Microgreens are great to produce indoors, and their harvest results in some unexpected results. Microgreens are extremely flavorful, colorful, and nutritious. Even though microgreens are small in size, they have more nutritional content than even full-sized plants. Some are having up to 100 times the nutrients than their bigger counterparts.
Growing microgreens is pretty easy. They can be grown inside, hydroponically, and without any hassle. All you need to do to begin is to choose a decent microgreen soilless medium and start farming.
Choosing the right microgreen grow mats is necessary because the microgreen mats material and quality affect the crop. They affect the way they are cultivated and the way they produce looks and tastes.
If you’re wondering how to buy hydroponic microgreen pads and how to choose the best microgreen grow mats for you, you’re in the right place. Here, we will detail the different microgreen growing pads and review some microgreen mediums for easy cultivation.
Our Favorite Microgreen Soilless Mediums
There are different categories of microgreen growing mediums. All of them must be understood differently to choose the best microgreen grow mats for your next batch.
Given below are a few different kinds of hydroponic microgreen mat. Along with the types, we have given some product reviews that should help you choose the right match for your microgreen farming needs.
Hemp Microgreen Mats
Hemp microgreen grow mats are great for quick production. Their hydroponic growth is not much different from soil growth. A great thing about hemp hydroponic microgreen mats is that they can retain decent quantities of water.
Most hemp microgreen mats are perfectly dense that allows the seeds to germinate properly. They shouldn’t be used as a medium for microgreens that take longer to harvest, though. This is because the medium starts to compost quickly naturally.
In some scenarios, hemp mats can add the hemp’s natural Omega 3 into the microgreens. This increases the nutritional value of the plants.
Given below are some hemp microgreen mats that you can buy.
This hemp fiber microgreens soilless medium is perfect for small crops like wheatgrass, micro herbs, sprouts, and microgreens. This is a pack of 40 microgreen growing pads that can fit into a 5 x 5” tray. 8 of these pads can fit into a 10 x 20” tray. They can also be cut to fit your growing tray perfectly.
These grow pads are perfect for a sustainable, cleaner, and faster growth of crops. This medium is made of natural, compostable, and biodegradable hemp. It provides a strong and light growth environment for the seeds to grow in.
- Professional quality
- Easy to use
- Do not have the best water retention
These pre-cut pads are made to hold the optimal amount of water for microgreen cultivation. These microgreen growing pads are pH neutral and are made of completely biodegradable and compostable hemp.
With these pads, you do not require to put any additional treatment on the plants. These hydroponic microgreen padscan absorb up to 1050% of their weight.
These mats are great for adolescent roots. Microgreen seeds can set roots within these mats in a single day under the right pressure conditions.
- Compostable and biodegradable
- Highly absorptive
- Super absorption can make microgreens mold
This is a pack of 10 natural hemp grow pads. They are the ultimate microgreen soilless mediumfor routine use. These mats are made of sustainable hemp fibers that do not have any chemical interference at all.
These mats can hold a lot of water in them. There is no need to water the mats every day. They are biodegradable and compostable but can also be used for longer periods as the pads will not compost before harvest.
- Can be used for up to a week-long cultivation process
- Highly absorptive
- Cannot be used for more than a week
Coco Husk Microgreen Mats
Coco husk microgreen mats are the oldest and the most popular soilless medium available for microgreen farming. These mats are extremely sturdy and make harvesting easier. Coco husk mats are the best microgreen pads for small seeds such as radish and broccoli. They are not as efficient for bigger seeds like pea and sunflower.
Coco husk mats have high water retention. So much so that if you presoak them for a day before seeding, you would not have to water them daily. Even without the presoaking, they do not require misting more than once a day, unlike other mediums.
Since coco husk microgreen grow mats are extremely sturdy, they can be a little difficult to cut and fit into the tray. They create a lot of mess while cutting.
The microgreens are grown in this medium to develop an earthy coco shell smell and taste, which gives the product a unique quality. These hydroponic microgreen pads have high oxygen capacity, which results in a better nutritious value of the produced microgreens.
If you plan on growing small seed microgreens, you should consider the following products.
These mats are designed to fit just about anywhere with an easy to cut option. They can fit into cubes, baskets, slabs, and flood trays. They are suitable for growing wheatgrass and small microgreens.
These mats have excellent water retention and draining systems. They do not absorb extra water allowing the plant to not whither. There is no need to mist these hydroponic microgreen padsfrequently either.
These mats are 100% organic and virgin and are omri listed. The organic coconut fiber and safe rubber roots result in organic and thriving produce. These sheets can be used to grow microgreens both indoors and outdoors.
- Harvest is completely organic and pure
- High water retention prevents roots from drying
- The mats are too thick and require a deep tray to cultivate microgreens
- The coco husk leaves an unpleasant smell in the harvesting space
These are organic mats that are made of coconut fiber. The mats are evenly distributed and can keep the soil, microgreen, and tray well moist for a long time. The even distribution also results in an even volume of production.
