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The Secret to Removing the Seed Husks from Bull’s Blood Beet Microgreens

We love Bull’s Blood Beet microgreens. Look at the color of those microgreens in the cover photo and the photograph below. 

They’re spectacular!

Beet microgreens have more going for them than looks. They taste distinctively like beetroot with earthy overtones.

earthy bull's blood beet microgreens

However, beet microgreens do have one downfall. The problem is the seed husk or hulls often stay on the leaves of the greens.

Beet seeds are enormous compared to most other microgreen seeds. Not only are they large, but they’re tough, hard, and woody. 

So when the husks stay on the greens, the hulls make them un-edible unless you take the time to go through the harvested greens and pick off the seed husks.

Bull's Blood Beet microgreen

Does Pre-Soaking The Seeds Help?

Previously, we tested if soaking beet microgreen seeds improved or sped up germination before planting. You can read that article by clicking this link. We’ve included links to all the articles discussing beets in the highlighted box presented later in this article.

Pre-soaking the seeds doesn’t help remove seed husks. The photos below show the results of the test. We grew two trays of beet microgreens side by side—the seeds of one tray we pre-soaked for about 24 hours. In the second tray, we planted seeds that were not soaked.

home microgreens sells seeds

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soaked beet microgreen seed husks

Seed husks were removed from a 38 square-inch tray of beet microgreens, where the seeds were pre-soaked—between 40 and 50 husks.

husks from beet microgreens where the seeds weren't pre-soaked

Seed husks were removed from a 38 square-inch tray of beet microgreens where the seeds weren’t pre-soaked. There are between 40 and 50 husks.

After harvesting the microgreens, we picked through the greens and counted the seed husks that remained attached.

Even though there appear to be more seed husks in the first photo, the difference is only two or three husks.

So soaking the seeds didn’t loosen up the husks and removed more as the plants grew.

Back to the drawing board.


bulls blood beet pinterest

A Reader Encouraged Me To Try Something

The reason we like writing these articles and making YouTube videos is the feedback we receive. The input encourages us, tells us if we need to explain a process better, or snaps us out of our world and back to reality.

A reader did the latter by sending us an email suggesting covering the Bull’s Blood Beet seeds with soil.

Covering seeds with soil isn’t new to us. We do it with pea seeds as it anchors the plant in the soil better than top planting. Although admittedly, it can make more of a mess as the soil can be lifted up and out of the tray.

So we don’t usually recommend burying seeds under the soil or even with vermiculite (why buy another soil media?). 

We didn’t even think about covering up the seeds until it was suggested.

Here’s what we did.

How We Now Plant Bull’s Blood Beet Seeds

As you saw in the video, we plant Bull’s Blood Beet seeds under a layer of potting mix. The coconut coir potting mix is heavy enough to remove the husks as the plants emerge.

At harvest, the only husks on the microgreens are those attached to weaker and late-germinating plants for some reason. These numbers in the single digits and aren’t a problem to cull from the microgreens.

Bull’s Blood Beet Microgreen Planting Progression

Bull’s Blood Beet Seed

beet microgreen seed

We use 5.2-grams on a 37.5 square-inch tray, planted on a coconut coir-based potting mix.

planted bulls blood beet seed

Soil is lower, about 1/4 of an inch below the top of the tray.

We lower the initial soil level to a 1/4 of an inch below the top of the tray. This is to the second ledge on the tray for the Home Microgreens Tray.

The soil is leveled, compacted, and wetted as we suggest with any other regular microgreen seed. The only difference is the height of the soil in the tray.

dry soil placed over the top of bull's blood beet microgreen seeds

A dry potting mix is placed over the top of the beet seeds. The seeds are entirely covered by 1/8 an inch of soil.

The beet seeds are then covered by about 1/8 an inch of dry potting mix.

wetting beet microgreen seeds

The soil over the seeds is wetted with a spray bottle, ensuring all the added soil is moist.

The dry mix is then leveled, gently compacted and thoroughly wetted with water. The tray is then placed in a blackout period, including adding weights to the top—the same as we grow most other varieties of microgreens.

The Microgreens Podcast Episode 020

How to Grow Beet Microgreens

Blackout Period

pea shoot seeds with weight on them

During the blackout period, weights are added to the top of the tray and covered with a tea towel.

Take a peak after 48 hours to ensure the soil’s surface is still moist. If not, give it a spritz or two with the spray bottle. Then cover the tray again with the weights and towel.

Bull’s Blood Beet Germination

Most likely, it will take 3-days before there are any signs of germination. As shown below, only a few will be breaking the soil surface.

beet seeds 3-days after planting

Bull’s Blood Beet seeds germinate three days after planting.

