Bamboo Grow Matting: A Possible Breakthrough For Better Microgreens

Bamboo grow matting is a clean, non-messy, and easy-to-ship alternative to using a potting mix as a growing media for microgreens.

The problem has been a lack of performance, with bamboo grow matting and any matting no matter what it's made from.

In the first article in this microgreen grow mats series, we compared both bamboo and hemp grow matting to our favorite potting mix.

In the end, microgreens grown in the Home Microgreens Potting Mix outgrew both types of grow matting. Even with the addition of organic liquid fertilizer.

However, the testing revealed some variables that need to be addressed, which is the focus of this article. 

We think we may be on to something here!

grow matting

Listen to an Audio Version of the Article

We don't just read the article word for word in the audio version; it's a stand on its own piece of content that includes more details on the topic. These can include more tips, opinions, details, data, and information on this and related topics. 

The Microgreens Podcast Episode 017

Bamboo Grow Matting Take Two

As we mentioned in the first article of this series, we don't want to give up on the bamboo grow matting. 

For us here at Home Microgreens, bamboo has a few advantages over hemp grow matting as an alternative to potting mix.

Side Note

As a side note, we'll never stop growing microgreens on soil. That's how seeds are meant to grow, and nothing can beat a good potting mix.

However, we can see that there are situations where a grow matting is best for people.

Hemp Grow Matting

Although we have shown in a two-part article that growing a good tray of microgreens with TerraFibre™ hemp matting is possible, we don't like working with hemp.

Review of the First Test with Bamboo Grow Matting

In the first test, we noticed that the depth of the tray may be cause for slower or lack of growth in the microgreens (see below).

microgreens grown on grow mats

In the photo above, the microgreens grown in the tray on the right are on Home Microgreens Potting Mix, the left-most tray is TerraFibre™ hemp matting, and the middle two have bamboo grow matting. 

Notice that the microgreens grown on soil are flared out. Those raised on hemp have started to flare out, but those on bamboo are pretty much vertical. 

This is most likely because the depth of the tray has contained the growth.

microgreens under the lights with both microgreen grow mats and soil

We did raise the grow matting to the same height as the soil, so the light hitting them was the same intensity.

But the sides of the trays contain the growth and possibly the amount of ambient and reflected light they are receiving.

Changes to the Second Test with Bamboo Grow Matting

In the second grow matting test, we compared (we always compare a new method to the best way we know) growing Purple Vienna Kohlrabi seeds on a 1010 tray and on Home Microgreen Potting Mix in the Home Microgreens Trays.

To test our hypothesis that the sides of the tray are retarding growth, we choose the  larger 1010 tray to provide a more open area for better light penetration. 

Below is a photo at the start of the test after the blackout period.

using bamboo grow matting

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Parameters of the Bamboo Grow Matting Test

The trays are seeded with the same ratio of seed. The Home Microgreens tray with 3.0-grams of seed and the 1010 tray with 8-grams of seed. 

The media is moistened, as are the seeds after sowing. 

Both are put into the blackout in complete darkness with a lid and weight on top of the media. We used a solid 1010 tray to cover the larger tray adding a 5-pounds weight for the HM tray with the tray lid and a 2.5-pound weight.

The photo is when the trays came out of blackout 3-days after planting.

The seeds sown on soil are growing much larger plants at the start.

Watering During the Test

As with the hemp matting, organic liquid fertilizer is added to the water used on the bamboo grow matting. The microgreens on the soil are given plain tap water. 

The fertilizer is Ocean Solutions at a rate of 1-oz per gallon of water.

Lights Used During the Test

We placed both trays on the same shelf, with the planting surface of the 1010 tray brought up to the same level as the soil.

The lights are two Barrina 24-watt LED grow lights. These are working well for us on our new small rack system (more on this in a future article).

Result of the Second Bamboo Grow Matting

The results of the test are promising!

The height on the microgreens grown on the bamboo grow matting are similar to those grown on the Home Microgreens Potting Mix.

growing microgreens on bamboo grow matting

We removed the bamboo grow matting from the tray to get both planting levels about the same height. The bamboo matting on the left might be a little higher.

Closer Inspection

A closer inspection shows that the leaf size on kohlrabi microgreens grown on the bamboo matting is smaller.

kohlrabi microgreens

The Kohlrabi microgreens on the left are grown on bamboo grow mats, while those on the right are grown on soil.

The leaf size of those grown on soil is, on average larger than those produced on bamboo.

Summary of the Bamboo Grow Matting Test

The results of the test are promising. 

