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In this article, I share my process of growing buckwheat microgreens in an AeroGarden, using the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit. Or perhaps I should say that I’m going to attempt to grow buckwheat microgreens in an Aerogarden.
You see, all the information I’ve read states that buckwheat microgreens don’t grow well hydroponically. And of course, an AeroGarden uses water to grow everything, including microgreens. So, this may or may not work.
I’ve decided to write this article as I go through the process, documenting the entire process of growing buckwheat microgreens in a AeroGarden.
Pro Tip: I buy all of my sprouting and microgreen seeds from True Leaf Market. Use this link to get $5 off your first purchase: http://stockingmypantry.com/TLM5
Growing Buckwheat Microgreens in an AeroGarden
Without further ado, let’s get into my experience with growing buckwheat microgreens in my AeroGarden Harvest.
Soaking the Buckwheat Microgreen Seeds
In my experience with growing microgreens in an AeroGarden, it’s been unnecessary to soak the seeds before starting to grow them. However, most of the information I’ve read on growing buckwheat microgreens says to soak the seeds for at least 12 hours before planting them.
In my customary style, I decided to experiment, and soak half of the seeds. On the left side of the AeroGarden, I’ll use soaked buckwheat microgreen seeds, and on the right, I’ll use unsoaked buckwheat microgreen seeds.
Two Types of Microgreen Growing Medium
In addition to experimenting with not soaking vs. soaking the buckwheat microgreen seeds, I also decided to experiment with two different types of microgreens growing medium.
On the left, I used silicone dehydrator sheets as the growing medium for the soaked buckwheat seeds. On the right, I used Micro-Mats, for the unsoaked seeds.
To save money on growing AeroGarden microgreens, I’ve experimented with different types of growing medium. Read this article to see my first experiment with using Micro-Mats in an AeroGarden.
Pro Tip: I recommend using a spray bottle to get the Micro Mat wet before adding the seeds. Micro Mats are pretty fragile once wet, so it’s best not to move them once they are wet. Putting the Micro Mats in dry and using a spray bottle to soak them works well. If the Micro Mat starts to curl up as you spray it, flip it over, and continue misting it until it flattens out.
Why I Chose Different Microgreens Growing Medium
I decided to use the silicone dehydrator sheets for the growing medium with the soaked buckwheat seeds because it doesn’t retain water. My thinking is that with the buckwheat seeds being soaked, they don’t need to sit on a soaked pad. This is especially true since the microgreens grown in an AeroGarden are frequently flooded with water. In contrast, I felt that the unsoaked buckwheat microgreen seeds may benefit from sitting on a sopping wet grow pad.
Note: In the photo below, you can see that the Micro Mat doesn’t completely cover the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit growing tray. While it’s not a perfect fit, since the AeroGarden felt costs around $1.20 per piece and the Micro Mat is less than $0.25 each, I feel it’s a fair trade off.
AeroGarden Buckwheat Microgreen Seed Density and Amount
In most cases, when I grow microgreens in my AeroGarden, I use just a teaspoon or two of seeds. I decided to use a larger amount of buckwheat seeds because they are much larger than many microgreen seeds. As a general rule, the larger the microgreen seed, the larger the volume of seeds.
Add Domes and Put Light in Highest Position
In most cases when you start seeds in an AeroGarden, you put the light in the lowest position. However, when growing microgreens in an AeroGarden, it’s important to put the light in the highest position.
I also put a dome on each side, to hold in moisture. I’ll leave the domes on until the seeds germinate and grow enough to reach the top of the dome.
Water and Nutrients when Growing Microgreens in an AeroGarden
Prior to adding the growing medium and seeds, I filled the AeroGarden basin with water, up to the fill line. I didn’t add any nutrients to the water. I typically add nutrients on day five, when I change out the water.
If you’re new to growing microgreens in an AeroGarden, be sure to check out my article, The Ultimate Guide to Growing Microgreens in an AeroGarden, Using the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit.
AeroGarden Buckwheat Microgreens, Day 2
At the beginning of day two, after a full day’s “growth,” this is what the buckwheat microgreens looked like. You can see that at this point, there is no obvious change to the seeds.
One thing to make note of is that when I checked the seeds last night, the seeds on the right that hadn’t been soaked looked dry on top. So, I used a spray bottle to spritz them with a bit of water. Since then, they have looked moist.
Buckwheat Microgreens, Beginning of Day 3
Here’s what the buckwheat microgreens looked like at the beginning of day three, after two full days of growth. You can see that particularly on the right, the microgreens are beginning to germinate. There is a tiny amount of germination on the left side as well. But the buckwheat microgreens on the right are doing better.
