If you are considering planting microgreens, it may seem that you should not need to worry about washing them. After all, they are “organic” and “naturally” grown plants! In fact, some people mistakenly believe that you cannot wash them because they have already been washed before planting them in the garden. The truth is that microgreens need to be washed before planting them in the soil, but there are a few reasons for washing that are worth mentioning.
Most gardeners do not realize that microgreens grow without soil. They are actually “soilless” plants, even though they technically do not require soil to be successful. Microgreens can be planted in any well-drained soil conditions that exist in your area. If you plant microgreens in a poorly drained area, such as a clay-based soil, without proper preparation for later planting, your microgreens will not survive or thrive.
When growing microgreens, you have to make sure that they are getting every nutrient and mineral that they need. Some of the nutrients that they are missing including potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. When growing microgreens with these important nutrients, you create a very good environment for them to grow properly. If you do not provide good growing conditions for your microgreens, they will not survive or thrive. So washing them off when they are about to flower or sprout is absolutely necessary.
If you find that your growing microgreens are without soil, you might want to consider removing them from their pots before you spread them on your garden bed. To do this, remove the true leaves of your plants. Remove the spore that you can see inside the leaves. You can use a pair of small scissors or a pair of garden shears to do this.
If your microgreens have grown well outside in the sun without soil, you probably have no concern with washing them when you plant them back into the garden. Most species of true leaves grow well with almost any soil type, including potting soil. However, true leaves don’t have nearly as much water or nutrition in them as other parts of a plant do. If you are concerned about washing your microgreens when you plant them back into the garden after planting them without soil, consider planting them in a hole two to three times their original size with a wide piece of wood, like a board or plastic box cut to be a six foot by six foot sections.
Some varieties of true leaves will not grow well if they are eating too much new leaf food like nectar. For this reason, you should ensure that your plants only get the amount of nectar that they need daily. Many gardeners believe that eating true leaves and flowers will encourage the growth of more, but true leaves and flowers will usually do fine on their own without additional fertilizer. Do not wash your growing microgreens when you plant them because this is a waste of time and energy.
If your microgreens still appear green even after eating, they probably need to be washed. Wash your microgreens as often as needed, but do not wash the leaves too often, as this could cause the leaves to rot. Microgreens can survive without washing for up to two weeks without rotting. However, if you find that the growth and development of your micro green plants have slowed dramatically without washing, you may want to clean your plants before they begin to show signs of rot or drying out.
When you wash your microgreens, make sure that you use warm water and a gentle detergent. Do not use any type of bleach or strong disinfectant for your microgreens without consulting your local gardening supply store. Also, do not soak your plants in water for too long; microgreens do not like being submerged in water. Microgreens need to be washed just once each day and then can be re-watered the same way that you normally do. You may also want to rinse off any extra leaves or dirt that you removed from your plant with a few tablespoons of distilled water each day until the microgreen starts to appear healthy again.