People often say that nutrients don’t provide any benefit to microgreens and this is where we disagree with them. Today we are going to discuss an experiment in which we are going to test out two different growing conditions, nutrients versus just water.
Nutrients Vs Water Actual Experiment
We planned this experiment to answer some questions like do nutrients actually provide any benefit to the growth of microgreens. We’ve done some of the tests that we feel like the answer is yes. Therefore, we have figured well and went ahead to start doing a few tests to show how just water compares against adding some nutrients.
To start our experiment what we’ve got here are four trays of broccoli and this is the point where all was started. The sowing of broccoli present in all these trays was started at the same time and you can clearly see that the germination pattern is a little mixed.
In this experiment, we will keep every group different so we can observe the difference between germination and growth or microgreens.
Division of Experimental Trays into Groups
Group 1: Best Performing Tray Under Water
On the one hand, we will keep our best tray which showed the best growth and now we are gonna make this tray our water group. The reason we are doing that is we want to give water a little bit of a head start because we have seen how it performs against nutrients.
Group 2: Tray with Worm Castings as Nutrient
In our second tray, we have added worm castings and give it a bit of a head start. Here this tray over is going to be something new in our microgreen germination room. Here we actually tried an idea and took 200 grams of worm castings and put it into a jar and added some water. After adding water shake it well and let it sit for a little bit time. After that poured that liquid into a container and let the juices from it drip into the tray and this juice will act as the nutrient solution for the third tray.
Group 3: Over Watered Tray and Later Shifted to Nutrient
Tray three had shown slow germination because this was overwatered in the beginning and it suffered because of that. However, now we are hoping that it can catch up again by adding some nutrients as ocean water in it.
Group 4: Tray with More Slow Germination: Ocean Solution and Worm Castings
After adding worm casting solution in the third tray now we are gonna add worm castings on our fourth and last tray as well. This tray is a bit further behind the third tray. In this last tray, we are going to do something that we’ve used in our germination room several times and we know that it’s going to perform well.
In this tray, we will be using a combination of ocean solution and the worm castings in the way that we did it on the other group 3 which is that 200 grams put in a jar added water and poured into a container and let all the juice drip over the tray. The actual reason for doing this is because group 4 is the furthest behind and we are hoping for a miracle play.
However, we are going to put it at a slight disadvantage to hopefully let it beat everything. In this way, it is expected that this tray will hopefully catch up somehow to every other tray.
Application of Nutrients Plan to Microgreens
Now the solid results of the germination in all 4 trays will provide us a pretty extraordinary answer on whether or not nutrients provide any benefits to microgreens.
Here what we are going to do now is something we wouldn’t do if we were trying to grow this product to sell. We are gonna go ahead and introduce these trays to the light and go ahead and add nutrients to all of these.
It’s day 5 of this germination process so we are gonna go ahead and just toss these straight into the light and add their specified nutrients as planned.
Final Germination Results
Now after following our germination plan, today is day 14 of our broccoli nutrient test and we can clearly observe that the nutrients may play a factor in the overall growth of the broccoli microgreens. Therefore, now it’s time for a comparison.
Group 1: Final Germination
We will start with our water tray (Group 1) remember at the beginning of day 5 of this grow this tray had the best growth and was ahead of all the other trays and looked like it was going to win. So, here are the actual results today and it looks pretty decent we don’t yet have true leaves, the cotyledons are pretty small, however, it does have uniform growth and it does look pretty good.
Group 2: Final Germination
Now we will move on to our next tray this is the tray with the worm castings. This is something we’ve never tried in this germination room before and the results are honestly quite comparable. We can observe that there’s not much difference; the cotyledons are slightly larger on the worm casting tray than it is on just the filtered water.
So, here it looks that it did provide a little bit of a benefit to microgreens as a nutrient. Moreover, we would like to make you remember that this tray was a little bit behind on growth compared to the water one. And it looks like that it actually caught up and perhaps even maybe beat it.
