Microgreen Varieties, Podcasts

Episode 018 Are You Throwing Money Away? Growing Lettuce Microgreens

Microgreens Podcast Episode 018 Growing Lettuce Microgreens

Are You Throwing Money Away By Putting To Much Seed On Your Trays?

We planting lettuce microgreens at four, really five, but you'll see, different seeding densities. The higher amounts of seed are based off of recommendations by Kevin at Epic Gardening

You will see that his rate (1-ounce per 1020 tray) are stupid high, and in order to grow that many seeds you would have to harvest at a very young age and the cost would be extremely high. 

In this episode, we test Epic Gardening's seeding rate and lower it by 7-times getting a lower cost per ounce of microgreens harvested. 

The transcript to the podcast is presented below

Buying Lettuce Seeds

The Home Microgreens Store sells lettuce seeds in packets for trays of baby leaf lettuce. 

We will be adding lettuce in larger packages soon. 

Growing Lettuce Microgreens and Baby Leaf Lettuce Indoors

We have articles and videos on how to grow lettuce indoors to baby leaf size. 

You can see these articles by following these links. 

Podcast Transcript

Below is a transcript of Episode 018 of the Microgreens Podcast - Growing Lettuce Microgreens. Are You Throwing Money Away?

Are you costing yourself money by planting your microgreens too densely? That's the question we're going to answer today.

Welcome to the Microgreens podcast. I'm your host, Todd Marsh, and I'm on a mission to help you teach you and motivate you to grow flavorful and nutritious microgreens in your home.

Each Microgreens podcast is meant to supplement content published in homemicrogreens.com.

But in reality, this show is more about sharing with you the joys of growing your own food. Not only is it more nutritious, but seeing those plants grow will lift your spirits, bring a smile to your face, and give you a positive outlook on life.

Let's get started.

Welcome to the Microgreen Podcast.

Today, I'm really excited about this podcast. As a matter of fact, normally, I don't do these podcasts until I write an article, get all my thoughts down, and then I do a podcast based on that article.

But I just ran some data, and I'm so excited that I thought I'd give the people that are listening to my podcast through all the players the first chance to hear this because this is kind of exciting.

And I think this will work regardless of what microgreens you planted.

So let me get started with this.

So what I did was I planted four trays of lettuce microgreens. Yes, I guess lettuce microgreens are a thing.

I usually grow them to baby leaves, but people do want to grow them as microgreens.

So if that's what they want, that's what I will do.

But I didn't know what to recommend for a yield. Oh sorry, not a yield.

I didn't know what to recommend for a seeding density.

So I did what everyone does.

I went to the internet, and I listened to the dogma and an expert.

Someone getting 300, 400,000 views to their website a month told me to put an ounce of seed on a 1020 tray.

Well, I didn't really want to do a 1020 tray.

So I did a 1010 tray, and I put down 14 grams of seed, which is basically half an ounce, onto that tray.

And it was ridiculously stupid thick.

So I went through the whole process, and this will be in the video that I do. I might actually put this video on YouTube, too, because I think it's kind of important.

But I redid the experiment, and this time I planted four trays, four 10 by 10 trays, and I put down...

Oh, this is a professional podcast, and I have beeps going on in the background. What is with that? Well, anyway, you're probably going to hear the dog too, but let's back to the experiment.

So on these four trays, I use soil. I put down ten grams of seed, seven grams of seed, four grams of seed, and two grams of seed.

Now I just want to tell you that off the bat, when I plan a 1020 tray, so twice as big, for my baby leaf lettuce, I only use 0.8 grams.

This is way more dense than I would for baby leaf, but we're trying to grow microgreens here. So let's see what the results are.

So I planted some Bronze Mignonette, which is actually a butterhead, maybe not the best lettuce to use for microgreens.

You might want to do more with a romaine, and I'll test this a little bit later. But I have this seed. I grow it in the garden.

I love it.

And I think it's going to make a great baby leaf, which is going to be the next experiment. But anyway, on with this one.

I planted this Bronze Mignonette onto my 1020 trays.

I figured out what I would sell these seeds for in the Store. And since we're putting quite a bit of seed on, let's just say we're going to buy it by the ounce. I would sell an ounce of Bronze Mignonette currently, at $5.29 an ounce.

An ounce contains 28.35 grams. So that comes out to about 19 cents per gram.

Let's just go. I'm going to go right down the spreadsheet because I'm really excited about this.

So for a tray planted at 14 grams, that cost you $2.61.

For 10 grams, it cost you $1.87.

For seven grams, that's $1.31.

For four grams, it's 75 cents.

And for two grams, it's 37 cents.

Now that's just for the seed. I'm not talking about the soil, but we're just talking about the seed here. The soil is going to be a constant, right? So it’s going to be the same price per tray regardless of cost.

I grew these microgreens maybe a little bit longer than I should have. I just wanted to see they turn out. I grew with them for 20 days, and there was definitely a leaf size difference.