The ZeeDix Coco Coir Fiber mats are made of organic coconut husk that is ideal for microgreen growth. The organic growth that can be produced through this microgreen soilless medium is exemplary.
- Superb water retention
- Made of organic coconut husk
- The mats are extremely thick
- Roots do not set place easily
These microgreens grow matsmeasure 19.7 x 11.8″ and can be cut to fit your trays. They have good water retention but can get extremely damp and do not have a drainage facility. This can make microgreens lose their natural crispiness and might even wither.
Since these mats can also be doubled as reptile carpets, they are very densely weaved, and the microgreen seeds take roots to it with difficulty. You can still expect decent produce of radish microgreen with the help of these mats.
- Good water retention
- Can be cut easily
- Extremely densely weaved
- No drainage outlet
Bamboo Microgreen Mats
Bamboo is a relatively new medium for microgreen cultivation. They have begun to gain popularity due to their 100% biodegradable and natural properties.
Just like bamboos themselves, these microgreens grow mats have excellent water retention capability. They are eco-friendly and leave no residue or mess behind. They are also very easy to use since they do not require any additional nutrients for optimum growth.
The microgreen growing pads feel like soft t-shirts and are very gentle on the seeds. However, this property requires careful spreading on the tray since the pads tend to accumulate. If that happens, you will not be able to spread the seeds evenly and get a lot of undergrowth at harvest.
The microgreens soilless mediumdoes not leave any taste into the microgreens, nor does it change their nutritional values.
If you believe that this medium suits your needs the best, you can check the following product.
VegBed is the only company that produces bamboo-based microgreens growing medium. These hydroponic microgreen pads are made from pure and sustainable bamboo fibers. Depending on the compost system being used, these mats are easily biodegradable within a few months.
Due to the ease of growing microgreens with this medium, you potentially save a lot of time that would otherwise have been devoted to preparing, seeding, blacking, harvesting, and cleaning. These hydroponic microgreen pads do not leave any residue and are easy to clean after harvest.
Some microgreens like the Purple Kohlrabi can be cultivated to grow a luscious tray full within 10 days. Other microgreens such as radish can take even fewer days. This microgreen soilless medium is exceptionally quick and effective.
The mats are weaved in a way that the seeds do not take too much time to germinate and catch roots and can easily sustain plenty of watering without withering.
Much like the experimental paper roll medium, these mats do not leave any coco or soil residue on the microgreens. This makes the harvest ready to use in their most fresh state.
- These mats are 100% natural and have no chemical involvement
- Easy to clean up
- Harvest is ready to use
- Exceptional water retention
- The only bamboo-based microgreen grow matsthat exist
- Even though the seeds catch roots quickly, a lot of stray seeds get wasted as they get stuck on the tray top while germinating.
Biostrate Grow Mats
BioStrate mats provide the optimum environment for adolescent roots. BioStrate’s microgreen mats are biodegradable in industrial-grade composting facilities. They soak water in their thick fiber of biopolymers and natural substances.
The only manufacturer of this kind of hydroponic microgreen pads is BioStrate themselves.
Biostate’s biopolymer and natural fiber combined material are ideal for microgreen farming. This is so because the material is thick enough to retain enough water but not so thick that roots can’t break through them.
This microgreen soilless medium is ideal for hydroponic growth of sprouts, microgreens, sunflower seeds, radish, and microherbs like basil, among others.
These hydroponic microgreen padsare clean to use and are made of very light material. They are pH balanced and do not require external chemicals to aid plant growth.
- Retains moisture well
- Great for root germination
- Fluffier for firmer growth
- Easily trimmed to fit any tray size
- Retains roots’ oxygen level
- Grows mold quickly
- Not ideal for long cultivation process
- Requires extra misting
Microgreen cultivation is a relatively new practice. But with the scientific backing that it has, it has quickly grown to be a very popular method of crop cultivation. While you will not find too many hydroponic microgreen pads options, there are still some nasty products available.
Since we wanted to give you a list of the best microgreen grow mats, we did not delve into other mediums such as cellulite, paper roll, peat, and synthetic soil.
All the products reviewed above are the optimum mediums available. You can choose the one that suits your needs the most. With all the above-mentioned products, you will find that they are the perfect microgreen soilless medium that you can grow microgreens in.
How to Choose the Right Microgreen Soilless Medium?
While all the above-mentioned products and mediums are perfect for growing microgreens hydroponically, each one has its limitations and advantages. The right medium has to be chosen according to your cultivating habits and needs.
Microgreen cultivation is not a difficult task. With the right medium at hand and the correct technique, there is hardly anything that you have to do. Most of what is done from a cultivator’s end are seeding, harvesting and trays shifting. The microgreen mats handle the rest of the seeds themselves.
Given below are some points that will help you determine which microgreen soilless mediumwill work the best for you.
1. Extra Labor
Even though you need not put too much work into growing microgreens, a little extra effort can make a huge difference in your cultivation. This extra labor is added by the kind of medium that you will use.
