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Microgreens – A Basement Farm | Volunteer Gardener

September 16, 2019

– Well, can you imagine
having a gardening business where you are selling
your fine produce to high-end restaurants,
but you have no weather, and no soil problems? Well, let’s find out
how that happens. Every garden, of course,
is about the gardener, and our gardener today
is Charlie Crawford, with CC Garden’s
microgreens, hi Charlie! – Hi Julia, nice to meet you. – Well, okay so this is
the soil, I understand, and it’s a little
different than my soil. – This is the soil used
here in the micro farm, this is Rockwool. It is a growing
medium, but it is also a insulation product. I chose to use this
because it is soil-less, it doesn’t require any
washing once you plant in it, and chefs love it,
because I can bring this right into the
restaurant like this, and they don’t
have to worry about any sort of
contamination whatsoever. So basically what I
do with this product is I soak it first in
a high pH volume bath, such as this right here. When it’s done soaking,
I’ll bring those up, and I gently squeeze some
of the water out of those, ’cause you don’t want
anything too wet. Alright. Then I bring it to a
temperature-controlled propagation mat. Some heat mats underneath that, just to make sure it
doesn’t get too hot. Okay, I will set up the
whole room with those, literally 112 squares
of those in this room twice a week to do this. – Well, this is the original
no-till farming, I guess. – Right, right. At that point, I’ve
selected the seed for what variety I’m going
to be planting at that moment for that particular grow cycle. Today, it’s kale for this here. I gently just tap on the bowl, and propagate those seeds
onto the top of that Rockwool, much like peppering
your scrambled eggs, hopefully you like pepper. – [Julia] So there’s no
worrying about depth, you’re just covering the top. – Just covering the top,
don’t wanna get it too thick, but don’t want it to
be too thin either. After that, just
a light misting. I’ll cover those seedlings, those seeds, soon to become
seedlings, and there. This kale will take
approximately two
days to germinate, and I’ll know it’s ready because those little dark
spots will now have little white hairs
all over them, and the start of a leaf. And when it gets real
pronounced, which isn’t long, it will look similar
to this right here. When it does get that
first pop, we call it, when a seed first lets
go, and it has that leaf, I’ll move it over
under the light. I’ll take it off of those trays, and move it onto one of
these, mist it some more, and just proceed to water it. Every day, we water. What we have here,
this is a combination of basil Genovese
and opal basil. This is four days old. This is opal basil here, and
it is about 2 1/2 weeks old, it’s ready to go out the door. This is another blend of basil, and its older version there. – Well now, these are different from our old-fashioned sprouts, which were generally, I guess, just two or three
days old, maybe, when we would start eating them. – Correct, and the
biggest difference in microgreens and sprouts is, sprouts are grown in a
soil-less environment literally, no Rockwool, no nothing, just
a warm, damp environment. You consume the whole
root, and the small amount of leaf that’s there. Microgreen is definitely
grown in soil, or Rockwool, or coco,
and you harvest it when you get the
first true leaves, the first true cotyledon,
is what they’re called, and that’s when a
microgreen is ready, generally anywhere from
one week to three weeks. – Well, there’s something
very familiar I see over here, Charlie, and I
just can’t believe that in all of these
beautiful microgreens that you’re trying
to grow carrots. – Mainly for the tops. Chefs love the carrot tops, ’cause they taste just like a
carrot, and they’re beautiful. – Mm! Now, that is really fresh. – Yes. – Now, some of these other
things that you have here, well, the basil, of course– – Isn’t that wonderful, how
that smells on your hand? You just wanna put
that on your pillow. – [Julia] That is
just fantastic. Now, when it comes
to harvesting, well, you don’t have
to do that, do you? – No, that is one
thing this farmer does not have to do. Harvesting, for me, is
loading the van with trays, and orders, and invoices,
and going out on a run, usually takes about 2
1/2 hours any given day to do that run. – Well that’s not so bad,
and when the chefs get this beautiful bunch
of microgreens, how are they going
to deal with these? What do they use them for? – [Charlie] They use
them on many things, pizzas, salads,
lovely fish dishes. This particular product
here, tangerine gem is excellent on
chocolate ice cream. – Oh, I bet it is, so
they’re getting this fresh growing product in their store, how long can they keep it? – They can keep it
probably about a week becfore they’ll use it all up, or before it meets
its usability. – So they’ll just take it and
snip it off, and you’ll have– – And most chefs will use it all before the end of the week. – What a great
product, just snip and have your fresh
greens right there. – That’s right.
– Right next to the plate, this is fantastic. As you plant these, do you
already have orders for them? Do you already know
what you’ve sold? – Yes, I do. I have a list of all of
the restaurants I service, as well as what
they’re ordering, I have a flowchart that tells me what I need to plant every
week before their order. Planting’s done twice a week, and deliveries are done
five, six days a week, all over Nashville, some
restaurants are twice a week, some are three times a week. – Well, let’s talk about then some of the varieties
that you’re growing here, because I see all kinds
of beautiful green leaves, but I don’t always recognize
them at this stage, so what do we have? – Alright. This is thyme, everyone’s
familiar with thyme. As an adult plant, it’s
real woody and real tough, but as a baby, it’s very
tender and very flavorful. We also have red-veined sorrel. This is broccoli. More basil. I have some mustard, this
is a Ruby Streaks mustard, it’s a very favorite one there, very flavorful, very colorful, chefs tend to like
a lot of color. – [Julia] Well Charlie,
tell me a little bit about the growing
conditions here. – [Charlie] We are using
horticultural brand fluorescent lights, I
have several fans going, two dehumidifiers, a window
unit air conditioner, all just to keep the
temperate, the humidity, at a certain level, which
is around 74 degrees, and 50% to 55%
relative humidity. – [Julia] Now, there have to
be some sort of special issues that you deal with
here that’s different than regular gardening. – There is, there’s one
thing in particular, and it’s called damping down. That’s where something
gets too much moisture, and it fails. Some things that are
susceptible to that is this basil here. Because it’s so dark
and it’s so dense, it’s hard for air to
flow through that, so it actually could
hang on to moisture longer than it should, and
will start to wilt within, and then it will spread,
so if I see that, I’ll have to remove that square. I don’t have many issues
with pests, per se, occasional gnats, which
they’re gonna come in anyway, but they don’t last
long, because everything goes out the door really fast. – [Julia] As a very
innovative entrepreneur here with a very different
type of gardening, where did you get
all your inspiration? How could we learn more? – Well first off, garden’s
always been a hobby, and I took the hobby and sort of went a little bit
further with it. When I came across this article in this Growing Edge
magazine about microgreens, and it really made the
light bulb go on in my head, and gave me ideas of
how to approach this, where the market was, and
this was my inspiration. – [Julia] Well, thank
you so much for sharing your beautiful
garden with us today. I’m sure it’s a lot of
fun throughout the year, and it really gives all
of us more inspiration and another idea for gardening, maybe the easiest
way I’ve seen yet. – [Charlie] Well, thank you! (light instrumental music) – [Announcer] For inspiring
garden tours, growing tips, and garden projects,
visit our website at,
or on YouTube at the Volunteer
Gardener channel, and like us on Facebook.


