The Ultimate Guide to Growing Microgreens Hydroponically: No Soil, Only Mesh!

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Microgreens Hydroponically: No Soil, Only Mesh!

Welcome to the ultimate guide on growing microgreens hydroponically without soil, utilizing mesh as a growing medium. We will delve into the practical steps and techniques involved in successfully cultivating nutrient-packed microgreens using water-filled trays and mesh. By adopting this innovative approach, you can enjoy faster growth rates, increased nutrient absorption, and reduced risks associated with soil-borne diseases. So, let's explore the world of mesh-based hydroponics and learn how you can expertly grow microgreens using this method.

1. Growing Microgreens with Mesh

Hydroponic microgreens with mesh as the growing medium offer several advantages over traditional soil-based methods. Mesh provides excellent drainage and aeration for the roots, promoting healthier growth. To get started, you'll need a shallow tray filled with water and a piece of mesh cut to fit the tray's dimensions. Place the mesh in the tray and ensure it is slightly elevated above the water level. This setup allows the microgreen roots to access the water while preventing waterlogging. Examples of commonly used mesh include nylon netting, burlap, or even plastic mesh. The choice of mesh material depends on factors such as durability, pore size, and ease of cleaning.

2. Selecting the Right Mesh for Hydroponic Microgreens

Choosing the appropriate mesh material is crucial for the success of your hydroponic microgreens. Nylon netting, for example, is a popular choice due to its durability, ability to retain moisture, and ease of cleaning. Burlap, on the other hand, is an organic option that offers good water retention and is biodegradable. Plastic mesh, such as the one used in aquariums, is another viable choice, providing excellent water drainage and longevity. Consider the specific requirements of your microgreen varieties and select a mesh material with an appropriate pore size that allows root penetration while preventing seeds from falling through.

3. Preparing the Water-Filled Trays 

Proper preparation of the water-filled trays is crucial for maintaining the ideal hydroponic environment for your microgreens. Start by selecting a tray that is shallow enough to allow the mesh to rest above the water level. Fill the tray with filtered or dechlorinated water, ensuring that it reaches just below the level of the mesh. Maintaining the right water level prevents over-saturation and allows the microgreen roots to access water as needed. Additionally, it is essential to monitor the pH level of the water and adjust it to the optimal range for microgreens, typically around 5.5 to 6.5. Regularly check and adjust the water level and pH throughout the growing cycle to ensure optimal conditions for your microgreens.

4. Sourcing Quality Seeds for Hydroponic Microgreens

High-quality seeds are fundamental to successful hydroponic microgreens cultivation. Look for organic seeds specifically labeled for microgreen production. Reliable sources include reputable seed companies, local nurseries, or online suppliers specializing in microgreen seeds. Popular microgreen varieties suitable for hydroponics include broccoli, kale, radish, and sunflower. When selecting seeds, ensure they are fresh, viable, and free from contaminants. Follow the seed supplier's recommendations regarding pre-soaking or pre-germination, if applicable. Proper seed selection sets the stage for healthy growth and flavourful microgreens.

5. Germination and Planting Techniques

Germination is a critical stage in the hydroponic microgreen cultivation process as it determines the initial growth and establishment of your microgreens. Start by pre-soaking the seeds according to the specific requirements of the variety you are growing. Once the seeds have soaked and swelled, prepare the mesh by moistening it with water. Sprinkle the pre-soaked seeds evenly across the moistened mesh, ensuring they are not too densely packed. Gently press the seeds into the mesh to ensure good contact. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of moistened paper towel or another piece of tray to create a dark, humid environment that encourages germination. Place the tray in a warm and well-lit location, avoiding direct sunlight. Maintain the appropriate temperature and humidity levels throughout the germination period, typically around 70-75°F (21-24°C) and 60-70% humidity. Mist the seeds and monitor the moisture level regularly to prevent drying out or overwatering.

