Are you curious why Microgreens need weight during germination? Take a look!

Why do microgreens need weight?

Many questions arise when it comes to the subject of microgreens. However, it seems there is one persistent question that seems to pop up each time the subject comes up – why and how much weight do I need to put on microgreens? Today we are looking into this subject and going a little deeper into the process of growing microgreens. Stay tuned to clear out this dilemma once and for all!

Let’s do a little experiment.

As seen in our video below, we have taken four microgreen trays where we are overlooking their growth process. As we walk through the steps and the trays, we can visibly notice why microgreens need weight to flourish.

Why the weight?

Starting from the very beginning, there are three main reasons why you should put weight on top of your microgreens during germination. Once you combine all these factors together, not only will you ensure a stronger process altogether, but you will also provide better growth, resulting in thriving and abundant Microgreen Trays. We have laid them out for you below:

  1. Trapping humidity – it is important to trap the humidity in for the seeds & germinating Microgreens because this can assist the entire germination process.
  2. Press the seeds – the weight presses the seeds down into/against the growing medium. By doing so, they will maintain contact with the grow medium, helping keep them moist through the germination process, which is extremely important.
  3. Resistance – creating some resistance will give your seeds something to push off of as they grow. This helps them shed their seed hulls, making for a cleaner looking harvest, as well as creating a stronger base for the stem because they are fighting that resistance.

After explaining this, allow us to return to our little experiment. We have tested the growth of microgreens with and without weight. Our weapon of choice is the Kale microgreen, and we planted it on our coco coir medium using our Sprouting Trays.

Once we seeded the trays, here is how they looked in the video for our comparison:

Microgreens grown with Various Weights on Top comparison

  • 1st tray – does not have any weight or resistance. We did not use anything to try and trap the humidity.
  • 2nd tray – does not have any weight or resistance, but we added a wet paper towel across the top of the seeds to ensure some humidity is trapped under there. 
  • 3rd tray – this tray has nothing except for an empty tray on top of it. The only weight the microgreens feel is the weight of the empty tray itself (about 3.2oz).
  • 4th tray – the final tray has a seven-pound paver on top of the empty tray we have added. 

Once the process began, we misted our freshly seeded trays with the water they needed, placed them into the corresponding groups, and placed them on a dark shelf out of the way. That was a wrap on day one!

The following morning, we noticed a slight improvement on all fronts – except for the first tray. The seeds on the second, third, and fourth microgreen trays have significantly improved. As we give them a little bit of water and put them back on a shelf, we are done with day two!

Continuing the experiment while keeping a close eye on the germination process through the next few days, we can notice that all the trays except the first tray have made some progress.

Day four is extremely important because this is when the plants that have germinated, go into the lighting process to continue their growth. There is a significant difference between the first and second compared to the third and fourth trays, which are much further down the process.

Microgreens grown with Various Weights on Top comparison

On the first and second trays, you can clearly see how poorly they germinated, if at all! Which was drastically different from the third and fourth trays.

Both the third and the fourth tray had the plastic tray on top enjoying the trapped humidity. However, only the fourth tray had added weight, and we could see a difference with this tray, where the seedlings managed to create an even growth while being pushed down by the weight. They look much better than the ones on the third tray that kind of stick out. 

This little experiment is why we like to use weight when germinating our Microgreens. Naturally, you do not have to use excessive weight to press down the seeds but try with some small weight and see how the growth process will be affected. 

The amount of weight needed can vary from one seed to the next. Some crops enjoy having little to no weight (such as only an empty tray) on top, like Amaranth Microgreens. Whereas Sunflower & Pea Microgreens grown on a 1020 tray really benefit from 15 lbs during germination!

If you're unsure how much weight to use on-top of your trays for bountiful grows, check out our free downloadable PDF seeding guide!! This guide includes a section that will help point you in the right direction!

Let us know your thoughts and experiences on this subject. Have you already tried this at home? What types of seeds have you chosen? How long did your germination process take? We would love to hear from you!

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