You have dreams of waking up early on your very own Virginia farm to work in your gorgeous garden but you worry that your farm is too small. Don’t worry. You don’t have to have acres and acres of planted fields to have a profitable garden on your farm. Microgreens have become extremely popular in recent years popping up in restaurants and health food stores across America. A microgreens farming business is definitely within the realm of possibility for you. A farm of this type is relatively easy to start and maintain and is a highly lucrative business. They are easy to grow and don’t take a lot of space or require a lot of effort to get started. Read on to learn how you can start a microgreens farm of your own.
What are Microgreens
Microgreens are the latest in health trends and you see them mentioned frequently in health related venues. You may be thinking to yourself “what is so special about microgreens? Aren’t they just bigger sprouts?” The short answer to that is no. Microgreens are what sprouts grow into – sort of the toddlers of the plant kingdom. After the sprout stage, the leaves that grow are called cotyledons or seed leaves. These leaves do not resemble the leaves of the plant and are not microgreens but wait a little longer and true leaves will appear. These true leaves which do resemble the leaves of the mature plant are microgreens – now you are ready to harvest your bounty.
Why Grow Microgreens
Growing your own food is more nutritious, better for the environment and can make you extra money if you turn it into a small business. Growing microgreens takes up very little space so even a small farm can create a profitable microgreens business. All you need are some simple tools and a decent sized building on your farm where you can keep your seeds until they sprout. After they begin to sprout, you can move them outdoors if you live in a temperate climate or during warm months. If you wish, you can allow them to continue growing indoors. In addition to being easy to grow, the simple microgreen is extremely nutritious. The plants contain a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals than their full grown counterparts; according to the New York Times microgreens are 40 times as nutritious as the mature plant. They are also a high value crop and can get you $32 – $48 per pound which makes growing and selling microgreens on your Virginia farm a very lucrative business.
How to Start Growing Microgreens
In order to grow your own micro green garden, you will need some basic items. Seeds and soil (preferably organic), shallow containers with holes, plastic wrap, plastic domes or paper towel and a water bottle or battery operated spray mister for keeping the soil and plants moist. To plant your garden, you will need to place a small amount of soil (about 1 – 2 inches) in your chosen container/s – next sprinkle seeds on top and gently press the seeds into the soil. Sprinkle a little more soil on top to cover the seeds and your microgreens garden is complete. Now mist the soil to ensure it is moist, cover the whole thing with plastic wrap, a plastic cover or paper towel. If using paper towel, you must mist paper towel daily to keep it moist. Your garden will remain covered in a dark environment for 2-3 days until you see seeds begin to sprout. Once sprouts appear it is time to remove the covering and take your plants outside or if they remain indoors ensure your plants get plenty of sun. If your building does not get a lot of sun, you will need to purchase a grow light for your plants. In 2-3 weeks (depending on the plant) your plants should have their true leaves and be ready to harvest.
Things To Consider
Having a microgreens farm can be a very rewarding and lucrative business but do require time commitments. If you are also working a fulltime job you must look at your schedule and decide if you have enough time to make growing microgreens a side business. You will need to set aside one to two hours a day to care for your plants and a bulk of your free time will be needed for marketing purposes. You will need to live relatively close to a city or an area that has a variety of farm to table restaurants to help grow your business. You will be selling to higher end farm to table restaurants, farmers markets/health food stores and catering companies.
Starting your own Virginia Farm business may seem like a big undertaking especially for those whose full time job is not farming. However, starting a farming business growing microgreens is a less expensive and time consuming way to enjoy a little farming side hustle. So if you have always wanted to start a profitable garden business on your Virginia farm, take a trip to your local greenhouse and gather up the items needed to grow your very own microgreen garden. The rewards will be delicious.
Are microgreens a sustainable agricultural product?
Yes. According to beyondmicrogreens.com, Growing your own microgreens will help lower your carbon footprint because microgreens require fewer resources than traditionally farmed food.
Do microgreens grow back after cutting?
No. Once planted the seed will sprout and grow as long as you allow it (sprout, microgreen, full grown plant) but once cut the seed will not have the energy required for regrowth.
How long do microgreens last after harvest?
Freshly cut microgreens should last about two weeks. If you purchase microgreens from a store they will last approximately ten to twelve days in your fridge.