6. Providing Essential Nutrients for Hydroponic Microgreens

Microgreens can grow using only water, but providing them with nutrient-rich water solutions can greatly enhance their growth, nutritional value, and overall health. Microgreens have a short growth cycle, usually around 1-3 weeks, during which they rapidly utilise nutrients for their growth and development. By supplying them with a balanced nutrient solution, you ensure they have access to the necessary elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and various micronutrients. These nutrients support healthy leaf and stem development, promote vibrant colours, and contribute to the overall nutritional content of the microgreens.

You can create a homemade hydroponic nutrient solution or purchase a pre-formulated one specifically designed for microgreens. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to mix the nutrient solution at the appropriate strength. Once your microgreens have developed their first true leaves, typically within 7-10 days, begin feeding them with the nutrient solution. Pour the solution into the tray, allowing the roots to absorb the necessary nutrients. Be careful not to overflow the tray or submerge the leaves. Monitor the pH and nutrient levels of the solution regularly and adjust them as needed to ensure optimal nutrient uptake and growth.

7. Managing Light and Temperature Conditions

Proper light and temperature management are crucial for healthy hydroponic microgreens. Provide your microgreens with 12-16 hours of light each day using fluorescent or LED grow lights. Position the lights approximately 2-4 inches above the tops of the microgreens to ensure adequate intensity. Adjust the light height as the microgreens grow to maintain the appropriate distance. Additionally, monitor the temperature in the growing area and aim to keep it within the optimal range for your microgreens, typically around 70-75°F (21-24°C). Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations or exposing the microgreens to direct drafts. Maintaining consistent light and temperature conditions will promote optimal photosynthesis, growth, and flavor development in your microgreens.

8. Watering and Maintenance of Hydroponic Microgreens

Proper watering and maintenance are essential for the health and vitality of your hydroponic microgreens. Monitor the moisture level of the mesh and ensure it remains consistently damp but not waterlogged. Water the microgreens by pouring water directly onto the bottom tray. Avoid watering the leaves excessively, as this can lead to mold or rot. Monitor the trays regularly for any signs of pests, diseases, or algae growth. Remove any dead or decaying plant material promptly to maintain a clean and healthy growing environment. 

9. Harvesting and Storage of Hydroponic Microgreens

Harvesting your hydroponic microgreens at the right stage ensures maximum flavor and nutritional value. Once the microgreens have reached the desired height and developed their first true leaves, use clean scissors or a sharp knife to cut them just above the mesh level. Harvesting at this stage provides the best balance of flavor and texture. Rinse the harvested microgreens gently with filtered  water to remove any debris or residue. Shake off excess water and allow them to air dry or gently pat them dry with a clean towel. To store the harvested microgreens, place them in a sealed container lined with a paper towel or damp cloth to maintain moisture. Store them in the refrigerator at a temperature between 36-40°F (2-4°C). Properly stored microgreens can remain fresh for up to a week, but it's best to consume them as soon as possible to enjoy their peak freshness and nutritional value.

10. Exploring Microgreen Varieties for Hydroponic Cultivation

There is a wide variety of microgreens that thrive in hydroponic systems using mesh as the growing medium. Broccoli, kale, radish, sunflower, and arugula are popular choices due to their vibrant flavors and nutritional profiles. However, don't be afraid to explore other varieties such as cilantro, mustard greens, or pea shoots to add diversity and excitement to your hydroponic garden. Each variety has its own unique taste and growth characteristics, so experiment with different microgreens to discover your favorites. Consider factors such as taste, texture, color, and growth time when selecting microgreen varieties for your hydroponic setup.


Congratulations! You now have the expertise and knowledge to grow microgreens hydroponically without soil, utilizing mesh as the growing medium. By following the practical steps and techniques outlined in this guide, you can confidently embark on your hydroponic microgreen journey. Remember to select the appropriate mesh, prepare water-filled trays, provide essential nutrients, manage light and temperature conditions, and practice proper watering and maintenance. With patience and dedication, you will enjoy a bountiful harvest of nutrient-packed, flavorful microgreens right at home. Happy growing!

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