Growing microgreens is just one of the ways shipping containers are used for farming.
In fact, shipping containers can grow many different crops, including herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Microgreens are one of the easiest crops that shipping containers can grow.
Almost any food crop can be grown as a microgreen.
Microgreens are crops that are harvested once a seedling develops its first set of true leaves.
In this article, you’ll learn how shipping containers grow microgreens and how you can do it too.
How Does It Work?
In order to grow microgreens in shipping containers, the containers typically have hydroponic systems inside.
Hydroponics is a method of growing crops without soil.
Instead, it uses water mixed with a special fertilizer, also known as nutrient solution.
Typically, the greens are grown on shelves, or towers inside the shipping containers, in order to fit as many plants in 320 square feet as possible.
This is called vertical farming and it’s a very popular way to grow plants while saving space!
We already know shipping containers grow microgreens with nutrient solution, instead of soil.
But what about the light?
The rising popularity of indoor farming has made grow lights effective, affordable and accessible.
Shipping containers use these grow lights, instead of using natural sunlight.
Read our article, “Grow Light vs. Sunlight: Is Natural Light Really Better Than Artificial?” to learn more about using artificial light instead of sunlight to grow plants.
The type of grow light required to grow microgreens is a bit different than what’s required to grow crops to maturity.
Plants need different colors on the light spectrum at different growing stages.
Blue light is used mostly for vegetative stages to establish leaves and roots.
Meanwhile, red light is used for producing flowers and fruit.
So, for example, microgreens need only blue light, while pepper plants need red.
Additionally, shipping containers grow microgreens in a controlled environment, so it’s protected from factors that usually destroy harvests.
These factors include weather, insects, wildlife, weeds and more.
In conventional farming, farmers lose anywhere from 40% to 80% of their crops to insects, weeds, diseases and animals globally.
Plus, the best shipping container farms use controlled environment agriculture (CEA) to control the temperature, humidity and other aspects of the growing conditions.
This makes plants grow faster, stronger and healthier, and results in higher yields.
But how do you actually grow microgreens in a shipping container?
Growing Microgreens in Shipping Containers
Growing microgreens in shipping containers is easy!
Because microgreens are harvested before they get too big, they don’t need much light or care.
This makes them especially suitable for indoor growing.
Once your hydroponic shipping container is set up, all you have to do, is plant your seeds in a growing medium like biostrate or coconut coir.
Most microgreen growers use a 10-by-20-inch tray to hold the growing medium and seeds.
It depends on the type of seed, but generally you should sow only 8 ounces of seeds per tray.
Drip, wick and ebb and flow hydroponic systems are some of the more popular ways to grow microgreens hydroponically.
This is because these systems aren’t constantly supplying water to the roots, preventing the fragile seedlings from rotting.
Alternatively, some growers choose to dip the bottom of their tray in nutrient solution to water the microgreens from the bottom.
This prevents the leaves from getting wet, which can cause mold.
Generally, you should give your microgreens 30 ml of nutrient solution twice a day in the first half of growth and then increase to 60 ml twice a day in the last half of growth.
Different varieties will take different times to reach harvest, but typically 10 days is sufficient.
Microgreens like humidity to be in the 40% to 60% range.
Any higher will cause mold to grow and any lower will make the plants dry out.
To learn how you, or your business, can start farming in shipping containers, visit our website or call 602-753-3469.