Winter Growing Tips

January 22, 2021 15 Comments

Winter Growing Tips

Hey Hamama Friends!!

As we grow our microgreens in cooler temps and potentially drier air, we may need to be a bit more mindful in caring for them, Generally, while the germination period does not require light, it does require some warmth. The ideal temperature that most seeds need to germinate best is around 70 degrees F. Temperatures in the outer limits for microgreen seeds range from about 60-85 degrees. The warmer it is in that range, the faster and more consistently they will grow on time with predictable health. If the temperature falls in the lower end of that range, the growth may be slightly delayed and less consistent.

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TIPS & THINGS TO BE MINDFUL OF

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1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

During winter, if your house temperature is on the lower end, you can promote germination by moving your grow tray to a warmer location in the house. This could mean moving the grow tray away from a windowsill if there is a cold draft, or moving the tray near a heat source. You can also create a barrier from the cold surface (counter top, etc) by placing a flat towel/mat under the grow tray (make sure the tray is still level!).

Some folks have found that the top of the refrigerator is an ideal & warm spot for the grow tray during the germination process:

2. WATERING

When planting your Seed Quilt, it may be helpful to switch to cool / room temperature filtered water rather than cold.

If you have the heat on in your house, creating a drier climate, please take a peek under your Seed Quilt every so often (post peeling your Seed Quilt cover). It's normal for the water level to have dropped below the level of the Seed Quilt since your greens have been drinking it up! πŸ’§ However, if it looks like it's almost dry please give your greens a little extra love.Add just enough water to bring the level up to just above the tray's ribs. Never refill to the fill line and avoid pouring water directly over the Seed Quilt.

* Check out our watering tips!

*If you think your Seed Quilt has been under or over-soaked, find tips on how to reset it here!

3. A BIT OF PATIENCE

While typically the Seed Quilts will be ready for harvest within 7-10 days of planting, you might see some slight fluctuations as they are living plants. The specific variety you are growing along with your specific growing environment can play a role in the length of time it takes for your microgreens to germinate and then reach maturity. It is always best to make decisions based on the appearance of your greens rather than the amount of time that has passed.

This is especially important during cooler temperatures because the cold can delay the normal growing period by 3-4 days.

Peel TIme: Estimated peel times are noted on each Seed Quilt’s individual label. The biggest thing to look for is that the top paper is ballooned or ripped from the seedlings growing! If your Seed Quilt does not look like either of the images below, it is not quite ready to peel! If you do not notice any germination or ballooning by day 4 or so, the quilt may have been over or under soaked at setup. You can send a photo of your Seed Quilt to us here or check out our Hamama Hacks on the blog for more guidance!

Examples:

Close, but not quite ready! Needs another day or 2

Close, but not quite ready! Needs another day or 2

Full, even ballooning - Ready to peel!

Fully ripped from the growing greens - Ready to peel!

Harvest Time: The mature height of the microgreens depends on the variety and your growing conditions. We have pictures of our mature greens here for reference! For a general rule of thumb, microgreens will range from 1.5-4.5 inches. Our Clover, Kale, and Wasabi Mustard tend to hang in the 1.5-2.5 inch range. The remaining varieties tend to be in the 3-4.5 inch range (besides wheatgrass, as that gets to about 10 inches). This is just a reference as growing conditions (light, temp, etc) will affect the mature height slightly. Follow along with our growing diaries on the blog for step-by-step instructions and photos!

4. LIGHTING

Microgreens grow great in low light so you can place them in a windowsill (avoid this if there is a cold draft) or just in a room with regular indoor ceiling lighting! Just remember to keep them away from other house plants or fruit baskets. If desired, you may also supplement with a desk lamp, after peeling the top paper, to give them the photons they desire. This addition would let them bush out a bit more and the cotyledons (first leaves) to really enlarge.

It's important to have a weighted black-out period (that is what our paper top does) for the first few days of growing microgreens. Our top paper mimics placing soil over the top of your seeds as you'd typically do if you were planting outside :D

The weighted black-out period is crucial for two reasons - holding the seeds in place and shielding them from light.

Holding the seeds down helps keep the seeds in close contact with the moist coconut mat & encourages the seeds to send their roots downward, deeper into the coconut mat.

The darkness is important for the first few days so the seeds can germinate, root deeply, and grow to a point where they're ready to start photosynthesis. At the beginning phase, light can actually disrupt the chemical reactions necessary for the seed to begin to grow! If you use grow lamps / supplemental lighting, avoid using until you peel the top paper back.

Β *If you notice that your greens are "leggy," it may be due to your lighting. Even though microgreens grow just fine in low light (natural indirect or house lighting), they do still need a sufficient amount for several hours a day. If they are in darkness, have insufficient lighting, or the main light source is far away, they will stretch to seek out that light source. The longer they stretch, the weaker and leggier they will become.

5. OBSERVE MORE OFTEN

During the colder months, it may be worthwhile to take a peek at your microgreens daily if possible. Each Seed Quilt is different and may require slightly different care.

  • Check water level - You want to keep the coconut mat moist, but not wet. After properly soaking the Seed Quilt, the water level should stay around the top of the tray’s bottom ribs or middle of the brown coconut mat. Never fill the water line beyond that after setup.
  • Ensure your plant babies have adequate warmth, light and air circulation.
  • Keep the grow tray away from other plants or fruit
  • Check for signs of germination by days 3-4.
  • Act quickly if your greens start wilting over just add a cup of water and they’ll perk right up!
  • Harvest at maturity by cutting them at the base and storing them in a container in the refrigerator! They will last up to 10 days like that.

