficult to find than soil, though easier than Hemp.
Microgreens growth isn’t as consistent as hemp or soil.
Biostrate Mats Grow Medium
Biostrate is a woven mat felt material. Biostrate could be a good option if you do not have the room to dispose of soil. Biostrate is considered a clean method and should be allowed in most kitchens. Biostrate is pretty thin and easily disposed of after growing on it. In small quantities it is about 50% more expensive than a quality soil. I have found that Biostrate absolutely requires the use of a nutrient supplement in order to get a decent crop. Some crops such as beets and sunflower really struggle to grow in Biostrate and anything that is not soil. Biostrate requires a very careful monitoring of watering, it can dry out very quickly. If you want to give it a try find it here Biostrate Mats.
Fairly inexpensive compared to Hemp and Coco Coir
Easy to dispose of
Drys out very easily
Requires nutrients to get good Microgreens growth
Fairly expensive compared to soil
Not readily available locally
Wood Fiber Grow Medium
These are mats I had very high hopes for. The main reason I so badly wanted them to work is the cost. Wood fiber grow mats when bought in bulk are very similar to the cost of soil. These mat have a consistency very similar to several paper towels stacked over each other. One of my biggest issues with these mats has been mold growth, I have had to completely toss out several trays because of mold with these mats. I have heard of others that enjoy these mats so I don’t want to be completely negative here but for me they just haven’t been good. For that reason I will not be recommending them or showing a list of pros and cons for these.
The germination rate of Microgreen seeds is extremely important when growing these little beauty’s. At Brabant Farms we grow to order, this means we need to know exactly how much product we will grow with a given amount of seed. If we get inconsistent or poor germination rates we will come up short on harvest day.
Customers simply will not continue ordering from a producer that doesn’t follow through on the delivery. This is one of the many reasons we use True Leaf Market for all of our seeds. Germination rates are also a major factor in controlling mold and damping off. If seeds do not germinate they will rot and become moldy, while this might be observed easily on Sunflower or Peas it is even more important with sensitive Microgreens such as Amaranth. Difficult Microgreens tend to be prone to damping off, while not entirely attributed to germination rates it is definitely a major factor. These delicate Microgreens can’t withstand any mold around there tiny little stems and roots. Once mold begins to set in it can spread across a tray rapidly causing major crop loss, unhappy farmers and disappointed customers. We like happy customers, germination rates mean a lot to us.
Organic and GMO Free Microgreen Seeds
You may have noticed organic and GMO free produce is all the rage with consumers. People want to eat fresh, organic and GMO free nutritious food. There is no fresher produce than locally grown greens. If you are going to have fresh produce, you probably want it to be organic, True Leaf Market has been a providing non-GMO seeds for over 40 years! They have a huge selection of organic seeds and conventional non-GMO as well.
Microgreen seed selection
We love variety and want to offer our customers a broad range of Microgreens to choose from. Largely used as an edible garnish, our chefs enjoy an array of colors. True Leaf Market offers some of the best Microgreen seed choices available and we grow nearly all of them. Here is are just a few of our favorites for the bright colors and incredible flavors.
Corn Shoots: Grown in the dark, these Microgreens are bright yellow like a highlighter. These are sure to pop out on any dish and are fantastic on deserts due to there powerful sweet flavor. So sweet they taste similar to artificial sweetener, and for this reason they are not for everyone, however they are one of our favorites.
Red Garnet Amaranth: A chef favorite, this Microgreen is possibly the most beautiful of them all. With deep reds and purple undertones this Microgreen is sure to make the most ordinary plates extraordinary. Amaranth has a very mild flavor, similar to a beet flavor but much lighter. This is one of the more challenging Microgreens to grow as it is extremely sensitive to overwatering, overcrowding and loves warm temperatures. Quality microgreen seeds are extremely important when growing Amaranth to prevent help prevent some of the common issues.
Rambo Radish: Radish is one of the easiest Microgreens to grow and one of the most rewarding. Those who have never tried a radish Microgreen are always amazed to find that this little green tastes just like its mature counterpart. The flavor is truly amazing. This particular variety has dark purple stems and leaves making it really stand out.