Loose mediums like soil and peat create a luxurious harvest, but they also result in an extreme mess. Soil and pet leave residue on the microgreen stems that have to be thoroughly cleaned before consumption. The seeding and watering processes involved with premium but loose mediums like soil are also tedious.
With the help ofmicrogreen grow mats; however, you eliminate the need to put in extra effort into your cultivation. The produce of hydroponic mediums is still premium, but they might not match up to soil productivity. However, they are much healthier to consume immediately.
The use of microgreen mats makes microgreen production easier. This is what has led to a boom in microgreen cultivation in the first place.
2. Growing Space
The kind of microgreen growth medium that you should use is highly dependent on your microgreen growing space. If you are planning to grow microgreen outdoors, you can use both soil and microgreen mats.
If you plan on growing indoors, however, hydroponic microgreen mats are the right choice for you. This is because these mats are extremely clean to use. They do not create a mess and can be handled in any situation.
Mat mediums are also perfect for microgreen growth because hydroponic cultivation does not require natural sunlight and warmth. You can create a blackening and a lightning area in a backyard room where you can cultivate hydroponic microgreens year-round.
You could also use microgreen grow mats to cultivate at places such as kitchen counters, workstations, etc. This makes the cultivation process easier and more monitored.
Microgreen matmediums like coco husk and hemp are great at water retention. They do not require regular watering and can grow well with daily light misting. Mediums like soil, bamboo, and biostrate, on the other hand, require continuous watering.
Excessive watering leads to the risk of early composting and stale water stink. If not done properly, excessive watering ruins the resulting microgreens.
If you want not to have to constantly worry about the amount of water you have and will need to put in, you should opt for hemp or coco husk mediums.
Draining should also be considered while thinking of watering. While some mediums get too dry and do not allow seeds to grow, mediums like thick coco husk retain too much water. Without proper drainage, this could lead to less crispiness and freshness in the growing microgreens.
Microgreens are themselves extremely rich in nutrients. Extra nutrients can cause extra consumption of microgreens potentially harmful. If you want to maintain the natural balance within the seeds, choosing microgreen mats that do not add nutrients is great.
Hemp can add Omega 3 to the microgreens. Some microgreens like radish might need this nutrient. Therefore, growing radish on the hemp medium is a good idea. However, seeds that are already rich in Omega 3 should not be grown on the hemp medium.
Other microgreen grow mats do not add any kind of nutrients to the microgreens. Therefore, they can be used to grow any sort of microgreen without causing the worry of fiddling with the product’s natural nutrient balance.
5. Compostable and Biodegradable Mediums
When we work with the environment, we must work for the environment. It is necessary to use compostable and biodegradable mediums that do not harm the planet that sees a fresh stock of the microgreens you grew.
From the above-mentioned 4 microgreen soilless mediums, hemp is a tried and tested compostable medium. The reason why hemp cannot be used for seeds that take long to cultivate is that the medium starts to compost quickly.
Coco Husk and Bamboo microgreen mats are also biodegradable and compost quickly. However, they might take a few months to biodegrade, depending on the soil profile.
Biostrate medium, too, is biodegradable. However, these microgreens grow mats that can only compost in industrial composting systems. This takes the biodegradability points away from this medium since industrial composting systems are not readily found everywhere. Besides, taking a few microgreen sheets to an industrial plant for composting seems a bit extreme.
Compostable mediums are also beneficial since the compost can be later mixed in the soil. This mixture can be used for various cultivations, increasing the productivity of the microgreen soilless medium.
6. Natural Smell and Taste
While producing any kind of crop, the most important thing to remember is that there is nothing more important than the taste, smell, and texture of the harvest.
You shouldn’t work with mediums that impart their taste or smell into the microgreen if it can be helped. This is important, especially for commercial cultivators who are going to compete with others’ harvests for profits.
Hemp hydroponic microgreen pads are ideal for the same purpose. They are natural and do not leave any trace of themselves into the microgreens. Coco husk pads leave an earthy and sometimes unpleasant smell into the microgreens, which is not alright.
Bamboo microgreen mats take away the natural crispiness of the plants. If you are growing microgreens that are not naturally crispy and require a lot of water anyway, you could consider this medium.
Microgreens are wonderful produce that have changed the face of nutrient values in plants. They have recently seen a boom due to their attention from gourmet chiefs and fitness enthusiasts. As a result, we can see a huge gain in microgreen cultivation techniques.
Microgreens were primarily grown in soil; however, that medium has been replaced by the new and better microgreen mats. Microgreen mats allow microgreen to be grown hydroponically. This has drastically improved the eco-friendliness and cleanliness of the cultivation process.
There are many microgreen medium options to choose from. The most popular hydroponic soilless mediums include bamboo, hemp, and coco husk. Since all mediums differ from one another on one basis or another, choosing the right medium on the basis of your requirements is necessary.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.