If you’ve come across the term ‘microgreens’ and are fond of corn, you may be quite curious as to what these are and how to grow microgreens some for yourself. Well, it’s lucky for you that microgreens are fairly easy to grow and it doesn’t take an expert’s hand to get them to sprout.
While there are many ways, means, and methods by which you can grow microgreens at home, some are more effective than others. Also, take note here that corn sprouts and corn microgreens mean the same thing.
Once these sprouts – or microgreens – grow for a few more weeks until you can tell a noticeable height difference, you can now call them corn shoots.
In this article, we’ll go through all the basics of how you can grow corn microgreens at home right from the equipment you’ll need to the techniques you can use to make them grow faster.
Let’s dive right in.
Equipment Needed to Grow Corn Microgreens
Let us first examine some basic supplies and equipment you’ll require to grow corn microgreens at home.
- Soil – This almost goes without saying, you’ll need a good amount of clean, healthy soil to grow your corn microgreens. Ideally, the soil you use should be free of any chemical pesticides or insecticides.
- A Grow Mat – You can use a grow mat that holds water well to boost your microgreens’ growing process. Such mats are available in a host of sizes and are usually made of hemp. Make sure you opt for a hemp mat only as these are known to be easier to use and more durable than other similar mats.
- A Tray – You would ordinarily find a tray that supports microgreen growth in a local store or online. Such trays could either be heated (electronically) or similar to regular trays you use around the house.
- A Clean Water Source – You cannot hope to grow healthy plants – microgreens or otherwise – if you don’t provide them with a ready, clean source of water. Make sure you water the plants enough but not too much; you can achieve this by having adequate control over the water source.
- Access to Light – Having adequate sunlight is one of the main factors that determine how quickly and healthy your microgreens will grow. While you can use equipment such as grow lamps, these can be quite costly and natural light will work just as well.
- Seeds – Before you purchase any other equipment, make sure you purchase good-quality corn seeds from a trusted source. While you may find such seeds in your local store around the corner, you may find the same in online stores as well.
- Alternatives to Soil – If you don’t prefer using soil to grow your corn microgreens, you can use alternatives or substitutes such as wood shavings as well.
How to Grow Corn Microgreens in Soil?
Since this is the most common method of growing microgreens from corn and other seeds, let’s get into it before we explore other methods.
Step 1 – Prepare the Soil
Your best bet when it comes to growing healthy microgreens is purchasing pure, organic soil that’s conducive to plant growth. You’ll find soil pretty much anywhere but finding pure, organic soil can be quite a task if you’re living in an arid region. A readymade potting mix should be ideal for corn microgreen growth.
Also, make sure the soil you use is free from any chemical pesticides or insecticides. When you have the soil, fill your tray or container with about 1.5 inches of it and scatter it properly to create a flat surface.
Step 2 – Wet The Soil
After you’ve chosen the right kind of soil and prepared the tray – or pot – with it, you’ll need to wet the soil lightly. You can either add some water to the tray before you add the soil or do the same after the soil has settled well.
Make sure you don’t too much water to soak the soil completely. That can do more harm than good for your seeds.
Step 3 – Prepare The Seeds
Corn microgreens are one of the many kinds of microgreens that sprout properly only if you soak the seeds before you plant them in the soil. While opinions among experts differ on how long you need to soak the seeds for them to sprout quickly, but the majority agree that 12 hours should be adequate.
Unlike many other microgreen seeds, corn seeds do not sprout in water alone – they require soil. They will require a good amount of fresh air circulation when they’re soaking so make sure you place them near an open window during the same.
Moreover, you can expose these seeds to indirect or direct sunlight while they’re soaking as well. This may well ensure they grow into healthy and flavorful plants.
Step 4 – Plant The Seeds
After following the aforementioned steps to the T, you can finally go ahead and plant the corn seeds into the soil you’ve prepared. We’d like you to note here that corn microgreens don’t grow very well if submerged in water.
Therefore, 1-2 inches of soil and some water should suffice when it comes to providing the ideal environment conducive to microgreen growth.
You don’t want there to be any puddles in the tray so make sure you have small drainage holes at the bottom before you plant the seeds. Corn microgreens are among those that don’t require a lot of space to grow.
So, you can ideally add one or two cups of seeds in a regular-sized grow tray or pot. Once you plant the seeds, you’ll need to bear in mind that they require darkness. Therefore, cover them for a day or two once they’re planted.