We hope this helps with growing your greens this Winter! As always, reach out to us or comment below at any time for growing support! Happy Growing!

START EATING MORE GREENS TODAY



15 Responses

Brittany Hamama
Brittany Hamama

October 07, 2021

Hello Lynn!

Thank you so much for reaching out to us! I would be more than happy to explain. The blackout period is great for germination. During this time, your seeds do not need light. That is why we have the paper top for the first few days. Once the paper is peeled, the greens then need light to continue to grow. If desired, you may also supplement with a desk lamp, after peeling the top paper back, to give them the photons they desire. This addition would let them bush out a bit more and the cotyledons (first leaves) to really enlarge. You should never need to keep the water at the fill line.

The Hamama system is designed to just add water once and harvest in about a week. However, there may be exceptions according to your growing environment. Pre-peel you should never have to add more water. After peeling, the only time you may need to add more water is if you notice that the water has dropped below the tray’s ribs on the bottom. This is not common, however, if you live in a drier climate or have the heat on in your house, then you can add water to the top of the ribs at the bottom of the tray.

Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions! 🌱

Lynn
Lynn

October 07, 2021

I’m confused. My directions say overhead light. But now I read they seed quilts should be kept in the dark til they begin to sprout. Please clarify
Also I’m wondering how much water should be in the tray while the seed are germinating. Do I need to keep it up to the fill line?
Thank you!

Billy
Billy

February 25, 2021

Somebody posted about using a heating mat. Yes, we live in central Iowa and it has been -30 outside. Our older farmhouse radiant propane heat only keeps us at about 65 degrees and more like 50 degrees down at floor level. Our trays are at the 2’ about floor level and it has not been warm enough to germinate the seeds. So, we use two heating mats for three trays and everything went back to normal. We also use grow lights from 6 in the morning to 6 in the evening. We found that the micros do much better with direct light. We keep three trays growing all the time.

Allie Hamama
Allie Hamama

February 24, 2021

Hi Doug! The ideal temp would be around 80 degrees max. I would leave the Seed Quilt in as much darkness as possible while the seeds are germinating and the top paper is on. Once you peel the top paper back, they can get as much indirect sunlight or indoor lighting as you can provide, with darkness at night to mimic the outdoors. Hope this helps!

Allie Hamama
Allie Hamama

February 24, 2021

Hi Lisa!

Sure! I would be sure to regulate the temp (ideal high temp range is around 80 degrees) and be mindful of the water level. The microgreens love warmth, especially during the germination period! Let us know how they turn out!

Allie Hamama
Allie Hamama

February 24, 2021

Hi Jacqueline!

Mold is most commonly caused by over-soaking or over-watering your Seed Quilt, especially if your tray is not near any fruit or plants. Please visit hamama.com and click the purple support button on the bottom left-hand side of the screen. We’d be happy to look into this further for you!

Allie Hamama
Allie Hamama

February 24, 2021

Hi Lanny! Herb microgreens are in the works for this year! 🌱

We currently have microgreen broccoli, red cabbage, radish, super salad mix, wheatgrass, zesty mix, kale, clover, wasabi mustard and fenugreek.

The Super Salad Mix is broccoli, kale, arugula, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and cabbage. The Zesty Mix is the same but with mustard instead of cauliflower!

Lisa
Lisa

February 24, 2021

Hi! I live in a cooler climate and even with the house being at around 65-70 I am wondering if I should be using a heating mat as well? I have a back pain one from the store and it germinates all of the plants I grow for the outdoors so I’m wondering if the same logic would apply here?

lanny showers
lanny showers

February 24, 2021

do you offer herb quilts?

Doug
Doug

February 24, 2021

I’m starting a new batch, using a styrofoam box that has an adjustable grow light on the bottom of the box cover and precise temperature control. What is the ideal temperature? Ok for complete darkness for a few days, then maybe 4 hours (2 hours?) per day at the lowest light setting? Then middle setting once the cover is off? Other thoughts.

Jacqueline Edwards
Jacqueline Edwards

February 24, 2021

What can be done if the seed quilts are getting moldy? They are not near other plants.

Allie Hamama
Allie Hamama

February 01, 2021

Hi Jennifer – great question! The reason we suggest keeping your grow tray several feet away from fruit baskets or other house plants is because common molds, specifically white molds, can often be found growing on the soil of your plants. Airborne spores also generally attach to young plant leaves where they are able to germinate and grow, quickly spreading to other parts of the plant and nearby plants (the mold can hop around). While it is not harmful to us humans, it does harm to potential food sources, by causing the plant’s fruits or flowers to die or never bloom at all.

Let me know what else I can share!

Jennifer Garrison
Jennifer Garrison

February 01, 2021

I am curious about not sprouting near houseplants? Can you tell me more?

Allie Hamama
Allie Hamama

January 26, 2021

Hi Betsy! Whatever you are comfortable with :D Just be sure your water source is fresh and clean as the roots are in direct contact with it. Happy growing!

Betsy
Betsy

January 26, 2021

I do not use shears, as I just pull them out and eat the whole thing – roots and all! Is this ok?

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