  • Reply Saria August 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Rockwool is terribly unsustainable 😕

  • Reply R. J. Denicola August 22, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Just made my first flat of sunflower seeds the beginning of my own little business! Very cool!

  • Reply Volunteer Gardener August 23, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Rock wool, an inorganic material made from sand and basalt rock, is a popular choice for hydroponic seed germination. It holds large amounts of nutrients and water and provides good oxygenation for growing seedlings. This material also comes in a range of shapes and sizes and is relatively easy to work with. Look for a vendor who carries hydroponic growing supplies.

  • Reply Dane Somdahl October 4, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I am impressed! Wonderful presentation and amazing gardener, too. I want to try this out, now.

  • Reply Jonas Léchot October 7, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Check out Trichoderma harzianum to control damping off (Pythium/Rhizoctonia). I'm inoculating my sunflower seeds with T. harzianum T22 and it completely controls daming off as well as Sclerotinia white mold! I would never ever grow without biocontrol inoculant again

  • Reply John Burn October 27, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    What is a high PH soak?

  • Reply Shaz Soo November 8, 2017 at 9:14 am

    coco= flood and drain or pellets for dwc could change your world dude

  • Reply Rose Jones November 11, 2017 at 7:31 am

    I would like to hear answers to the criticism of Rock wool.

  • Reply Stephen Ray November 17, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Please wear a dust mask when tearing or cutting dry rock wool because inhaling the dust has been shown to increase the chance of lung cancer.

  • Reply Kevin LaPage December 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    For the crops that are susceptible to damping off sprinkle cinamon on the rockwool when you sow the seeds.

  • Reply CL W December 6, 2017 at 4:56 am

    I would recommend to check out these fine foam sheets that are use to cut blocks for hydroponic NFT culture. They are cheaper as well.

  • Reply LOMI LOMI Massage,Acupressure & Mens' Health -Toronto- December 11, 2017 at 4:51 am

    i bought some micro greens and am wondering if i an grow at home with ease and joy?
    is anyone doing this gardening at home?

  • Reply tangobayus December 22, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    They will grow faster if you put your lights lower. Remember the inverse square law- halve the distance, quadruple the light intensity. You can measure it with a light meter. LED's can be placed just a few inches from the top of the plants- you can check the temp with a thermometer.

