Microgreens Podcast - Episode 002
The Benefits of Using Split Seed for Growing Cilantro Microgreens
Click the button to see the related article to this podcast.
(Show notes are not an exact transcript from the podcast).
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Welcome to episode number two of the microgreens podcast.
In today's episode, we will talk about the six benefits of using split cilantro seeds for growing your microgreens.
This podcast corresponds to a recent article on HomeMicrogreens.com, where we compare growing split cilantro seeds versus whole cilantro seeds.
For some reason, cilantro seeds come in two forms. One is called the whole seed, and the other is a split seed.
They call them splits seeds because if you gently break a whole cilantro seed, it actually splits in two, and now you have two viable seeds. Now. I'm not sure why they sell whole and split seeds, but they do.
If you read the article corresponding to this podcast, you'll see that we recommend split cilantro seats.
I'll give you the reasons later on in his podcast.
So I'm not sure why they sell the whole seeds. Maybe some people just prefer to buy the whole seats rather than the split seats.
That's the only reason I can see, but we're going to go through the whole process of what we did for this article and how we tested growing the split seeds versus the whole seats.
If you want to see the article that corresponds with this podcast, just go to HomeMicrogreens.com/002, and it will take you directly to this latest article.
The purpose of this test was to see which was easier to grow the whole seed or the split seed. It doesn't make much sense to carry both seeds to sell or to grow. So why not figure out which of the two cilantro seeds grows best for our environmental conditions.
How We Tested The Cilantro Seeds
The way we did that was first to soak the seeds.
Now, we usually don't recommend soaking cilantro seeds. We found that soaking them will make them germinate quickly, but it doesn't push the end result.
In other words, when we planted trays of soaked and dry seeds at the same time, the soaked seeds will start to grow first, but the dry seeds catch up quickly, and the harvest time is the same, so we don't recommend soaking them.
We did soak them here because the whole seeds we had, had a fungus problem when we grew them previously. And we didn't want that to mess-up the test.
Soaking the Seeds
So we decided to soak and sanitize both the whole and split cilantro seeds.
The way we soaked them was to put both sets of 3.5 grams of seed into a small bowl of water and leave them for about six hours.
Then we rinsed the seeds by putting them in a small screen. We then soaked them again in some water and added 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide. You'll see the peroxide work, and you’ll see the bubbles form on the seeds.
And what this does, is kill any fungus or any bacteria that's on the seed. Then we rinsed them and put them back into a soak, and we let them soak for another hour or so.
After an hour, we rinsed them again with hydrogen peroxide. And then we'd dump them into a container onto some paper towels. The paper towels are damp but not wet and left them that way for three days.
Every morning when I got up, I'd take my finger and stir up the seeds just to get the top seeds that dried out back into moisture and just let them germinate, just like that.
Now at this stage, we did another hydrogen peroxide soak after three days. Any additional fungus or bacteria that may have started to grow this does of hydrogen peroxide killed.
The first thing we noticed was that the split seeds had germinated a lot more than the whole seeds. You could see a lot of little tails. The root starting coming out the seed pod on the splits but very few on the whole seeds
You can see that in the pictures in the article. Again, if you want to see the article, it's homemicrogreens.com/002 or look for the link at the top of the show notes.
So right off the bat, you can see that the split seeds are a little bit better than the whole seeds. They are germinating a little bit faster.
Sowing the Seeds
We just spread them out by hand as evenly as we could across the whole 37.5 square-inches of the tray surface. Then we put them on a shelf, with a plastic lid over the top of the soil, and then put a five-pound weight on the lid and a towel over it all.
This is called the blackout period.
We checked the seeds after two days; they were doing fine. They still had plenty of moisture on them. That's what the plastic cover does; it helps keep moisture on the seeds. And then on day four, we took a look at them. The split seeds had germinated well, and the roots had anchored themselves into the soil. They were trying to stand up straight.
The whole seeds were very crooked, not as many had germinated. The tray just didn't look as full and as good as the split seats.
Plants Under Lights
Again the split seeds were already ahead of the whole seeds in this process. We put them under the lights at this point, and bottom watered them.
So this is another advantage of the HomeMicrogreens tray as there's a planting tray with holes in the bottom and a watering tray to bottom water. We just pick up the planting tray, pour about a quarter-inch of water into the watering tray, and set the planting tray on top. It floats for a little bit then settles down in once the water is drawn upward.
The water goes up into the holes of the planting tray and waters from the bottom.
This way, none of the plants get any moisture on them while they're growing.
We looked at the trays again after two days under the light. And the split seeds, we're doing fantastic. Almost all the seeds have germinated.
They were standing straight up and the tray and reaching for the light.
The whole seeds had germinated very well, but the plants were quite a bit smaller and still pretty crooked. They weren't standing up straight and reaching for the light as the plants from the split seeds.
Now you have to remember with split seeds, and there’s one single plant. So you've taken one single seed and planted them spread out over the whole tray.
With whole seeds, you're growing two plants out of one seed. So there's more soil surface exposed and two plants rooting very close to one another.
The split seed tray will look quite a bit denser, even though they're just as many plants in the whole seed tray.
Here, I think there's another advantage. With split seeds we have spaced them very evenly across the tray. With whole seed, you have two plants growing right next to one another, pushing each other to the side where they have more room to grow.
In the end, you're probably going to get the same harvest mass out of both trays. But I think the plants grow much better when they are spaced out more at the start.
