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Date: 8 February 2020. Microgreens Shopping List (part 1)


This became a multi-part series about growing microgreens aboard Seaweed. Today's article describes what I use to grow microgreens in limited space with very little water. It is the first in a series describing how I grow food aboard Seaweed.

For those that prefer everything on one page, this is the link you want:
Microgreens Aboard Seaweed (series)

An overview/printable is located here: 
Microgreens Summary for Success (cheat sheet)

or, without photographs, here:

Microgreens Summary for Success (no pictures)

Aboard Seaweed I have been growing sprouts for many years. The 2013 article
Growing Lentil Sprouts has details from the beginning stages. Like all things boat, I've made mistakes.  Over the past year or so I've expanded my gardening efforts. Today I'll tell you how you too can grow good things to eat in a limited space, without dirt. Also, to get started will cost less than $10 total. This is my advice for the novice small-scale microgreen grower.

The Basics: In the life of a plant, seeds are the beginning stage. When seeds begin to grow they are called sprouts. The sprouts mature into microgreens. In other words, a microgreen is your plant as a baby. According to the folks who sell seeds, microgreens are nutrient dense. I like the flavors, and have been successfully growing them aboard Seaweed for well over a year.

Being able to enjoy a fresh salad every single day is a real blessing

I am not an expert. That said, I have had quite a lot of success in growing yummy microgreens.

I prefer food with texture. Although my microgreens are not as crunchy as sprouts, I like the taste. Best of all, the cost is virtually negligible. I can and do have a fresh boat-grown salad every day.

The first thing to do is invest a bit of money for supplies. I am a soloist, therefore I grow in smaller containers than you might eventually opt for. My goal is to have a constantly maturing crop.

Free advice: Start small-scale. If growing microgreens is for you, enlarging will be easy.

At one time I used screen for part of the growing set-up. That was supposed to enable me to remove the roots easily.

The screen was not a success in the long-term for my microgreen gardening efforts. Though great in theory, washing roots out of the screen used precious water. It was messy and did nothing to make the process of food growing more successful.


Shopping List for growing microgreens on a small scale:


#1) Travel size soap boxes. I would suggest you start with eight or more. The reason is that some seeds grow faster than others and if you'd like a constant supply of rabbit food, you will need to harvest at least two boxes a day.

These can be purchased in a variety of colors at the Dollar Tree. Sometimes they are in packages of three, whilst others have just two.


#2) Foam. I utilize the packing foam received when ordering online. You will be wrapping the foam layer(s) in a paper towel. The paper towel is your substitute for dirt.

Side Note regarding foam: I recommend 1/4" thick so stack the thin ones until you have enough. I prefer something plastic-like versus the stuff that shreds into balls of styrofoam.


Here is the logic behind using foam:
IF/when I over water the foam will float up and therefore the seeds will not drown. This small change has increased my success rate more than I would like to admit.


This is your goal:

Little hairs grow out from the roots at the beginning. The FUZZ disappears by day two or three.


#3) Paper towels. I normally stock the 1/2 sheet variety because they are inexpensive. Any cheap paper towel is fine.

I wrap a layer of paper towel around the foam.


#5) Stiff plastic to cover the top of the seeds. This is utilized in lieu of dirt.

I use a plastic placemat from the Dollar Tree. It is smooth so the seeds do not attach as they grow. Additionally, these are easy to wash and reuse.


#4) Seeds: First you will want to see if growing microgreens is really for you. It might not be. My garden takes me between five and fifteen minutes twice per day in order to have salads constantly. It is an easy process however this is not a set-it-and-forget-it garden.

Purchase these seeds: broccoli, cabbage, kale, and turnip. Get the small paper packages sold in the garden area of stores.


Please buy what I suggest, even if you don't like the full grown plant.

Your investment is minimal. I paid 20 or 25 cents per package with the exception of cabbage which was $1.50 if memory serves me. I have bought cabbage from Walmart and the others from both Dollar General and Dollar Tree stores.

Side Note: Though I personally am not fond of kale and have never had a turnip I liked, as microgreens both are quite good. Thus, please buy the four I suggest even if you are certain you won't eat those awful things. Thanks.


Two things were of primary importance:

#1) It had to be easy. Certain seed varieties did not grow well for me.
#2) Low water use.

Some microgreens and sprouts require a LOT of rinsing.


Because many of those living off the grid have limited access to fresh water, I am mindful of that potential complication. Water is a precious commodity even for those with watermakers.

For instance, clover is easy to grow in glass jars. The unfortunate part is that it takes a lot of water to rinse the shoots until the water runs clear. If you don't thoroughly rinse, the stuff will mold. Therefore I believe clover is not a viable option for many boaters.

Trust me on this: Microgreens are Most Excellent.

To Recap: Buy 8 or so travel size soap dishes. Find some foam. Though not Totally necessary, if you are like me and tend to over-water you will benefit from having foam. Have two or three inexpensive paper towels available. Buy or find opaque plastic to cover the seeds. Seeds to purchase: broccoli, cabbage, kale and turnip.

The next in this series will be posted shortly. Definition of shortly:
A day or three. Have I mentioned lately how glorious life aboard a boat can be?!?

Thank you for reading.

Do you grow any plants aboard your boat?
If you have a garden, what are you having success growing?

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2020, 2023

Categories: Galley, Money,

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