Are you looking to add an exciting and innovative new crop to your farm? Microgreens are becoming increasingly popular for their high nutrient content, flavourful taste, and incredibly low-maintenance requirements. Not only can they be added into any dish for variety – from salads to smoothies – but if you’re growing them in a GROWTunnel, you can create the perfect growing environment for optimum production, year-round! Read on to discover exactly how easy it is to implement a GROWTunnel system on your farm so that you can reap the benefits of this ultra-versatile crop.
Microgreens are small, edible seedlings usually harvested no more than 14 days after sprouting. They contain concentrated levels of micro-nutrients and offer intense flavours compared to the adult versions of their vegetable. In fact, a single gram of microgreens can contain up to 40 times the amount of vitamins and minerals than a full-grown plant. Australian microgreens make a great addition to salads, sandwiches or even smoothies or juices because of the nutrient density they produce.
Growing microgreens can be profitable due to low intervention requirements and their quick germination time. If you’re interested in growing microgreens for profit, as a microgreen farmer you could start off by understanding the climate requirements in Australia and learning how to create a microgreen soil mix that fits these conditions for optimal growth. With microgreen farming, even total beginner growers can soon get off their feet and start producing high quality microgreens that have great potential to be used in restaurants or sold directly to customers at farmers markets.
Although microgreens can be grown practically anywhere – from a garden pot, to your kitchen windowsill – when it comes to growing microgreens on a commercial scale, you’re going to need the right infrastructure. Enter…GROWTunnels.
Our GROWTunnels provide an affordable solution for being able to grow many varieties of microgreens on a year-round basis, thanks to the climate-controlled environment they create. The solar weave cover allows enough light to germinate and help the microgreens grow, while keeping humidity and temperature inside the polytunnel structure optimal for growing, even through the colder winter months. Need some more airflow, or less humidity inside? Simply roll up the side walls to bring in the fresh outside air, but protect your crops from insects and pests with the UV stabilised mesh. By adding an additional shadenet, inside the tunnel, you can protect your microgreens from getting too much sun in the warmer months and installing fans will help with air circulation.
Microgreens are well-sought after, for their incredible nutritious value, but also for the way they can bring a dish to life. Many restaurants and cafes utilise microgreens to spruce up their recipes, garnishing soups, salads and even your favourite smashed avo on toast. When thinking about how to grow microgreens for profit, you might consider starting small, by connecting with some local chefs to supply their venues. Then you can work up to supplying local retailers or attending markets. That’s the beauty of growing microgreens in a protected structure such as a GROWTunnel, you can quickly scale up production in a matter of weeks.
Microgreens are fast-growing, so with the right equipment, you could be on your way to creating your microgreen empire in a matter of weeks.
Firstly, you’re going to want to consider what room you have to grow your microgreens, and create the infrastructure to support your operating plans. The great news is that you can start with any size GROWTunnel, according to the space you have available and the size of operation you intend on creating. Our Rural GROWTunnel can be purchased in any size from 6m x 11m, up to 6m x 49m We think this is the perfect greenhouse solution for the emerging microgreen grower, but if you intend to grow other crops alongside your microgreens, or need a bigger commercial space, check out our Rural Pro, Mini Commercial or Commercial ranges too.
If you’re planning on selling your microgreens to restaurants and cafes, the most cost-effective way to grow will be in large microgreen trays. These are specifically designed with deep channels to avoid water pooling in the bottom of the tray and rotting your microgreen’s roots. These trays can be used over and over again, so the small investment of around $10/tray can quickly pay itself off.
Alternatively, some commercial growers choose to grow in small pots, which can then be sold directly to consumers, allowing them to harvest the microgreens as they need them.
Microgreens grow from the embodied energy within the seed, therefore, not alot of external inputs are required. However, you will need to provide something for the roots to grow into, giving your microgreen plants strength and helps retain enough moisture on the seed to keep them growing. There are multiple options here. Many commercial microgreen growers choose to grow in soil – just be sure to choose a microgreen specific variety, which will include peat moss or coco peat, vermiculite and perlite, as these help keep the soil loose and enable roots to grow easily. Alternatively, you can also use worm castings, or growing mats made of coconut fibre or rockwool.
Potentially the funnest part of growing microgreens (apart from harvesting of course!) is choosing which varieties you’ll grow. We love the organic microgreen seed varieties available at GreenHarvest, with everything from alfalfa to sunflowers and more! Their guide to growing microgreens is also a great resource for first-time growers.
Because of their fast growing time, you can easily experiment with different flavours or microgreens to find your favourites, and most profitable options.
Microgreens are a great way to get into the farming game with a smaller investment and shorter turnaround time than traditional crops. They can be grown year-round in most climates and don't require excessive amounts of space, making them ideal for beginning farmers or those with limited land. If you're thinking about getting into microgreen production, we'd love to chat with you about how our GROWTunnels can help you get started. Book a call-back from one of our team members, or download our guide to GROWTunnels, and find out how easy it is to start growing your own healthy, delicious microgreens.