Remember that the seeds on the right were NOT soaked prior to adding to the AeroGarden. This is adding to my growing conviction that it’s best not to soak even large microgreen seeds when growing microgreens in an AeroGarden.
It’s still too early to tell, but I’m starting to have some hope that it’s possible to grow buckwheat microgreens in an AeroGarden.
AeroGarden Buckwheat Microgreens, Day 4
Here, on the beginning of day four, there is a lot of growth on the right side, where the microgreens are growing on a Micro Mat. Remember that this is the side where I didn’t soak the buckwheat seeds before planting. At first glance, I was concerned that mold was starting to grow. However, upon closer inspection, the fuzz appears to be root hairs.
While it may look like there isn’t much happening on the left side, quite a few of the buckwheat seeds have sprouted and roots are growing. It’s just harder to see them against the white growing medium.
Since the growing medium on the right side is very wet, I decided to remove the dome on that side, to avoid mold growth. While I’m quite sure that the fuzz on the right side is just root hair, I don’t want to take any chances when it comes to growing mold.
At this point, roots are beginning to grow through the growing medium on each side. I’ll take a photo of the roots tomorrow, so you can see what’s happening beneath the surface.
AeroGarden Buckwheat Microgreens, Day 5
I had mixed feelings when I looked at the buckwheat microgreens today, the morning of day five. You can see that especially on the right, they are growing taller, and some of them are starting to leaf out. But overall, they look a bit sickly to me. I’m starting to have genuine concerns that my experiment of growing buckwheat microgreens in an AeroGarden is going to fail.
Pro tip: If you want to grow hydroponic microgreens, check out my article, The Top 10 Hydroponic Microgreens.
The good news is, roots on both sides are growing through, which is a good sign. They aren’t as dense as I’d like them to be. This may be because many of the seeds haven’t yet germinated. But roots are always a good sign, so I haven’t given up yet!
As is my custom, on day five, I changed the water out and added one cap of AeroGarden nutrients (that I purchased on Amazon) to the water. The nutrients may or may not be necessary. There is certainly debate in the microgreens community about the use of nutrients. I choose to do it at the halfway point of growth. The instructions with the AeroGardens Microgreens Kit says that nutrients are optional but may be helpful. So, I figure I may as well use them!
AeroGarden Buckwheat Microgreens Day 6
Micro-Mats hydroponic growing pads – 5\” x 5\”. Made from biodegradable and compostable… [More]
I was feeling a bit discouraged yesterday, but when I got up this morning, I was greeted by much healthier-looking buckwheat microgreens!
This is especially true on the right. The unsoaked buckwheat seeds that are growing on the Micro Mats are doing a whole lot better than the ones on the left.
You can see there are still some ungerminated seeds, but there are also some that are growing, but just aren’t leafing out yet.
While I’m not yet ready to call this a victory, not soaking the seeds and using the Micro Mats seems to be a good strategy if you want to grow buckwheat microgreens in an AeroGarden.
AeroGarden Buckwheat Microgreens, Day 7
Here it is, the beginning of day seven, and you can see the progress of the buckwheat microgreens that I’m growing in my AeroGarden. The ones on the right that are growing with Micro Mats as the grow medium are still outpacing the ones on the left. However, it’s possible that the superior performance of the microgreens on the right is due to not soaking the seeds ahead of time.
I do see that some of the leaves are somewhat yellow. According to my research, it’s not unusual for there to be some yellowing of buckwheat microgreen leaves when the hulls first fall off. They need sunlight to green up. Since I’m growing these in my AeroGarden, they should get plenty of light.
AeroGarden Buckwheat Microgreens Day 8
By day eight, the buckwheat microgreens had filled out nicely.
To answer the question, “Can you grow buckwheat microgreens in an AeroGarden,” the answer is yes!
While most people recommend growing buckwheat microgreens in soil, you can successfully grow microgreens in an AeroGarden. To grow buckwheat microgreens in an AeroGarden, don’t soak the seeds before planting. To avoid mold growth, remove the domes within two days after germination.
If you enjoyed this article, you will likely also enjoy these articles:
- Using Handy Pantry Microgreens Growing Mats in an AeroGarden
- 5 Easy Ways to Save Money on an AeroGarden
- AeroGarden Microgreens Growing Medium Alternatives
- The Ultimate Guide to Growing Microgreens in an AeroGarden
- Growing Broccoli, Radish and Alfalfa Microgreens in an AeroGarden
- Growing Sunflower Microgreens in an AeroGarden