Learning 2 Slow Down and ‘Do Less’

As an office worker, my day is often filled with countless tasks large, small and miniscule. My inbox and to-do list are full of requests, tweaks and fixes. In the frenetic pace of the workday, tasks are often completed in minutes or hours.

So when it comes to growing microgreens that take a week or two to grow, the simple act of slowing down can be a great challenge. Even though microgreens are among the quickest seed-to-harvest crops around, moving at the pace of the plants means chilling out a bit. And don’t get me wrong, that’s one of the best parts of growing!

This all came to my attention yesterday, when I realized I had maybe meddled prematurely with my arugula by unstacking the containers, misting them and then re-stacking them daily rather than just allowing them to stay stacked and germinate in place for a few days.

We’ll see how things go with this new, more hands-off approach. Perhaps I’ll have to tweak it a bit by giving the soil a bit more moisture at the outset, or maybe I’ll find that it doesn’t work as well as I had hoped. But for now, I’ll try to just let the seeds do what they were made to do.

Just like Paul Rudd’s character Kunu says in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” sometimes the best thing is to “Do Less.”

Arugula seeds

UPDATED: Sticky Seeds

UPDATE: Thanks to a kind Redditor who gave me some feedback on this post, I think I’ve seen the mistake that I made below.

Instead of unstacking my trays everyday for a misting, I will try instead to let the seeds germinate for several days in place using just the moisture of the soil.

I’ll write a separate post following-up on how that goes. For posterity, I’ll leave the original post below with an additional edit below the post.

One of the key reasons I’m writing this blog is to document the successes and failures, however small, of a newbie microgreen grower.

And while there is a wealth of information out there, nothing beats learning from your own mistakes. Which brings me to the point: I kinda screwed up my first attempt at arugula.

You see, in my previous grows I had stacked my two takeout containers filled with soil during germination and added a pretty hefty candle on top of the top container for extra weight. This had worked well for broccoli, radish and peas in particular. With the broccoli and radish I had lost a few seeds here and there that stuck to the top container, but overall I still had plenty of seeds left over.

But when I went to check on my recently planted arugula seeds to give them a misting of water after a day or so, I noticed that some pretty large clumps of soil and seeds from the bottom container stuck to the top container. All told, about half of my seeds were displaced from the soil!

It may have been that the soil on the bottom container was too moist and sticky or that the arugula seeds are too delicate and small and so they’re more easily taken from the surface. Maybe a combination of both.

EDIT: In retrospect, the error appears to be in removing the top container for a watering and disturbing the seeds prematurely. In the end, I decided to re-stack the containers and let them germinate that way until they’re ready for sunlight.