Microgreens Farm Setup: What's Needed?!
Interested in starting a microgreens farm but not sure where to start? By the end of this post, you will know all the supplies and equipment that you need to start a basic microgreens farm - that way you can get started right away with your build!
Although I'm in a big and beautiful urban farm now, I started off in a very small space with very basic equipment, just like everybody else… As my business grew, I actually didn't need much different supplies because I bought high quality equipment in the first place. You don't want anything that you buy in the beginning to be rendered useless as you grow. You want to be investing in ASSETS from the start. Because I did this, I ended up just needing to buy more of the same equipment I already had, so my assets just kept on growing as my business grew. The result: an increasing business value rather than increasing costs.
One mistake I did make in the beginning was buying those normal flimsy 10 x 20 trays instead of buying the sturdy ones. Over time my trays started breaking and I ended up having to throw most of them out eventually. When I finally did make the full switch over to sturdy trays, I ended up donating all my old ones to a local farm which was nice. But nevertheless, this was just wasted money because I wasn't investing in assets that were going to last me a long time, and I wish I bought the better trays from the start. Don’t make the same mistake I did!
Okay, even though we're sticking to just the equipment basics in this post, there is still a lot of items needed, so let's get right into it.
First and most obvious, you will need a microgreens grow rack like the ones you see behind me in my YouTube Videos. This consists of the rack itself, lights that go on each shelf, zip ties to mount the lights, a power strip, and a simple outlet timer.
Next is tables. You will need one dirty table for making trays, and one clean table for harvesting. I used two folding tables in the beginning which ended up doubling as my Farmers Market tables. This is a great way to stay as lean as possible in the beginning, getting multiple uses out of your equipment.
Trays. Like I mentioned in the beginning, it is in your best interest to buy the best trays on the market from the start. These are made by bootstrap farmer. They are extremely durable and high quality, they will last forever and they don't break (at least not very easily). They're truly amazing - you can slap them together and carry two at a time without them breaking. You're going to want the shallow 1” trays linked above, which are the best size for growing microgreens.
In order to grow plants, you will need some sort of growing medium. I prefer a potting mix like the Pro-Mix MP Organik which is what I use, but I see many people using mediums like Coco Coir and grow pads. Try out some different materials, see which ones you like growing with best, and more importantly - see which mediums your microgreens like growing in best.
Water. Water is important and I don't recommend cutting any corners here. Do some basic plumbing or hire a plumber to run a line into your grow room. You're going to need water in your farm space, so don't go making some inefficient watering system for yourself that's going to make you crazy. Do it right and run a water line into your grow space that's attached to a garden hose with a garden hose nozzle so you can water and mist your trays.
Ideally, you will have a sink in your grow room as well for washing things like knives, buckets, and other equipment. It's not completely necessary, but just make sure you at least have a sink nearby.
I know this is a lot of equipment, but what's great is that everything you buy in the beginning are business assets that you'll be able to use for a very long time as you grow. You're growing a business, and you will be putting all this equipment to good use!
You will need buckets if you intend on growing varieties that need to be pre-soaked for their germination process. I use paint strainer bags within the buckets to keep the seeds contained. I simply pull them out of the buckets when it comes time to drain the water.
Seeds. Yes, these are very important for growing microgreens. I keep big bags of bulk seeds in my main grow room and then I transfer them into smaller containers like buckets, bags and jars, that way they're ready for use when I need them.
You will need scales for weighing out seeds as well as during the harvesting process.
Speaking of harvesting, you are going to need a knife. I've seen other people use things like shears and scissors, but I highly recommend a knife and I'll actually link my video where I walk about why I prefer a knife over everything else.
Since we're growing microgreens in trays, it's also important to have a soil press which I've also heard called a soil tamper. This presses down the soil/growing medium, making a flat surface so you can easily broadcast your seeds the top when you're seeding your trays. If you don't feel like making one of these, you can simply use another tray to press the soil which also creates a relatively flat surface.
Gloves are a must for sanitation and food handling purposes. I also like to use gloves to keep my hands clean when I'm doing farm tasks like making trays.
You may not need refrigeration, but I highly suggest it. Some people harvest the same day they deliver, so they don't need refrigeration. I prefer to harvest the day before deliveries so the products can get nice and cold overnight in the fridge before being sold.
You will need packaging for your products, often a few different sizes, and with packaging also comes labels. I particularly love my sticker dispensers because they keep my stickering process very efficient and dialed in.
Aside from everything I already mentioned, you will also need to control your environment. A dehumidifier to control humidity, fans for airflow, and some sort of way to manage temperature in your farm, like an AC-heat combo which I show in my farm tour video.
Lastly, you need music! Studies show that plants love listening to music, especially certain genres, and why not have the jams bumping while you're working!? Okay, I guess this isn't totally necessary, but why not listen to music while you work? It will “keep you in the groove,” preventing you from going crazy while performing the repetitive tasks over and over again that come along with the microgreens business.
I actually made a playlist with all my favorite music that I like to listen to in the farm. I add to it consistently, and it’s actually right on Spotify called Seed Your Soul. Check out this playlist and use the links above for easy access to the same equipment I use.
Link to this video: https://youtu.be/qoxBidEyToQ