However, take note here that covering them will cause the corn to turn sweeter than it would if it were exposed to natural light during the initial growth phases.
Step 5 – Water The Plants
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to make sure your plants have an adequate supply of freshwater to help them grow and sprout quickly. Until the microgreens have firmly planted their roots in your tray of soil, you’ll ideally need to water them once a day.
Once you notice the roots have grown firm in the soil, you can stop watering the plants and water only the soil instead.
Step 6 – Harvest The Corn
Corn microgreens take a surprisingly small amount of time to grow. While other microgreens can take weeks, corn microgreens take only 3-4 days to grow.
However, you can leave it to sprout for longer if you don’t enjoy the flavor after the initial harvest.
How to Grow Corn Microgreens with A Grow Mat?
Let us know to explore the steps involved in using a grow mat to grow corn microgreens. Grow mats are ideal for those who would like to grow corn microgreens at home under controlled conditions.
Step 1 – Find The Ideal Location
If you want to use a grow mat for corn microgreens, make sure you opt for the perfect location to place the mat in your home. You want a spot that’s got adequate ventilation and exposure to some natural lights. Also, you’d want to make sure you have a clean source of water at hand to use for the plants.
Another important consideration here is placing the mat in a spot around the house that doesn’t see much activity. If you allow your plants to take root and start growing then accidentally knock the tray over, that’ll undo a lot of your hard work.
The best place for a grow mate is on a windowsill that’s not being used for any other purpose.
Step 2 – Use A Clean Tray
You can’t just place your grow mat on a windowsill or other surface, you’ll need to place it inside a tray first. The tray doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a tray you ordinarily used around the house will do well enough.
Make sure you clean the tray and check that it doesn’t have any dirt, insects, or anything else on it before you place the mat on it. As for the size of the tray, you can use a 10 X 12 tray if you want to grow up to 2 cups of corn microgreens as they don’t require a lot of space to grow.
Step 3 – Soak The Mat
As discussed in an earlier section, a good-quality grow mat is typically made of hemp or some similar material. Hemp mats are the best for growing corn microgreens as they absorb just enough water your plants will require.
After placing the mat firmly in the tray, you can add water to it to make it float a little. Let it soak up as much as possible for 8-12 hours, then get rid of the excess.
Step 4 – Plant The Seeds
After you’ve followed the previous steps carefully, you can now go ahead and plant your corn seeds in the mat. As discussed, several times throughout this article, corn microgreens do not require a lot of space to grow.
Therefore, you can scatter these seeds along with the mat as you please without having to worry about piling them on top of each other. Unlike various other microgreens, you may have to cover your corn seeds if you want them to grow sweet.
Step 5 – Spray Water
Since a grow mat absorbs water well enough to provide your plants with all the moisture they need, you won’t have to add too much water to them as they’re growing. A light spray for a day or two on the plants should suffice.
Step 6 – Monitor Their Progress
Using a grow mat for microgreens can be a tricky process at the best of times, but even more so in the case of corn microgreens that don’t require much moisture, to begin with.
Uncover the seeds every few hours and check if they’re receiving enough ventilation to prevent the formation of mold on your grow mat. If you oversaturate the plants, you won’t have corn microgreens to harvest at all.
Step 7 – Harvest The Corn
Finally, you can go ahead and harvest your corn after following steps 1 – 6 diligently. Corn microgreens are ready for harvest after a mere 3 – 4 days of planting them.
You can go ahead and pluck a few microgreens from the mat and taste them every few days to taste them. If you enjoy the flavor of an early harvest, then you can go ahead and harvest the lot after 3 – 4 days.
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How to Grow Corn Microgreens in Wood Shavings?
Using wood shavings to grow microgreens is by far the most eco-friendly method of growing microgreens. This is a good alternative in many more ways than just being eco-friendly, though.
Using wood shavings can be messy, but it’s an easy method to follow all the same. Wood shavings used to plant microgreens are generally very fine and so these are available only in select feed stores.
Step 1 – Choose The Ideal Container
Planting corn microgreens in wood shavings is not all that different from planting them in soil. You can use either a tray or a pot to plant the microgreens in wood shavings.
A pot would be better as there’s less chance when you’re filling a pot with wood shavings rather than a tray or other kind of flat container. If you don’t have a pot at home and don’t want to purchase one, you can just as well use old containers.
