Poor Germination on QuickGreens

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    Dear SPIN Farmers,

    A bit over two weeks ago I planted out 23 Earthboxes with broccoli and radish Quick Greens. The germination has been painfully poor. The heat has been in the mid-nineties during the day and the evenings are in the 70s and 80s. I am attaching a video and any help, advice, and/or explanations for why this has happened and how I can ensure heartier crop production in the future would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much.
    Unity Farm
    Yishi, Israel
    Zone 10b

    Profile photo of Justin

    I think your problem is from temperature of the soil. Broccoli is a cool weather crop and containers usually heat up a lot more then in ground soil. Were these earth boxes in direct sun or in shade? Constant moisture helps. Soaking seeds with some diluted kelp meal and filtered dechlorinated water helps germination a lot. I think if you wanted quick greens/micro greens better to use trays with soil or soil less media like baby blankets. Better use of space and soil. Plus you can do it indoors let the seed sprout under cover and then remove the cover to let it get sunlight or artificial light.

    Sent from my iphone


    Binyamin I noticed that most of the growth is around the watering tube/inlet and in the row that is in line with it too ???? Also in as much as the microgreens are so young and so near the surface do you think that the reservoir is of much use. What about covering the boxes with row cover or burlap laid right on the soil to help keep from drying out until germination and what about providing some shade overall since temps are in the 90’s, brassicas and even radish like cooler temps.

    Just some thoughts.
    Good luck.
    Earth & Skye Farm
    Chicago, IL
    Zone 4

    Profile photo of Ed Garrett
    Ed Garrett

    Hi Benyamin,

    Agree with Patty, for micro and quick greens, the water reservoir in an earth box isn’t any real use. The micro/quick need nearly constant moisture to both germinate and emerge. We use an overhead mist to reduce temps and keep soil moist. Best around 2 – 3 P.M. here in Davis, CA but during germination I also need a short water in the early A.M.

    You can change your soil mix to get some better water holding capacity, but even a slight breeze can cause a major dieback that you won’t recover from.

    For germination, think of misting every couple of hours to keep seed moist. I plant no more than 1/8″ deep (basically broadcast on a raked surface and then use a board to firm the soil so seed gets just barely covered. You can also move your earth boxes into the shade as you don’t need much sun with the temps you are working with.
    Ed Garrett
    Fresh SPIN Farms
    Davis, CA

    Profile photo of Brenda Sullivan
    Brenda Sullivan

    Hi Binyamin

    I realize this a late response to your question about quick greens. I’m currently beta testing one of SPIN’s new forums and your question is posted in one of their forums. So having said that, here is my suggestion to quick greens. I found the self watering Earth Boxes to be inefficient for quick greens. Growing in the container is fine, but for quick greens there must be even moisture. When I make up my trays of quick greens my soil is moist. I do not begin seeding in dry soil its always moist but not wet. When I seed for quick greens I do not seed in rows but instead I scatter the seeds over the top of the soil and I scatter it evenly and thickly. I don’t do this for every seed type, but for broccoli this will work. Once I have germination I remove the cover and water when necessary.

    One other thought…I found that Earth Boxes are great for growing carrots, however, I no longer use the self watering system. I found the soil on top was too dried out which affected the germination and early growth of the plants. I now water all my containers with a hose.

    I hope this helps…

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    Thompson Street Farm LLC

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