Which Microgreen Seeds To Soak?
Not all microgreen seeds need to be soaked, and in this blog, I'm going to share exactly what microgreen seed varieties DO need to be soaked, along with the reason why some DON’T need to be soaked at all.
I've been growing various microgreen seed varieties for over four years now, and it's become very obvious why some seeds need to be soaked and some seeds don't. It's actually rather simple, and SPOILER ALERT, it has to do with the size of the seeds.
Allow me explain how the size relates to the need for soaking, along with a quick list of the microgreen seed varieties that are commonly soaked before planting.
Okay, so the seeds that typically need to be soaked are the seeds that are bigger. These seeds require more water to get started because the germination process is really just absorbing water, so that way the seed can get fully hydrated and start its journey of life. Naturally, smaller seeds need to absorb less water, and larger seeds need to absorb more water. So, this makes perfect sense.
In nature, the seeds start underground and start taking in water in the springtime. They're fully surrounded by moist soil, which allows them to take in all of the water that they need to achieve thorough germination.
Now, why am I mentioning this?
The reason why is because microgreen seeds are typically grown a little bit differently than how seeds would grow in nature. The microgreen seeds are typically being planted above the soil, rather than underneath the soil. And this is where the second factor comes in, surface area.
When the seeds are planted above the soil, like with microgreens, there’s less contact between the seeds and the growing medium, resulting in less surface area and less ability for the seeds to take in water from the growing medium. In nature, when they're underground, they're fully surrounded so this really isn't an issue, but surrounded by that moist soil, and it's able to take in water across the whole surface area of the seed.
With microgreens and planting on top of the soil, this really isn't much of an issue for the smaller seeds. Because like we talked about before, one, they need less water to germinate anyway, and two, because they're so small, they can nestle down into the growing medium and get enough surface area contact with the growing medium, to absorb water into the seeds.
The bigger seeds, on the other hand, need more water to germinate, and they also have less contact with the growing medium because only a portion of their seeds are actually touching the growing medium. This reduces their chance of taking in all that water they need and encourages them to be fully hydrated so that they can turn into a strong, healthy plant.
Now, like I promised, here's a quick list of the microgreens varieties that typically get pre-soaked before seeding into the tray.
Peas, sunflowers, grasses like wheat grass and barley grass, nasturtiums, popcorn chutes, and fava beans are all typically pre-soaked before being planted in the microgreens trays.
Now you know exactly why some microgreen seeds need to be soaked, but what if you want more information about the crop cycles of microgreens, like seeding rates, growth times, and even expected yields?
I launched a product with Dave from Micro Acres back in January that covers all of this information, and it's actually included in this product as a free bonus. If you want to learn more about this product, it's called Microgreens Mentors. Feel free to watch the little video on there to learn exactly what it is that you're buying.
Also, be sure to join my Microgreens Support Group on Facebook to stay up to date with microgreen growers from all around the world!