It appears that the bamboo grow matting will grow microgreens reasonably close to those on the soil. 

There are some differences, though, some described in the article, others visible in the images, and some we will need to convey to you.  

Bamboo Grow Matting

The good and sort of bad

Pros

  • Clean - no mess
  • Light weight easy to ship
  • Easy to store
  • Indefinite shelf life
  • Easy to sow seeds on
  • Retains water well
  • Easy to harvest

Cons

  • Need to use fetilizer - one more thing to buy
  • Leaf growth is a bit smaller
  • Need the right container
  • Difficult to water without overwatering
  • Does have a moldy odor
  • Roots have a more difficult time penetrating mat
  • No second use for matting

The bamboo grow matting is an excellent alternative to growing microgreens on soil.

For one reason, it's less messy than hemp. No fibers falling and sticking to everything.

It is easier to ship and store than soil.

Given space and light, microgreens will grow very similar to those grown on soil.

However, fertilizer will need to be purchased and used. Same for hemp matting.

It appears that roots don't penetrate the bamboo matting as well as they do on hemp or soil. This may slow growth down.

We are unsure grow matting can grow every variety of microgreens.

It's easy to overwater the bamboo grow mat. We made sure to come back after a few hours and dump extra water out of the tray. This probably could be lessened with practice and experience.

When we harvested the microgreens, we smelled both the mat and the tray of soil. The bamboo grow mat did have an odor to it. However, not enough that we didn't use the microgreens. The microgreens grown on soil had no smell.

Do You Have a Pinterest Microgreen Board?

If not, why not start one! Use this pin as the first or add to your existing boards.

using bamboo grow matting

What's Next With Bamboo Grow Matting?

Stay tuned, more testing.

Get Updates when New Articles are Published

Now that we know that the tall sides of Home Microgreens trays affect the growth of microgreens grown on mats, we will try smaller, low-sided trays using both bamboo and hemp grow mats.

Our Recommendations

Currently, we still recommend growing microgreens on a good potting mix.

Both TerraFibre™ hemp mats and bamboo fiber grow matting show promise as long as a few rules are followed.

If using a grow mat, use a low-sided tray. Also, a liquid fertilizer will need to be added to the water if you expect similar growth to microgreens grown on soil. 

home microgreens

Home Microgreens Store

All the supplies and microgreen seeds you need to grow beautiful and nutritious microgreens at home!

Our prices are as competitive as the larger seed sellers. We also have our own soil, microgreen kits, and trays!

End Note - How are the Fibers Made?

Here are a couple articles on Bamboo and Hemp fibers. 

As far as sustainable practices, we need to research this some more.

Growing bamboo for fiber.

How are hemp fibers made?

Author of this Article is Todd

Todd is the founder of Home Microgreens & the Home Microgreens store. He also writes for several other websites, including MyViewFromTheWoods.com.

His microgreens have appeared in Better Homes & Garden magazine and other websites.
Todd worked at a large farm market, garden & nursery center for 20-years. Somehow he snuck off to become a geologist and professor before coming back to his senses to write & lecture about microgreens and gardening. He will be in the garden, trout stream, or on a mountain trail with his Springer Spaniel Caden when not at the computer.

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Home Microgreens Also Offers the Following

Microgreen eBook

A comprehensive microgreen ebook that details the principals of growing microgreens at home. Several different methods and processes are detailed.

The ebook comes in two versions, one version includes instructions to grow the most commonly grown microgreens. The second includes access the microgreen vault, a database containing more varieties and information with images taken throughout the stages of growth.

Video Courses for the Home Grower

The Home Microgreens Video Course is perfect for the person that wants to grow one or more trays of microgreens for home use. Trays of microgreens also make great gifts! 

The course includes short, easy to follow videos and checklist for each step along the way.

Step-by-step video instructions are included for the most commonly grown microgreen varieties. 

Grow for Profit Course

Do you want to learn how to grow microgreens for profit? Grow microgreens as a side hustle, retirement income, or maybe even as an occupation. 

It's possible to earn a few hundred to thousands of dollars a month. 

The Grow for Profit Video Course shows you what is involved to set up a microgreens business, how to setup your grow area, and instructions on how to grow many different varieties. 

The Home Microgreens Store

The Home Microgreen Store has all the supplies you need to grow microgreens at home. 

We stock complete microgreen kits, trays, professional potting soil, miscellaneous equipment and of course microgreens seeds.

Microgreen kits make great gifts, home school or rainy day projects, and are fun for the whole family.

Instructions are included as well as email support.

Our kit and seed prices are very competitive if not the lowest on the internet.

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