Doing so is a more eco-friendly option than disposing of old plastic containers you can find no alternative use for. However, as mentioned earlier, make sure the container you choose is squeaky clean before you fill it with wood shavings.
Step 2 – Add The Shavings And Seeds
Once you’ve picked out the ideal container, it’s time for you to add the shavings first, then the seeds. You won’t need more than 1 – 2 inches of wood shavings for growing corn microgreens.
You won’t have to worry about packing too many corn seeds in a pot or container as these don’t require as much space to grow as other microgreens do. Once you place the seeds in the shavings, cover them for a couple of days but make sure they’re receiving adequate ventilation as well.
Step 3 – Observe Their Progress
After successfully, planting the seeds, you will now be able to water them once a day. Once the seeds have taken root in the shavings, you can water the shavings instead of the plant as the plant will absorb all the water it needs from the shavings themselves.
We reiterate that you’ll need to monitor and observe the progress of your microgreens as they’ll be covered initially. You’ll need to ensure they’re getting fresh air while covered or you risk the formation of mold in the container.
Step 4 – Harvest The Plants
You’ll find that your corn microgreens take the same amount of time to sprout when placed in wood shavings as they do when placed in soil or on a grow mat.
Therefore, you can begin harvesting your corn microgreens 3 – 4 days after you’ve planted and watered them.
How to Grow Corn Microgreens on Growing Paper?
In this section, we’ll explore yet another method by which you can grow corn microgreens successfully. Using growing paper is ideal for corn microgreens as it allows you a greater degree of control over moisture than other methods do.
These are also known as filter papers and are a much cleaner option than using wood shavings to grow microgreens.
Step 1 – Pick The Right Paper
You will need to look for growing paper that’s specifically designed to grow microgreens if you want your corn seeds to sprout. While you can use some regular filter paper to grow microgreens, these are not as effective as growing paper.
After you get your hands on some growing paper, cut into the shape and size required to fit the tray in which you’ll be planting the corn microgreens.
Step 2 – Prepare The Tray
Since the growing paper will work best when placed inside a tray, choose a tray that’s large enough to fit about two cups of corn microgreens. Once you find the right tray, make sure it’s clean and free of any insects or pests before you place the growing paper into it.
Step 3 – Soak The Paper
As you would with a grow mat, you’ll need to soak the growing paper in water before you go ahead and plant the seeds in them. Since the paper doesn’t take very long to absorb water, we’d say an hour or two of soaking growing paper should suffice to prepare them for microgreen growth.
After you’re done soaking the paper, make sure you get rid of the excess water left in the tray.
Step 4 – Plant The Corn Seeds
Once you’ve prepared the tray and growing paper, you’re now ready to plant the corn seeds. You simply scatter the seeds across the tray and cover them with a cloth. Make sure you leave enough space for air circulation under the covers, however.
Step 5 – Check On The Seeds
The biggest advantage of using growing paper for microgreens is that you have some degree of control over how much moisture you’re providing the plants with.
It’s really easy to check whether or not the corn microgreens have adequate moisture for their growth when it comes to growing paper. Therefore, check on your plants as often as you can to ensure they’re receiving enough – but not too much – moisture.
Step 6 – Harvest
Your corn microgreens will grow fairly quickly as compared to most other kinds of microgreens available today. Therefore, you’ll need to check on your microgreens as often as possible.
Corn microgreens are typically ready to harvest in less than a week after they’ve been planted.
How Can You Speed Up Corn Microgreen Growth?
It’s not unusual to want to speed up microgreen growth. Most people prefer microgreens in the first place because they grow faster than regular plants. However, corn microgreens are one of the fastest-growing microgreens out there as they’re ready for harvest in 3 – 4 days.
If you would still like to grow the microgreens faster, you can use a little vermiculite over the seeds where they’ve been placed to speed up the process of germination.
Alternatively, you can use heated growth mats to help the corn seeds sprout faster. These mats are not very expensive and are readily available in various stores that deal with plant supplies.
What Are Some Benefits Of Consuming Corn Microgreens?
If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about regarding corn microgreens, you may want to take a look at some of the benefits these plants offer you.
Like many other microgreens available today, corn microgreens too are packed with antioxidants. These nutrients help improve your body’s defenses against heart diseases and some types of cancer.
Furthermore, antioxidants help your body fight the effects of oxidation by seeking out free radicals. Consuming antioxidants is also good for skin health and making them a part of your diet can help you achieve a healthy and glowing complexion.