Fast and Free Shipping
Nobody wants to pay for shipping and Brabant Farms is no exception. At True Leaf Market shipping is FREE on all orders of $45 or more. With there huge selection and the fact that the larger the quantity you order the better the pricing gets, we have no problem meeting the $45 requirement. Shipping is fast as well, we typically receive our orders within 3 business days.
Any company is only as good as their customer service. We have contacted True Leaf Market on several occasions and have always been greeted by a helpful HUMAN at the other end. They are prepared to help with questions ranging from basic to expert growing advice.
Did you guess our favorite supplier yet?
Clearly we love True Leaf Market and we think you will too. If you are itching to try your hand at growing Microgreens you might consider giving them a try. For information to get you started on your own micro journey, be sure to check out our post on growing your own.
By selling locally to the Upper Valley Region we are able to provide the freshest Microgreens you can get anywhere in the world. We sell locally grown microgreens harvested the night before they are delivered, this ensures the customer is always presented with Microgreens that are crisp, flavorful and will maintain their freshness for many days. Our Pea shoots, Radishes, Sunflower shoots and others can last for weeks in cold storage.
Our Microgreens are grown to order
At Brabant Farms, we know our customers, we know what they want and when. When you set up a delivery schedule with us, we plant our Microgreens specifically for you in anticipation of the harvest/delivery date. By doing this we eliminate waste, prevent long term storage, and ensure the customers gets what they asked for.
Grown in Soil
There are many methods of growing Microgreens, however we believe soil grown Microgreens to be of the highest quality. Chefs have long suggested there is a difference in taste between soil grown and hydroponic grown Microgreens. We use high quality potting soils comprised of Coco Coir, Peat moss, Perlite and organic compost. We compost our used Microgreen soil and reuse it in our outdoor gardens to grow flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Quality Microgreens Seed
The seeds used to grow Microgreens is one of the most important factors in getting a quality product. For this reason all of our seeds are sourced through True Leaf Market . We are able to achieve very high germination rates, drastically reducing the risk of seeds rotting in the trays. Seeds arrive to us quickly, packaged nicely and are very clean. We are able to offer a large variety of Microgreens from Red Garnet Amaranth to Sunflower.
Our Microgreens Growing Process
Having a solid process for growing Microgreens can go a long way to providing a quality product. Different variety’s of Microgreens are grown in many different ways. Through trial and error, we have become quite proficient in the process for over 20 different Microgreen crops. Our Microgreens are inspected daily and we are able to quickly determine if a crop is too dry, too wet, too cold, too hot or needs more light. Because we are committed to to quality and keep such a close eye on our crops, we are able to consistently provide some of the highest quality Microgreens in the world.
Harvesting and Packaging Microgreens
All of our Microgreens are harvested by hand and closely inspected at that time. As our Microgreens are cut, they are immediately packaged in recyclable Clam Shells . Grown in a clean environment, our Microgreens are delivered unwashed to maintain freshness, reducing the risk of damaging them during the wash and dry process. Harvesting of our Microgreens is only done in optimal conditions. The Microgreens are not watered on harvest day and are only harvested when the humidity is below 50%. Ensuring our Microgreens are not packaged damp allows for extended shelf life for our customers.
We personally deliver our Microgreens directly to our customers. The Microgreens are kept cool from harvest to delivery.Maintaining a cool temperature from harvest to plating gives our Microgreens a fresh edge.
If you would like to give our Microgreens a shot, please contact us and we will schedule a delivery of free samples!!
A favorite customer of ours, Chef Battis has been purchasing our Microgreens for over a year now. Chef Battis and his wonderful wife, Whitney have been the owners and operators of B&W Catering since 2014. This incredible duo and their assistants have been serving the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire spectacular cuisines ever since. As a long time student of culinary arts, Chef Battis earned his associates degree in 2010 from Southern New Hampshire University, however he has been in the customer satisfaction business for more than 20 years.
In 2013 Chef Battis authored a book of gourmet recipes titled The Easy Gourmet. He has been the executive chef and general manager at several local establishments such as 3 Guys Basement BBQ and Murphy’s on the Green. As a super fan of local food, he became in instructor at a local Coop. During his 3+ years teaching students, Chef Battis focused on educating students on the importance of locally grown food. He learned early that nothing beats local food for freshness, flavor and nutrition.
We would like to thank B&W for being such fantastic customers and exceptional contributors of the community they operate in. Thank You!