Courtesy of Brenda S., Thompson Street Farm, Glastonbury CT
For winter sales of microgreens, I’m doing about 20 trays a week to start. I have a winter market through December 22nd,so I will see how demand is. If I can control the temperature in the greenhouse I will do more. Yesterday I started 5 trays on heat mats in the greenhouse. The rest of my trays are in a back room in my house on racks. If the trays in the greenhouse survive the overnight lows, I will start more using some kind of alternative heat source. I’m focusing on heating the trays instead of heating the air.
For mats I’ve purchased reptile heat pads/mats. I’m turning on the mats when the sun goes down. The greenhouse is warm enough during the day, and they don’t need additional heat. The product I’m using is Zoo Med ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater. Amazon.com is selling them for $13.71 for a small mat. I’m also using a large seedling mat as well. I realize if I’m going to do a lot of trays this wont be practical.
Another cheap idea I’m toying with for protecting the greens overnight is putting the trays on an electric blanket.
In addition to growing micro greens on shelves in the greenhouse, I will also be growing arugula, lettuce and green onions in the greenhouse beds. I also have several of my outdoor raised beds growing arugula and lettuce. My leased SPIN field has turnips, carrots and tatsoi, all unprotected at this time.
Turnips and tatsoi I harvest every week. The carrots are just coming up now. A local farmer suggested I just leave them there for winter and see what happens. Long story as to why I’m growing carrots this winter. Short version – I hired a high school kid to help me plant a 1/4 acre. Yup – he seeded an entire segment with carrots instead of arugula.
popcorn shoots (indoors)
pea shoots (indoors)
Brenda’s operation is a great example of a SPIN farm’s versatility, making use of both indoor and outdoor spaces. You can learn both growing methods in the SPIN online learning series in these 2 guides: Indoor Farming with Micro Greens and Quick Greens