You're going to see in the article and video when I publish it how these seeds reacted to the density. It was kind of cool to watch, kind of cool to see. I guess I couldn't really watch it. I wasn't watching them grow, but I could see day to day how the habits grew.

And as expected, the trays that were planted more densely had smaller leaves and a little bit less color.

But what we really are concerned about is the yield.

In other words, how many ounces of lettuce microgreens do we get out of those trays per the seeding density?

Now we're going to divide cost of the tray by the yield.

Today, actually just about an hour ago, I finished up harvesting these microgreens, weighed them all out, shot a video of each. That'll be in the YouTube video. Either way, the YouTube video will be embedded into an article on homemicrogreens.com.

So here are the yields.

Now I grew the one that I planted 14 grams in previously, and I don't remember off the top of my head how long I let it grow. But I got 10.4 ounces out of that tray.

But let's go down to these next four are what shows my point here because these were all grown at the same time, same conditions. They're all watered at the same time. So pretty much as even as I could get them. And you'll see they're underneath a Mars Hydro TSL 2000 light. So they got plenty of light.

The yield on a tray where 10 grams of seed were planted was 9.7 ounces.

The yield for the seven grams was 9.3.

So already, you can see that you've wasted basically three grams of seed by planting them so dense at 10.

The four grams, four grams of seed yielded 7.1 ounces of lettuce.

Here we are, a professional again, and I have my cell phone dinging. Look at that, text. We'll put that on silent. Sorry about that, folks.

So the four grams... Hey, this is live. I'm not going to edit this out. This is just how Home Microgreens is. So the four ounces yielded 7.1. I'm sorry, the four grams yielded 7.1 ounces.

And the two grams yielded 5.5 ounces of lettuce microgreens.

Let's go over that again. So from ten, seven, four, and two, we got 9.7, 9.3, 7.1, and 5.5 ounces.

What was the cost of the harvested lettuce by the ounce? And again, this is just a seed. This doesn't count in the soil.

So for the 10 grams, each ounce of lettuce microgreens cost you 19 cents.

For the seven grams, an ounce of lettuce microgreens costs you 14 cents.

For the four grams, an ounce of lettuce microgreens costs you 11 cents.

And for the two grams, an ounce of lettuce cost you only 7 cents.

So are you throwing money away by over-planting your trays?

My guess is most people, and if you're following the rates on the internet, people are throwing tablespoons of seed on a tray. You’re putting way too much seed on there. If you put less seed on, you would get maybe not as much yield, but your cost of yield would be a lot less. And I think even though this is lettuce, I think this would translate into any of the microgreens as well.

And this is sort of why my whole system of home microgreens is to find the perfect seeding density. In other words, I want to grow a great microgreen for that size, whatever size tray I'm growing. I don't want to grow stems. I want to grow leaves and good microgreens. And I think this experiment right here, this lettuce yield microgreen, this lettuce microgreen yield experiment pretty much shows that.

So basically, if you plant just two grams of seed on a tray compared to 10 grams, your yield is going to be 12 cents less per ounce.

So I think that's pretty significant, right? I mean, this is what it's all about.

If you're overseeing your tray, if you're going off what the internet says, and remember, this guy on your internet has videos, and he has hundreds of thousands of views on his videos. And he's telling you to throw a freaking ounce of seed on a tray.

It's just ridiculous.

You're just wasting seed.

You're throwing money away.

That's my opinion. And I think it'll be your opinion when you see this video. And again, I just want to go over this data.

What we did was throw lettuce seeds on 10 by 10 trays. And I planted them, the following seeding density: ten grams, seven grams, four grams, and two grams of seed.

Let them grow the same, same condition, same light, same temperatures, same water, same watering time.

I just harvested them. And if you put 10 grams of seed on a 10 by 10 tray, your yield of lettuce microgreens is 19 cents an ounce. However, if you put just two grams of lettuce seed on a 10 by 10 tray, your cost of an ounce of lettuce microgreens is only 7 cents.

So I think most people, by just throwing tablespoons and teaspoons of seed onto their trays, are just throwing money away. You're just growing stems.

You're not growing a good product. And your yield at the end is going to be a lot less per whatever volume of seed you're putting on the tray.

So I just wanted to get this quick podcast out there.

I thought this was pretty interesting.

I might do a follow-up podcast when I write this whole thing up. And I just wanted to give my listeners, the people who are listening to the Microgreen podcast, an opportunity to get this data before I actually publish it.

It might be two to three weeks before I get this data, or this video is done and up on the internet.

But I hope you have a great day. And if you're looking for any seed, don't forget to go to the Home Microgreen store.

Today is Saturday, right after Black Friday, and I am running sales. So if you go to the website, you can click on and enter your email. You'll get a coupon sent to you. So again, you can go to the Home Microgreen store, get your little coupon discount for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and save some money.

I hope you all have a great weekend and we'll talk to you soon.

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 MakeGardeningEasy.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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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.

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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! 

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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. 

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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.