Improve Your Immune System
Improving and strengthening your immune system is something almost every microgreen plant you can think of can boast about. Corn microgreens, too, have properties that allow your immune system to fight against several major and minor illnesses.
Corn microgreens contain fibers that help improve your digestive processes. This is what makes these plants so popular among those who face problems with constipation and indigestion.
What Pests/Diseases Can Damage Microgreens and How to Stop Them
In this section, we’ll effectively explore some of the most common diseases and pests that affect microgreen growth. We’ll so outline suggestions on how you can remedy or prevent these diseases or infestations as well.
This is one of the main factors that affect microgreen growth, especially indoors. If you’re planning on growing microgreens that are to be left open, mold should not present a problem.
If, however, you’re planning on planting microgreens such as corn that need to be covered to let them harvest, mold can be an issue. Therefore, make sure there’s enough space for air to circulate beneath the covers when you’re growing corn microgreens.
Mildew too can present a problem when growing microgreens. While there is no fool-proof method as of now to get prevent mildew from forming on the surface of your seeds, sterilizing the seeds before planting them can help.
Be careful while using chemical formulas to get rid of mildew as these can end up preventing pathogens from growing as well. Considering you require some pathogens to grow your corn microgreens, this is not advisable.
Insects and pests such as aphids are among those that favor microgreens over regular plants. You may have to spray your crop beforehand if you’re planting the seeds outdoors to prevent an infestation.
However, if you don’t wish to spray your crops with pesticides or insecticide, you could use other means by which to stop them from entering the growth area as well.
For instance, you could use sticky pads or light traps to prevent the pests from reaching your crop. Another great way to avoid an infestation is ensuring the area where you’re planting the seeds is completely clean.
Let us now tackle a few frequently asked questions regarding how you can grow corn microgreens:
Which Is Better – Corn Microgreens or Corn Sprouts?
The answer to this question depends on preference. You can eat the corn sprouts if you prefer a more savory flavor but microgreens tend to be a little sweeter when it comes to corn.
How Much Light Do Corn Microgreens Require?
Corn microgreens don’t require nearly as much light as other microgreens do. Some indirect or direct sunlight a couple of days post plantation is ideal.
What Temperature Do Corn Microgreens Need to Grow?
Corn seeds can germinate effectively when placed in the soil in temperatures ranging from 85 to 90 degrees F.
How Many Days Does It Take Corn Microgreens to Grow?
It takes anywhere between 3 – 4 days for corn microgreens to grow enough that you can start harvesting them.
Can Corn Microgreens Regrow After Harvest?
Yes, corn microgreens can regrow after you cut off the shoots. However, this may take time and you’ll need to maintain the ideal growth temperature for the germinated seeds to regrow shoots.
How Can Corn Microgreens Be Harvested?
After 3 – 4 days of planting them, corn microgreens grow shoots that are tall enough for you to harvest. To harvest them, you simply cut the shoots as close to the soil/grow mat/wood shavings as you can.
How Can Corn Microgreens Be Stored?
Since corn microgreens are harder than their leafy counterparts, they’re surprisingly easy to store. Make sure the microgreens are completely free of moisture then store them in a plastic container or bag in the refrigerator.
Why Are the Microgreens Falling Over?
The most common reason for microgreens to fall over or wilt is inadequate water supply. Therefore, make sure your corn microgreens receive enough water to prevent this from happening.
What Do Corn Microgreens Taste Like and How Can I Use Them?
Corn microgreens generally taste sweet and somewhat similar to popcorn. You can use these plants in salads or turn them into a spread for sandwiches.
How Can I Prevent the Plant from Damping Off and Why Is Ventilation Important?
You can prevent damping off by sterilizing your corn seeds and sanitizing the container in which you’ll be growing the seeds. Ventilation is of utmost importance here as it prevents the formation of mold on the seeds.
By now you may have a fairly good idea of what to expect when growing corn microgreens by yourself. The various benefits these little plants offer you greatly outweigh any potential risks you can think of.
These plants can be grown using a variety of methods discussed above so growing them is not all that difficult. You can soil, grow mats, or even wood shavings to grow them.
While there are factors that can damage microgreens, preventing or remedying them is not all that difficult. Moreover, the flavorful harvest you can achieve from these seeds will make growing them well worth your time.