Looking for cost-effective options for your home hydroponics system? Want to improve your diet with healthy microgreens and herbs? It can be daunting, considering the number of plants that can be grown, but we’ve taken some of the confusion out. Below, we’ll discuss five of the best microgreens to grow in your hydroponics system, as well as how they improve your health when added to a diet. Each of these plants is affordable, grows very quickly, and offers excellent nutrition at all growth stages, from microgreens to fully mature.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without the use of soil. Most of the time, microgreens use a hydroponic system. Microgreens are green vegetables harvested after the cotyledon leaves have developed. Some examples of microgreens are mustard, beetroot, and Swiss chard which we can see in our favorite salads. Hydroponic microgreens nutrients may provide a smaller amount of nutritional effects rather than the full-grown vegetables.
What are Hydroponic Microgreens?
Hydroponic systems for microgreens are easy enough to make a child’s cress grow as usual as flat-shaped hand-watered kitchen trays. Or they can be complex aeroponic or nutrient film systems with carefully managed environments. For that reason, vertical farming systems such as those used in container farms have become a favorite of micro-greens.
The microgreen seed should be weighed and planted as equally as possible on the wetted soil. A seed shaker can aid in this process, but note that each species need a different seed density.
Growing microgreens hydroponically is very handy and convenient. Whether your home has a backyard or you are staying in an apartment, you can create your hydroponic microgreens at home. There are also hydroponic microgreens growing kit available in stores and online shops. DIY hydroponic microgreens can be a good hobby.
Here’s a list of five convenient microgreens in hydroponics that you can do on your own.
1. Peas — they’re one of the simplest plants to grow, even in a hydroponics system. These hydroponic microgreens are also highly nutritious, and delicious whether you eat them as microgreens or decide to grow them to maturity and enjoy the peas themselves. To be clear, we’re talking about your garden variety (pun intended) green peas here, not your more exotic options. Green peas are very high in a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins A, K, C, folate, thiamine, manganese, and iron. They can also offer a range of health benefits, including:
• Protection from heart disease
• Anti-cancer properties
• Blood sugar control
With that being said, peas do contain “antinutrients”, which are responsible for causing bloating and gas. Phytic acid and lectins are two examples. To minimize discomfort while still benefitting from the health benefits that peas offer, keep your portion sizes to 1/2 cup or less per meal.
2. Radishes — If you think of radishes and immediately imagine the red and white circles cut up as salad toppings, you’ve got a world of enjoyment to explore that goes well beyond that image. Radishes, from daikon to your standard options, contain a ton of nutrients and vitamins, including folate, manganese, calcium, niacin, vitamin K, and plenty of others. In addition to being nutritional powerhouses, radishes can also offer many health benefits, including:
• Anti-cancer properties
• Digestive system health
• Anti fungal properties
• Calming/anxiety reduction
Radish microgreens in hydroponics can be used in just about any way you like. Sure, slice them up for your salad. However, you can also add them to dip, dice them to add to tuna salad, grill sliced radishes for steak or burger toppings, or turn them into radish pickles with fermentation. They’re easy to grow in a hydroponics setup or a home garden, and they can be eaten mature, or as microgreens if you prefer.
If you are curious on how to grow radish microgreens hydroponically, bootstrapfarmer.com suggested to use about 2 ounces of seeds per 1020 tray, and there is no need for pre-soaking. You will notice germination 1-2 days. The estimated time to harvest is 5-12 days and will have a strong radish flavor and slight crunch.
3. Kale — Kale might be the favorite food of health nuts, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good. In fact, kale is delicious, packed with nutrition, and also very easy to grow in a hydroponics system. It can be consumed as microgreens, but it can also be harvested when mature. Eat it raw, bake it into kale chips – it’s delicious no matter what you do. Kale includes a host of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, K, B6, copper, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It’s also been linked to improved health:
• Immune system function
• Reduced cholesterol
• Reduced risk of heart disease
• Improved blood clotting
• Reduced risk of osteoporosis
• Anti-cancer properties
• Improved eye health
Kale is incredibly versatile. A few leaves added to your salad can add texture, flavor, and nutrition. Replace lettuce on your sandwiches with it, or bake it for a crunchy snack to help you replace unhealthy things like chips.
4. Broccoli — Ok, we’ve all been there before. When you were a kid, broccoli was gross. But now that you’ve grown up a bit and learned that mushy, soggy broccoli doesn’t have to be the case, you’ve discovered that it is actually delicious. Broccoli can also be eaten as microgreens and is very easy to grow in a hydroponics system. It’s packed with vitamin C, iron, vitamin K, folic acid, and more, plus it can help with a number of health problems, including:
• Reduces cholesterol
• Improves bone health
• Immune system health
• Improves digestive health
• Improves heart health
• Improves nerve function
Think that boiled is the only way to eat broccoli? Think again. Oven roast it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Or, add some parmesan cheese to the top for a little extra flavor. You can also enjoy it raw as a snack, in salads, and in plenty of other ways.
5. Arugula — Arugula is probably more famous as a salad ingredient than anything else, but this leafy green is great in many different ways. It’s also very fast growing, which makes it simple to grow your own rather than buying it at the store. You’ll find that growing arugula as microgreens within your hydroponics system is much cheaper than paying a premium for it at the store. Arugula is rich in nutrients, including folate, vitamins C, K, and A, potassium, calcium, and more. It can also offer quite a few health benefits, including:
• Improved digestive health
• Improved eye health
• Improved blood coagulation
• Improved heart and lung function
• Improved nerve function
Tired of salads? You can enjoy arugula in a number of other ways. It’s great on sandwiches, but can add crunch and a peppery flavor to almost any cold dish. You can even chew it on its own to freshen your breath and benefit from its nutritional punch. Toss it on a pizza, or add it to your next plate of nachos. Top grilled chicken with it, or add it to a sliced steak salad if you like. As a note, if raw arugula is a little too strong for you, blanch it briefly to mellow the flavor out.
How to Grow Microgreens Hydroponically
The basic method to grow microgreens hydroponically is very simple. Prepare your trays with water and lay one of the growing pads in-trays. You can also use a spray bottle to mist the top of the pad.
• To have an effective method of the hydroponic system for microgreens, check your crop daily. The water must be balance until the day of harvest. Since the hydroponic microgreens system does not use soil, the water level is really vital.
• Microgreens hydroponic fertilizer can be useful when you are planning to DIY hydroponic microgreens. Indoorgardening.com suggested use hydroponic nutrients. Hydroponic nutrients are plant nutrients that are designed for use in a hydroponic system. Plants require 16 elements to grow like Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. These elements are already available in the air and water that they are receiving. The hydroponic nutrients provide the rest of the element to be added as a nutrient solution.
Whether you’re trying to be more self-sufficient with a smart hydroponics system, or you just want to improve your overall health and well-being, the five microgreens we’ve covered here are ideal options. They can be added to a wide range of dishes, from salads to meat dishes, and many of them can be eaten all on their own. They are fast-growing, cost-effective, and packed with good health at all stages of development.