  • Reply megapooldealsdotcom January 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

    I have a product that would very nicely fit your model. It is a retail ready chlorine dioxide gas saturated in water that ships dry and is activated by adding water into our container. The product can be used to sterilize equipment, disinfect greens, clean surfaces, remove biofilm from water systems, etc.
    The product is 100% organic, OMRI Listed and can be diluted 10-20:1 depending on the application, for a low price per unit.
    You can see more information at

  • Reply ChefGiovanni January 30, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Our #Chefs use all of these. WE share a few recipes on our channel. Great video !

  • Reply Ty's Videos February 3, 2018 at 3:03 am

    Great idea if you live in or near a big city!

  • Reply Newfie Peter February 27, 2018 at 3:50 am

    OK have to say never heard of rock wool. Folks talking about cancer and so on, is it problematic using this? I grow in soil or coco fiber or whatever it is called. Happy to try a cheaper alternative but if this is insulation that sounds a little dodgy. ANy downside to growing you greens in insulation? hehe Discuss!

  • Reply Christopher Sloper April 9, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Holy crap did he say, “Growing Edge Magazine”? I have not heard that said out loud in a really, really long time!! I actually published my first article about LED Grow Lights in Tom’s magazine back in 2008. Too bad the magazine is gone now. They published excellent content. Great work with the video! Now I am hungry…!

  • Reply Creative Expressions April 25, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    inspiring! Thank you!

  • Reply LilNaruto9tails May 1, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Hello! I ate beet microgreens, and they taste delicious!

  • Reply Kaalo Lovett July 9, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Gonna start doing this. Excited

  • Reply EctoMorpheus August 3, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Goddamn she has a strong American accent

  • Reply cornelis August 3, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Rockwool seems organic. But is in fact dangerous.

  • Reply GrowStar August 30, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Cool !

  • Reply HIGH GRADE September 9, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Bitch took a bite and then threw it back on the table wtf

  • Reply amir October 7, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Nice set up

  • Reply Tony B November 2, 2018 at 12:26 am

    Why do you use a high Ph water bath?

  • Reply john frailey November 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    any chance you could share where you purchase your rockwool pads?

  • Reply Sensei Millan November 30, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    I hope you don't actually use that CO2 burner, there's no way you need it for microgreens. CO2 total waste under 900 PPFD of light.

  • Reply Kurt Schanaman December 17, 2018 at 5:53 am

    What about NUTRIENTS?

    This is just like any other modern "farmer."

    Any plant will grow on straight NPK (emphasis on nitrogen).

    I run a worm farm alongside my microgreens (so far, only for personal use… not commercial… but it can be made so!) 15% worm castings in SOIL for my microgreens = NUTRITION.

    You can raise sprouts ( and even microgreens) on rough pulp paper towels, but those derive NO nutrients from anything but the paper towel.

    If I were to expand my microgreens into a business, I don't give a rats ass about profits if I'm not benefitting my fellow humanity.

    It's value provided, or NOTHING.

    Plants "spend" the nutrients in soil / worm compost. Throw the leftovers into a composting bin. Add decaying matter. Feed it to the worms. The worms break it down. Add the results as a soil amendment! Less environmental waste. The WORMS LOVE IT. They break it down, adding nitrogen (and other nutrients in bulk). Add the results to new soil. Grow the microgreens on it. The plants uptake those nutrients. Humans eat those nutrients from the plants.

    Rinse and repeat.

    It's NOT HARD.

    Everyone wants to reduce labor for the sake of profits.

    If microgreen farmers aren't going to to it right, it's better if a person just learn to grow their own and eat their own highly nutritious self-grown microgreens.

    And THAT is what will eventually happen if microgreen farmers continue to cut corners.

    Right now I just grow three or four trays to make myself a huge green smoothie every day of the month.

    But were I to go commercial, I'd make sure I planned it to ensure the same nutrition was built in at scale. It CAN be done!

    I would advertise for NUTRIENT VALUE over everything else.

    Because, without nutrient value, human life cannot exist.

    Fast profit isn't the way to provide VALUE.

    Sometimes, as a matter of fact, wealth is NOT synonymous with HEALTH.

  • Reply Alexander s. December 17, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    She took a bite then threw the rest on floor dumb bitch

  • Reply Philip Goh December 25, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    It seems you only add water to the rockwool. How about nutrients?

  • Reply Chaitanya Chaitu January 4, 2019 at 6:39 am

    What will you if any disease attack happen

  • Reply Chaitanya Chaitu January 4, 2019 at 6:42 am

    After harvesting are they reusable i'm mean rockwool

  • Reply Fatiha Ekici January 7, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Monsieur je voudrais savoir quelle graine vous avez semer et merci.