So for the remainder of the test, we just let them grow underneath the lights. When they needed water, we watered them. Both trays got the same amount of water on the same day.
The Home Microgreens Store Sells Split Cilantro Seeds
Seeds come in pre-packaged sizes perfect for the Home Microgreens trays, 5 by 5 trays, 10 by 10 trays, as well as by the ounce.
Click the button to see all of the options.
Finished Growing Out the Cilantro
We went to; I believe it was day 15 or day 18. I'm not sure. Let me take a look.
Yeah. After 15 more days, the cilantro microgreens grown from the split seeds were ready to harvest, in my opinion.
Now the nice thing about cilantro is you have a long harvest time. It takes 18 to 21 days before you can harvest them. But once they're ready to harvest, they'll continue to grow in a tray, and they’ll just get larger. So if you don't want to eat them every day, let them continue to grow for up to 30 or 35 days, even 40 days.
Eventually, the plants get pretty thick in the tray and get yellow inside because they’re planted so densely.
So you have a longer harvest period with cilantro microgreens than you do with most other varieties.
All right. Back to the test. So after 15 or 18 days, I forget which it was, the plants from the split seeds definitely look better. They're definitely taller. The plants in the middle were pushing the ones on edges outside the edges of the tray.
While the whole seed tray was still contained within the edges of the tray, they hadn't started to push themselves out.
That was the test. Both sets of seeds were treated the same from the beginning and were allowed to grow to see which one grew better.
Now, of course, as I said in the article, the pink elephant in the room is the fact that they're not the same seeds. The split seeds did not come from the whole seeds. In other words, I didn't take the whole seeds, break them in half, and put them on the trays. There were two different lots of seeds. So there could be some differences there.
However, both sets of seeds were packaged to sell in the same year. And I've had good luck growing both of them by themselves. I didn't have any problems with the whole seeds at all, as far as germination goes. So I think just as long as you have high-quality seeds, this test is viable.
So besides the fact that the seed lots were different, both sets of seeds are treated the same. All right now to the part, you’ve probably been waiting for the results.
Results - Findings
What did we find?
Well, right off the bat, I found previously, not necessarily with this test, because we took care of that with the sterilization, but we found that the whole seeds tend to grow fungus a little bit more than the split seeds do.
I think it's just the way the seeds are formed. I just think water gets trapped inside the whole seed, and it's just easier for the fungus to start growing on the whole seed more than with the split seed. That's just my guess. I'm not sure, but that's just been my experience. So right off the bat, we have that.
Now from test results.
Benefits to Split Seeds
I found six benefits from the split seeds.
First, it was apparent that the split seats germinated quicker and grew faster than the whole seeds.
I didn't mention this in the article text, but one of the other things that we found is that with split seeds, it's really easy to spread them out evenly across a soil surface. With whole seeds, they tend to one not come out of the shaker bottle.
You pretty much have to use your hands to sow them. They're round, and they do find the divots in the soil. So you end up with two or three seeds together, which generally isn't a big deal for microgreens but remember, there are two seeds in one pod. Now you have six plants growing, basically from the same spot in the tray.
The split seeds are much easier to plant.
The blackout period is much shorter for the split seeds. They were ready in four days, and they probably could have come out in three days while the whole seeds were barely ready in four days; and probably we should have waited five days before removing them from the blackout period.
The split seeds germinate faster. They get into the soil, and they start growing.
We saw that once they're out of the blackout period and under the light, the plants from the split seeds were much straighter. They were more erect, and they grew directly for the light much quicker than the ones from the whole seeds, the whole seeds were sort of laying down and were curled up, the stems were crooked. They were interlocked with each other.
In the beginning, the plants from the split seeds looked a lot better under the lights than the plants from the whole seeds.
In conclusion, we found that plants grown from the split seeds grow quicker. They matured faster, and they were ready to harvest quicker. Now, this isn't so important for the home grower. Unless you're in a hurry to get them harvested but remember, as long as a plant's in a tray, it's taking up space where something else could be growing.
That's why you have a lot of commercial growers don't grow basil or cilantro. Because they just take so long to mature that they could be growing two crops of a faster-growing variety in the same space. They can't get twice as much money for cilantro microgreens as they can for a radish, kohlrabi, or a broccoli microgreen. They are losing money with the longer growing varieties.
So time does matter. For the home grower too. You have limited space. You have limited time. The longer they're in the trays, the more care you have to give them. So getting a plant up, growing, and ready to harvest quicker is much better for everyone.
Split cilantro seed is the only cilantro seed that the Home Microgreen Store sells.
Here are the reasons we recommend split cilantro seeds.
- We found that they have fewer fungus issues.
- They germinate quicker
- They grow straighter.
- They're easier to put onto the trays more evenly spaced.
- They grow faster.
- And they are ready to harvest well before cilantro microgreens grown from whole seed
There, you have it.
Those are the benefits of growing split cilantro seeds compared to wholes cilantro seeds.
I hope you enjoyed this podcast.
Please leave a comment on any of the questions below.
What has been your experience with cilantro microgreens?
Have you grown them before?
Have you had problems with cilantro?
Do you use whole seed, or do you use the split seed?
Do you pre-soak your seeds?
Have you used food-grade hydrogen peroxide to sterilize them?
We’d just love to hear any comments that you may have.
So again, thank you for listening to the microgreens podcast.
Stay tuned for a new episode next week.
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Now, before the next show, plant your next tray of microgreens.