Other Uses For Your Microgreen Rack (Super Rack + Germination Rack)
We've all seen the various microgreens racks on the market, and I've told you which ones are the best. Now, I’m going to share several other ways to use these racks for your microgreen business, one of which has drastically improved the efficiency here within my farm.
I've been using these same racks for over four years now, and I've gotten pretty creative with them. Whenever I have a new challenge in my business or here in my farm, I try to solve that problem by using what I already have. These racks have been insanely useful for my business, and I'm really excited to share with you several alternative ways that I use them.
Alternative Rack Uses
The first use of these racks is for germination. I set up each shelf differently because there’s different needs for each variety of microgreens. The peas, specifically, need the most space because they push up the trays a little bit further than the other varieties that I grow. I have a shelf on top (the tallest of the shelves), which is where I do all of the pea germinating, though this shelf isn’t technically the top shelf, because there’s another smaller shelf, in addition to the space on top of the rack, that I use for stacking my trays. I’ve made the top shelf the perfect height to store six trays total, which is the amount that I make at a time. I like to have the trays set up ready to go because it creates better work flow.
I use the first, the second, and the third shelves for my other varieties. The space between the bottom shelf and the floor is useful for storage and also sweeping.
I’ve found that an exact spacing (i.e., number of notches) between each of the shelves is critical for the best set up. For the very top shelf, there are four notches that allow you to store six tray sets, which is a total of 12 trays.
Then, there are 12 notches on the shelf for the pea germination. The rest of the shelves are 10 notches. Since you have to build these shelves from the bottom up, it’s useful to know the number of notches from the floor up to the first shelf (i.e.,18 in total).
Super Rack Use #1: Germination
I introduce to you, what I call, a super rack. This is the rack that has drastically improved my efficiency. It's a rack on wheels that essentially has twice as many shelves on it. In the past, in my second farm, I found myself walking back and forth a lot to the racks. Every time I needed to grab a tray, whether it be for harvesting or moving trays from germination onto the main grow racks, it would take a lot of time (and steps).
The super rack is how I solved that problem. It's on wheels, and it has a good amount of shelves that allow for different uses. After the trays have germinated and are ready to come under the lights, I'll load this the rack up with trays in the back room. Then, I’ll wheel the rack around, so that I can put the trays right under the lights. This allows me to transport numerous trays at once.
Super Rack Use #2: Harvesting
I also use the super rack for getting ready for harvest. Before my employee comes in at nine, I’ll wheel the super rack around the farm and take off any trays that are ready to be harvested that day from the main grow racks. I’ll place them on the super rack, and then, I’ll wheel the super rack around so that it’s right next to my employee who’s doing the harvesting. After my employee is done harvesting, she’ll place the spent trays back onto the super rack and wheel them across the room to dump the trays. Then, we’ll sanitize and spray all of the trays with hydrogen peroxide. Lastly, we’ll turn on the fan to help dry the trays off after sanitizing.
The top shelf is a little wider than the other shelves for a particular reason. Basically, the peas and the sunflowers are the tallest crops out of all my crops, so if I was to place a tray of fully-grown sunflower microgreens in the middle of the rack, they’d touch the shelf above, which you wouldn’t want from a sanitation perspective. Same goes for the peas.
But, there’s plenty of space to clear lower-crop varieties, such as broccoli or radish. This is why I place the lower-crop varieties in the middle shelves and the taller-crop varieties on the top and the bottom shelves, where there is more space. I like to place the peas on the top shelf and the sunflowers on the bottom shelf (for easy removal of the seed hulls).
In terms of a specific ratio, I like to have two shelves on the rack for the peas, two shelves on the rack for the sunflowers, and the rest of the shelves on the rack for the remaining crops. You can tailor this to your own farming needs.
Nevertheless, if you want to build same exact super rack that I have, you want to make sure that you have the right spacing (i.e., number of notches). The top shelf has six tick marks from the top of the pole to the first shelf. The bigger shelves have nine tick marks in between one another, and the smaller shelves have five tick marks in between one another. Then, there are six tick marks between the bottom two shelves. The difference on these racks is that I'm not leaving the four spaces on the bottom like I'm doing with my main grow racks. Make sure that the bottom shelf is in the bottom notch (the lowest it can go).
Whether you’re a microgreens farmer bringing in $30,000 in sales a year or $1,000 in sales a month, this super rack will definitely improve your efficiency.
So now you know a few other ways to use these racks to improve your microgreens business and to keep your supplies consistent, but there are many other ways to improve your business. I’d love to have you in my Microgreens Support Group on Facebook, where farmers around the world are sharing their own insights and successes.