  • Reply Doctor olo January 9, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    so these things don't regrow after you harvest them

  • Reply Robert Bagnall January 13, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Thanks for sharing this information. Where do you find Rockwool cheap enough to make it a viable option?

  • Reply Güzel Sözler January 19, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Interesting concept!

  • Reply Kevin Rubink January 24, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Insulation product for growing? Is that safe?

  • Reply North Coast Rail January 27, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Rockwool has bad properties when touched or inhaled if dry. Other options are available.

  • Reply Muhammad Habibullah January 28, 2019 at 5:46 am

    awesome farm! what if the electricity just blacked out for a while?

  • Reply Eric Kort January 29, 2019 at 5:42 am

    is there a cheap way to grow microgreens for ppl that are on a realy low budget?im on social security and live in a apartment

  • Reply Ismael Galvez February 7, 2019 at 2:13 am

    OMG watch 4:35 she tries a taste and throws it out! lol

  • Reply Amrit Kaur Khalsa February 8, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Those lights are bad for humans, so they are bad for green stuff too! Nop thnx, better mushrooms in the darkness, for them dark is ok

  • Reply Mogollon Treasure Hunters February 9, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Growing on WHAT GROWING MEDIUM???? Kinda important to just rush past, wouldcha say? Rock WHAT?? How do you spell it? I am captivated by this process! COOOOL!

  • Reply Karl Berger February 12, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    the chemical binders of Rockwool are poisonous, I do not understand using this for production of food…in some countries of Europe this will be treated as a special waste you cannot dump in household trash can.

  • Reply Kevin Childerley February 15, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Great video thanks for sharing. Question Tangerine Gem. Do I have the name right? Is this a poopy seed? This was the orangy micro that is sweet tasting. Thx.

  • Reply Tony Bickley February 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

    A great video, full of believable viable info. Thank you

    Quick question, if I may.

    What is the benefits of Micro greens? They are ready in two weeks, how does this compare biomass wise to normal farming? Could microgreens replace normal greens, or is it just a different product?

  • Reply John Vandecaveye February 16, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    No!!! This is not the original form of no till gardening. In fact it is not even in the same ball park

  • Reply Ian Cho February 23, 2019 at 1:20 am

    No thanks, I'll stay with mine sprout and coconut coir base microgreens. Rockwool might be made out of lava rock or so, but is a insulation industrial product. Thanks for showing me behind scene a microgreen farming, its equally bad if not even worst than traditional, since there is zero control on produce.

  • Reply Adam 3d February 24, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    There is no way baby stuff that grows on freaking insulation tastes as good as the good old sunlight grown on real soil adult stuff.
    STOP with your GREED.

  • Reply J Parker February 25, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Do you have to cycle the lights, or do you run the T5 continuous?

  • Reply Claude Finkler March 18, 2019 at 12:46 am

    Where do you order your seeds please?

  • Reply Vanessa DeCoursey March 31, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    So interesting!

  • Reply Ramliw Etnafni April 24, 2019 at 1:48 am

    May I ask what pH level of water do you maintain? Thanks much! And why do you need to warm the flats?

  • Reply Chris Belvedere April 24, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    What parts per million are you running your CO2 at?

  • Reply around the house with cheryl April 27, 2019 at 9:18 pm


  • Reply Chris Layton May 6, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Where do you get the rock wool sheets? I can't find them. All I can find are the cubes

  • Reply Norma Wingo June 6, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    So tempted to do this after the big move this fall. Been growing fairly large amounts of greens for the animals here in rescue. I’d love to do this on a much larger scale for people too. Thanks Curtis, your videos never disappoint.

  • Reply Sheryl June 13, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    What kind of grow lights please? Thanks.

  • Reply Maureen McGuire June 30, 2019 at 1:50 am

    How does the chef keep the greens fresh until used

  • Reply Nancy Fahey July 9, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    Do you reuse Rockwood? And does it need cleaning out, getting the fine roots out?

  • Reply Daniel Palmer July 19, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Isn’t rockwool fiber glass?

  • Reply Bonnie Hoke-Scedrov July 21, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Great video! Thanks!

  • Reply J . Bird August 2, 2019 at 5:56 am

    Funny , Co2 , I haven't seen
    propain Co since 1998 ..
    Milk jug size buds ..

  • Reply vimal kirti August 2, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    beware of rockwool

  • Reply Kotuku Whakapiko August 11, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Rock On Rock Wool!!

  • Reply Zollnation August 17, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    he get inspiration from youtube.

  • Reply Shell Ducker September 8, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    How many hours do you put in a week?

  • Reply Marilene camargo September 10, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Bem interessante , pena que não entendo.

  • Reply T S September 14, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    How do the microgreens get mineral content without mineral enriched soil?

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