It’s nice to know that the beets are growing, but again, place the tray back into the blackout.

Removing Bulls’ Blood Beets From The Blackout

In the example shown herein, the tray of beet microgreens stayed in the blackout for 5-days. When the plants reach this stage (see photo below), it’s time to place the beets under a light regardless of how many days have passed.

beet seeds 5-days after planting

When the beet plants reach this growth stage, they must be removed from the blackout.

Yes, they look crunched and twisted at this point. But the plants will straighten out once they receive light.

Bull’s Blood Beet Microgreens After 1-day Under Light -Day 6

I’m amazed at how quickly microgreens respond to light. Beets are no exception; they spring upward from their twisted and contorted life in the dark and beneath weights to stand upright and start photosynthesis. 

Bull's Blood Beets 6-days after planting

Day 6 – Bull’s Blood Beets have distinctive red stems and form bright green leaves after one day under lights. This is six days after planting the seeds.

No Seed Husks Remain On The Beet Microgreens

As you see, no seed husks are remaining on the plants. I won’t say this is always the case, as sometimes late germinating seeds or weak plants retain seed hulls.

But for the most part, covering beet seeds with soil will remove the seed husks or hulls from the microgreen plants.

Beet microgreens are much easier to harvest and prepare when they don’t retain the seed husks.

Covering the beet seeds with soil is how we will grow beet microgreens from now on.

Caring For Bull’s Blood Beets Until Harvest – Don’t Overwater

Caring for the growing beet microgreens is the same as with other microgreens, with one exception.

We’ve found that beet microgreens don’t use as much water as other microgreens.

In fact, we’ve had some problems where the excess water wasn’t removed from the watering tray, and the plants suffered. 

over-watered-bull's-blood-beet-microgreens

These Bull’s Blood Beet microgreens have been over-watered. Most likely affecting the roots to the point they can’t be saved.

The plants start to wilt and lay over. Most likely, this is because of root damage. We’ve not been able to bring plants like this back to health.

Be careful with watering; it’s best to water less but more often. 

With Careful Watering Bull’s Blood Beet Microgreens Are Beautiful!

Below is a timeline (after day-6) of the Bull’s Blood Beet microgreen growth stages.

Click on any photo to enlarge the size.

Beet microgreens 10-days after planting

Day 10 – Beet microgreens are developing more green leaves. Stems always remain brilliant red.

Bull's Blood Beet microgreens 13-days after planting

Day 13 – Beet microgreens are filling out as well as growing taller. These could be harvested in a pinch, but it’s best to wait.

beet microgreens 16-days after planting

Bull’s Blood Beet microgreens 16 days after planting. These microgreens are ready to be harvested. They have an earthy beet taste with spectacular color that will liven up any dish.

Want To Grow Bull’s Blood Beet Microgreens?

You can use the links below to purchase a Bull’s Blood Beet Microgreen Kit or microgreen seed to grow in your trays.

Planting Bull’s Blood Beet Microgreens – Summary

Below are the steps we use to plant beet microgreens. The primary purpose of changing our standard method is to remove the tough seed husks or hulls that can stay on the microgreens.

This method removes the husks from the seeds, making them easier to process once the microgreens have matured.

Steps to Plant Beet Seeds

  • Don’t fill the tray with soil to the top. Instead, keep it 1/4 to 3/8’s inches below the rim.
  • Spread dry beet seeds (no need to soak) on the level, moistened, and compacted soil surface. Click here to see how much seed to use.
  • Cover seeds with dry soil to the top of the tray—level and slightly compact the soil. Water the soil until the newly added soil is moist.
  • Place the tray into a blackout period for 3 or 4 days.
  • Once the beet seeds have germinated and started to grow (see photos above), place the tray under a light.

Growing Beet Microgreens After Germination

Once the beet seeds have germinated, treat them like any other microgreen except for watering.

Be sure to water beet microgreens less often for best results. They appear susceptible to root rot if the tray is too wet.

That’s all there is to growing beet microgreens. The method explained above produces spectacular Bull’s Blood Beet microgreens without the troublesome seed husks remaining on the mature microgreens.

Give them a try; they taste great and add much color to your plate! 

Let us know how this method worked for you. Come on back after giving it a try, and leave a comment below. Everyone learns when the community provides feedback.

Author

  • Todd

    Todd is the founder of Home Microgreens & the Home Microgreens store. He also writes for several other websites, including MyViewFromTheWoods.com. 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. When not at the computer, he can be found in the garden, trout stream, or mountain trail with his new Springer Spaniel Caden.

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