Microgreen Seeds: Soaking or No Soaking
There are some ranges of microgreen seeds that sprout more easily when moisture is used to soften the firm shell that surrounds the seed. Certain microgreens require a jump start to commence the course of sprouting, and an easy solution is usually soaking them in water overnight. Growing microgreens is an enjoyable and easy process, and practicing this step can guarantee a bountiful harvest.
While it is not mandatory to pre-soak the seeds, doing so will not only ensure a quicker germination time but also a healthier growth of stems and first leaves. Microgreen seeds growing at this rate will yield generous and dense crops, which will allow the process of harvesting to be much easier, usually requiring a few snips of the scissors.
The Process: Pre-soaking Microgreen Seeds
The pre-soaking process is not challenging. Measure the quantity of seeds as that will coincide with the dimensions of your growing container. To wash off any excess revenue, it is recommended to wash the seeds first. This step should be followed by using a small strainer to drain any excess water.
The next step requires you to fill the bowl with water to about one inch or more above the seeds. Some seeds, such as wheatgrass, are larger in size and may need more water because they tend to absorb quite a bit of the moisture necessary for the preliminary soaking. Using a lid or a paper towel, cover the bowl before placing it in a warm place for approximately twelve hours. If you can afford to, leave it overnight. In the sprouting phase, the seeds do not require any light, but keeping the bowl in your line of sight is highly recommended so that you do not forget that they need your attention.
The last point is important because if seeds are immersed in water for too long, they can begin to spoil.
After the waiting period, use a strainer to drain the soaking water. Using a sink sprayer, wash the seeds and then drain any excess water once again. Remember, you do not want your seeds to be completely dry at this point – you simply do not want them standing in any water.
While you wait for the sprouts to pop, leave the seeds in enough moisture to prevent them from drying out. After that, return the seeds to the soaking bowl, cover it, and let the moist seeds resume the sprouting process for about twelve to twenty-four hours more. Either that or wait until tiny sprouts spurt out of the seed shell. Check your seeds every six hours because certain seeds absorb moisture very easily, so you want to rinse and drain them as required to ensure that they retain moisture but are not soaking.
Through pre-soaking microgreen seeds, you can observe the sprouting activity carefully and be reassured that you are using viable seeds that will provide you a fruitful microgreen yield. It is important to keep in mind that the seeds that float to the top of the water are probably those that may not sprout. What this means is that the pre-soaking process can also function as a seed test that will help you avoid wasting extra time and resources, making the process smoother and more pleasurable.
After about thirty-six to forty-eight hours from the initial wetting of the seeds, the seeds will have little sprouts emerging out of one end of the seed shell. Once the seeds reach this sprouting stage, shift them to the growing medium, such as a natural fiber pad or soil. Pat the seeds lightly into the soil and let the bare seeds resume the sprouting process to the anticipated growth period.
Suggested Seeds that Ought to be Pre-soaked
It is not recommended to soak mucilaginous seeds that turn into a gel when they come into contact with moisture, such as chia, arugula, cress, basil, mustard, and flax. This interaction will result in a gooey substance that is challenging to set onto the growing medium. Moistening these types of seeds with a spray mist after spreading them directly on top of the growing medium is the ideal way to go about it.
Pre-soaking can benefit small microgreen seeds such as kohlrabi, broccoli, radish, cabbage. In the instance that you are seeding a large area, the likes of a nursery flat, wet seeds can be tough to spread throughout the large surface. The best way to proceed is sprinkling dry seeds onto the soil and covering them with a light topcoat of the soil before generously coating it with sprayed water.
Some larger seeds can benefit from a pre-soaking process and are usually not tough to spread throughout a larger surface. These include beet, sunflower, chard, and pea seeds grown as shoots or microgreens.
Cereal grasses, the likes of wheatgrass, barley grass, oat grass, and alfalfa are deemed gluten-free in the microgreen phase if you are looking to make healthy vegetable juices and smoothies. These seeds also benefit from pre-soaking.
So, to sum it all up, pre-soaking can alleviate many of the problems you might face when directly sowing the seeds. These include uneven watering, which can result in dry patches within the growing medium, snuffing some of the seeds during the process of germination. The few extra steps required while pre-soaking may actually save you from future problems, meaning that they are definitely worth the effort if you want to enjoy your healthy microgreens!