The decision to grow microgreens hydroponically on a commercial scale is an excellent choice. Since, hydroponic yields maximum products, and microgreens offer maximum nutrients, a hydroponic microgreens business is a win-win approach. It is like getting into the best business module without wasting time and losing money. However, before you make a decision kindly read this article for some clear conceptions.
Microgreens are Not Sprouts
The most common mistake that people commit is by considering microgreens as sprouts. Always remember that microgreens are categorised as herbs, pulses, and vegetables with tender shoots and roots. It is the cotyledon stage of herbs, pulses, and vegetables, which gets consumed for gaining a higher amount of nutrients. Unlike sprouts, microgreens are germinated in soil and not in water. Though hydroponic microgreens are grown in water, yet they are initially germinated in soil and then shifted to water to gain more nutrients. The leaves and stems of microgreens are consumed, whereas for sprouts the stem and the seed are consumed. Sprouts take a small span of 1 or 2 days, whereas microgreens are harvested fortnightly, especially when it shows its true leaves and gains a height of 3 cm to 9 cm.
Commercialisation of Hydroponic Microgreens
For the commercialisation of hydroponic microgreens business, you must have some idea about its effectiveness. As per the April 2020 report – “Microgreens Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 – 2026)“, published by Mordor Intelligence, the commercialisation of microgreens in the next 5 years can bring in annual growth of 7.5%. The same report also considers India as one of the best geographical locations to encourage microgreens farming. Moreover, the data declared by DataM Intelligence stated that the Hydroponics Market in India will attain a growth of 13.53 CAGR % in the period of 2020 to 2027:
These declarations bring in a great assurance to the profitable lead for a hydroponic farming setup, in India. Thus, to grow microgreens hydroponically on a commercial scale, consider a prior preparation of the following:
Though the hydroponic microgreens will yield more products within 15 days, yet the process demands your consistent availability. By following the step-by-step selection procedure, as noted below, you can start commercialising your hydroponic microgreens business.
STEP 1 🡪 Selection of Market
The urban population is much in favour of organic and high nutritious fresh vegetables and fruits. Your hydroponic microgreens can attain higher value from the urban areas, where people are capable of paying the right price for your products. It is a blessing if you live in an urban or metropolitan city, where the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables is very scarce. You can follow both B2C and B2B business modules for your business.
STEP 2 🡪 Selection of Farming
For farming microgreens, the selection of hydroponic method is the best way to gain high yields in a short duration. Imply hydroponic vertical farming, as it can bring in more profit margins to you than traditional farming. Research shows that hydroponic farming in vertical structure for lettuce can yield 11 times more products than traditional farming. Also for being vertical, the consumption of water is 13 times lesser than the common horizontal hydroponic structure.
STEP 3 🡪 Selection of Space
You will need a large enough space to house your trays and grow lights and have easy access to water. This space can be a greenhouse, garage, basement, or shed. Remember, you will want a temperature-controlled space, or you will need to invest in a heater and fan. Additionally, a space that requires no additional upkeep or expense will keep your start-up costs more reasonable.
STEP 4 🡪 Selection of Hydroponic Equipment
The most important hydroponic equipment that you would need are:
- Air Pumps
- Chamber for Growing
- Fans for Temperature Maintenance
- Lights for Growth
- Submersible pump
- Water Delivery System
- Water Reservoir
However, different systems can be considered for your hydroponic farming setup. You need some additional equipment as per your selection. Note the list given below:
|Aeroponics||submersible pump, air hose, short-cycle timer, mist nozzles|
|Drip System||drip manifold & lines, grow tray, air hose, submersible & non-submersible air pump, overflow tube, timer, stone|
|Ebb and Flow||overflow tube, grow tray, timer, air hose, non-submersible air pump|
|Nutrient Film Technique||overflow tube, grow tray, air hose, submersible & non-submersible air pump, air stone|
|Water Culture||floating platform, air hose, non-submersible air pump, air stone|
|Wick System||rope wicks, grow tray, air hose, non-submersible air pump, air stone|
STEP 5 🡪Selections of Microgreens
The selection of microgreens that you aim to grow is very important. It is highly recommended that only customer-oriented microgreens should be grown. Initiate a survey among your target consumers. You can also get a clear idea from the local vendors, about the preferences of vegetables and fruits by your target consumers.
STEP 6 🡪 Monitoring and Patients
For high yields, you need to remain constantly engaged in monitoring the growth of your microgreens. Maintenance of soil saturation, temperature, humidity, and light is very mandatory. You need to check the water delivery system frequently.
STEP 7 🡪 Selection of Harvesting Size
Harvest your microgreens when they are 3 cm to 9 cm in height. The microgreens must be harvested when they are bigger than sprouts and are at their young stage. You can consider electric trimmer than hand harvesting, for equal lengths of the products.
STEP 8 🡪 Selection of Packaging
For packaging clean your microgreens properly. Make them soil and bacteria-free. You can tie the microgreens in bunches and can sell them directly to the consumers. For B2B, pack them in airtight eco-friendly containers and keep them in cool places. Do not use plastic as the same is hazardous to nature.
Many renowned Hydroponics Companies in India are offering overall assistance to the urban Indians to develop their hydroponic farming setup for commercial purposes. Since the initial process needs some expert guidelines, it is always better to consider professional support from these companies. With the support of these companies, you can also gain adequate selling support for your microgreens under both B2C & B2B domains. With professional expert advice, you can soon realise the fantastic option for considering a hydroponic microgreens business setup.