Microgreens have taken the culinary world by storm recently, and there is no looking back. These tiny bundles of germinated vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that can positively affect your health. Because they are fragile and therefore expensive, many home gardeners have begun to grow microgreens at home. Because microgreens grow for such a short time and are so fragile to begin with, choosing and carefully storing the seeds themselves is of the utmost importance.
Important Points on Seed Purchase
Even as microgreens themselves are fragile, the seeds are even more so. Because of the short growing time and the fact that the seeds are sown so close together, assuring you have quality seeds is integral to producing a healthy harvest. Here are some important tips to ensure a healthy harvest:
- Buy your seeds from a reputable garden seed store. Go to the professionals to ensure you are getting quality seeds.
- Purchase untreated or organic microgreen seeds. Most seeds are treated with fungicides and pesticides that will affect the taste and growth of your tiny microgreens.
- Consider the date of harvest to buy fresh seeds. You must sow them before they are five years old.
- Choose seeds that have a germination rate above 90%.
- Although more expensive, buy packets of seeds to determine what type works well for you. When you are satisfied with the variety you have chosen, you can buy them in bulk.
Key Facts About Storage
Why is storage so important? Untreated seeds are especially susceptible to mold. If a small percentage of your microgreen seeds are moldy, this will exponentially affect the rest of the seeds, rendering a ruined crop.
There are two keys to growing healthy microgreens when it comes to your seeds, the measure of their viability and their vigor. Both of these characteristics are very dependent on how the seeds are stored before you plant them.
- Viability is the seed’s ability to germinate, and how successfully that can happen.
- Vigor refers to the health and strength of the seeds themselves.
Best Storage Methods
In order to maintain viability and vigor, you need to store the seeds in a cool dry place, away from humidity and bright lights. Refrigerators are the go-to storage place for many home gardeners. Root cellars, wine cellars, and other cold storage would make good places to store seeds as well.
So what type of container should seeds be placed in before you store them in the refrigerator? Seeds are very particular about how they are stored in order to maintain their quality. One popular and useful method is to choose glass containers for your seeds.
- First, empty the seeds from their original container and packaging.
- Pour seeds into a dry, airtight glass container, preferably with gasket rings.
- Make sure the gaskets are not old and brittle.
- Tighten the lid securely and put the jar in the cool dry place of your choice.
Vacuum Sealed Plastic Bags
Although normal plastic bags are not a good way to store microgreen seeds, there are bags on the market that you can seal yourself at home in a cryovac fashion. These will maintain an airtight seal for your seeds.
- Take your seeds from the original packaging.
- Pour seeds into the special bag and ensure that you remove all the air with the vacuum food storage machine.
- Check for leaks by trying to smell the product through the bag. If you can smell it the bag is not airtight.
Labeling the Containers
No matter which storage method you choose, one important key is that you need to label the seeds so you know what you are growing.
- Include the name of the seed because they all tend to look alike.
- Include the date of harvest since you cannot use seeds after five years.
- Include the company where you purchased seeds so you can replenish your supply when you run low.
- One technique to ensure you have the correct information is to trim the original information from the packaging and affix it to the jar or bag itself.
Let’s face it. Your harvest will not be ideal if you don’t take the time to take care of your seeds properly. Storing your seeds away from humidity and light, and in an airtight container, will earn you the best possible harvest and keep the mold spores from invading your harvest.