Hey, everyone, we’re back again with another episode about the microgreens. Today we want to talk to you about what kind of soil does it take to grow microgreens and we are going to visit that a little bit. Yesterday we talked about the nutritional value of the microgreens and those two are very much connected with the soil and the nutritional value.

But, first, I want to show you something that I come to quite often. I’m going to turn the camera around so you can read it. It’s the Bismarck Community Gardens and people come here all over the city to garden. Earlier, there was a mother with a couple of boys out here watering the garden. There was a man over there tending to a garden. They’re actually looking pretty good right now. A lot of things going on here that we teach not to do, which you can see as far as tillage, and then they try to cover it with grass. But, the city actually comes in and tills all this up in the spring and then you can, actually, rent a spot to plant a garden.

It’s pretty exciting. Like I said, it looks pretty good right now, but you get a little further on in the season and it’ll start looking where people, you can tell, are already starting to tire and they’re deciding that loading all this stuff and coming down here to garden in a community garden is a lot of work. We’ll keep an update on this. We’ll come back here in another month or so and then another month after that and you’ll see the landscape change. Some gardens will look good, some will look not so good.

So, back to this soil. We talked a little bit about yesterday… And I’m a little shaky here because I’m on the road and I forgot my tripod, so I apologize for that. But, we talked a little bit about the nutritional value of microgreens. Now that’s where it comes into play where you wouldn’t have to go out and actually rent a community garden if you didn’t have a space. You could do microgreen gardening on your countertop, on your tabletop, no matter where you’re at. You can do it on your shelves and you can raise more nutritious food than you can in a community garden like this and it all comes from the soil.

We’re going to be doing some testing with that and show you the difference in the soil, what it makes for the nutritional value, not only of microgreens, but maybe some other crops, as well. But, our focus is going to be on microgreens.

To start out with the soil, the first media that you can use, or the medium, I like to call it media, which is a garden soil or a potting soil. There aren’t a lot of choices in the store. If you get to looking at them, they’re all pretty much the same. The bags have a lot of the same ingredients on them. I might put some screenshots in here, but if you go and start looking at that, you’re going to find that a lot of them have, maybe, a sphagnum peat moss in them, they’ll have some forest products in them, but the main thing to remember is that it’s, basically, dead soil. It’s dead soil. They steam it, the pathogens are all gone out of it. The fungi’s gone out of it, the bacteria has gone out of it. We do not want the pathogens in it, of course, that’s one thing. Through that decomposing process or that composting process, we can get rid of those, but the fungi and the bacteria is what we do want in the soil and that’s, basically, gone in potting soil.

Any potting soil you find is dead soil and it has a slow release fertilizer in it. They advertise it as a time release thing simply as an advertisement that it’ll last over three months. The truth of the matter is, if they didn’t put the time release in there, it would burn your tender plants. So, that’s why they have to use that time release in there, is to keep it from burning the roots, because they’re actually using a synthetic, not all of them, but a lot of them.

There’s some going to what they consider… The organic has gotten to be a buzzword. Anytime you see organic on something, it draws people. So, the marketing community has learned if they put organic on potting soil, it helps them to market that, as well. So, a lot of potting soil, a lot of garden soil, you’ll see the words organic on it and, basically, what it means is that it might be derived, could be derived, from some natural fertilizer source. It’s important to read the bag, though, because most of that still has a degree of synthetic that is added to it for nitrogen and some phosphorous uses. To start out with, you’re pretty stuck where you’re at.

We’re going to teach you how you can build your soil, how you can reuse your soil. So, when you’re in the microgreen business, or if you’re doing it as a business, which we’re going to talk about in the next episode of this, is how to turn this into a successful business, how to get this started where you can actually make money from it. Not only that, but you can reuse the soil and you can actually regenerate that soil and make it better than what it was before. We’re going to be teaching that on down the road in some of these episodes and stuff.

So with that, I’ll give you another shot at the community garden. It looks like, since I’ve been here, everybody has left. It’s interesting. With that, Steve Szudera, founder of Table Top Farmer. Leave me a comment in the box below. Tell me what you think about the soil issues, some things you’d like to learn about the soil, and I’ll try to answer those comments. Some things that you’ve used in the past, maybe, that has worked, some things that haven’t worked out so well, and we’ll address those, as well. So we’ve got a train coming through here. It’s up on the tracks, of course, hopefully stays up there, but we’re gonna end this, and we’ll look forward to talking to you in a day or two. Thanks for watching.

About the author 

Steve Szudera

Hello, my name is Steve Szudera, a third-generation farmer from western North Dakota with over 35 years of no-till farming experience building and maintaining soil health. My no-till practices today came as a result of frustrations with wind and water erosion and the soil being depleted of moisture and nutrients of years prior when my father tilled the soil.

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