Group 3: Final Germination
Now we will move on to our next tray which again was behind everything else and was overwatered with filtered water and we provided it ocean solution to boost its germination. And it as just as we predicted, this just absolutely crushed it and now the cotyledons are quite huge.
However, they’re a little bit lighter in the color that is something we noticed so maybe there is a slight nutrient deficiency. It may have faced the deficiency of a little bit more magnesium or something like that could have helped them to turn darker.
To see the difference, we set the water tray directly next to the tray in which nutrient was added with the ocean solution. And now we can clearly see that, when people say that nutrients don’t provide any benefit, this is why we disagree.
We can see here clearly this tray whenever we showed it, we think that was about eight days or so ago now was quite a bit behind this tray which was just on filtered water this one had poor germination. However, once we began to add the nutrients these things just came to life and they begin to grow very aggressively and grown quite large.
They’re getting to the true leaf stage first ahead of every other tray so this is why we disagree with people when they say that nutrients do not provide any kind of benefit to microgreens. They say so that because they consider microgreens have all the nutrients they need to grow.
Though it is a valid point and we agree, yes, they can grow like this tray which was able to grow well without nutrients. We are not however disagreeing with this theory; it does look nice and it is a nice tray of microgreens but if we are trying to get to a larger crop quicker, we may need to add nutrients.
It is because it does provide benefit from all the tests that we’ve run so far. However, it is depending on what kind of nutrient you’re using as you can see in this test there was kind of mixed results with worm castings. However, there are still several possibilities like maybe we didn’t do it correctly or maybe we didn’t allow enough time for beneficial bacteria to become developed and create an organic nutrient system.
There’s a lot of things that could have happened with the worm castings but as for a nutrient that we’ve tested quite a few times on quite a few different varieties this just absolutely crushes the regular filtered water growings.
Group 4 Final Germination
Now by moving forward to tray four, if you guys will remember our last tray was the one that was the furthest behind, and honestly, we didn’t think it was gonna do too well because it was pretty terrible at that time.
However, today no one can say that it is that tray, it has caught up quite a bit and we are actually, curious to see if it is going to be able to beat the harvest weight of the tray which was just on water.
Hope you may remember that in this tray we have added both worm castings and the ocean solution. After observing the tray closely, we think that the ocean solution helped the broccoli microgreens in germination.
The microgreens in this tray are quite large and something we did notice with the worm castings is that everything is a little bit darker of green compared to the tray with just the ocean solution. So, we may say that something beneficial has happened by combining these two nutrients.
So, it looks that for a little bit more coloration a little bit more nutrient can be added along with the ocean solution to make it deeper in colors, richer in colors, and provide prettier hues because that is something we noticed with ocean solution.
In group 3, we have observed an amazingly aggressive growth but we begin to see the fade of the colors and now we think to overcome that issue we can use a combination of ocean water and worm castings.
Comparison of The Microgreens by Weight
There is a lot of information that we have observed so for from this experiment, however, we think that we must stick to the major point for now. This is a very good start to show that adding nutrients does provide a benefit, therefore, we are gonna go ahead and get all these harvested and will also compare the weights and observe the difference in product quantity as well.
- 1st tray of group 1 (best performing tray underwater) had a total harvest weight of 258 grams.
- 2nd tray from group 2 (worm casting) had a total weight of 253 grams and was a little bit behind, only 5 grams.
- 3rd tray from group 3 (ocean solution) had a total weight of 433 grams.
- 4th tray from group 4 (ocean solution and worm casting) for the harvest weight of 262 grams. So, the last tray with the ocean solution and the worm casting nutrients ended up beating the very first trade the one that had the most the biggest head at the start of growth. This ended up beating it by about only 4grams but still because it was about 5 days behind on growth is quite impressive.
Whenever you grow the microgreens with different nutrients there are so many things that can be affected by that and also how you germinate them and how you control your climate. there’s just a lot of different things you can do to affect your crop and adding nutrients is one of those.
So, if you still ask us do nutrients affect the growth of microgreens, we would have to say via this test even though it was just ocean solution that showed that it can crush the germination. We would say yes.