Microgreens are species of vegetables and aromatic herbs in an early stage of growing, which are consumed after a vegetative cycle of 10-14 days. At first, they gained their popularity in luxury restaurants for the original flavour they gave to dishes. Over the years, their nutritional and therapeutic qualities have been recognised and today they are sold and consumed on a wide scale. The great majority of microgreens can be grown with no chemical fertilisers and pesticides, because they are consumed in their cotyledon-leaf stage, their development being provided by the spare substances of the seed.
This paper presents the comparative study of two growing systems, i.e. ebb&flow benches compared to a vertical hydroponic system, as well as of two substrates frequently used in this culture, i.e. peat and perlite mix (70/30) compared to cellulose. For the four versions resulted, the documented parameters were the germination rate, the height of the microgreens and their weight at harvest. The results showed a slightly improved germination rate for the peat and perlite mix as compared to the cellulose substrate. The observed differences at harvest for the height and weight of the microgreens were small; the vertical hydroponic system yielded better results as compared to the growing benches for most of the species studied.
The general conclusion following the analysis of the results is that a vertical hydroponic system alongside a peat and perlite substrate yields better results in microgreens farming in terms of germination rate and harvest, when compared to ebb&flow benches using a cellulose substrate. Furthermore, the vertical hydroponic system yields a slightly increased production on cultivated unit area, as compared to the ebb&flow bench system.
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Viorica, Lagunovschi-Luchian & Luca, Arghir. (2021). Research on microgreens farming in vertical hydroponic system.