After cutting your tray of greens, you will have a tray of soil with many fibrous roots and stems. The microgreens will not sprout again since you chopped them below the cotyledons. Plus, you probably spent good money or lots of time getting high-quality soil.
So, you may be wondering, can you reuse microgreen soil? The short answer is yes, you can reuse the soil, but only if it’s processed correctly through composting or worm bins (detailed below).
Don’t worry; it is extremely simple to take your used soil trays and turn them into rich soil.
Growing microgreens only takes a few weeks. So, the nutrients in the soil are not overtaxed by this short cycle. Your soil still contains nutrients, organic matter, trace minerals, and biological life despite previously being used to grow microgreens.
It may be used to kick-start a tiny garden plot or to grow another crop of greens after being amended and composted.
Composting, the pinnacle of recycling, enables you to turn discarded microgreen trays, yard debris, and leftover food scraps into nutrient-rich soil.
Composting Microgreen Soil
Any home and/or garden will benefit from having a compost pile. Basically, it is a stacked pile consisting of any organic material that is readily available, including grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, kitchen wastes, collected microgreen trays, and even paper towels.
You can thoroughly compost these items into rich, black soil brimming with biological life by making a compost pile.
Making your own compost might be intimidating, given the variety of composting methods today. Given how busy we are, it could feel like just one more thing to do.
However, composting can be simple, quick, and even pleasurable. For young children, composting may be highly entertaining and informative.
It is satisfying and intriguing to take part in building soil. But, again, experimentation is highly encouraged in this context. Don’t believe anyone who tells you there is just one practical approach to producing compost.
Composting may be easily incorporated into your daily life by adhering to a few straightforward rules.
Keys to a Good Composting
Moisture (Same As a Damp Sponge)
Imagine a rung-out sponge when trying to obtain the proper moisture in your pile. If you squeeze a handful of your compost, you should get only one or two drops of water.
The key here is for the pile to feel moist, not wet. Saturated soil reduces the amount of air available to the microbes. When you add new material to your pile, gently and evenly water it.
This will help maintain proper moisture throughout the pile. If the compost pile gets overly wet or too dry, composting will slow. If this happens, turn your pile and make adjustments.
Air (Oxygen Is Key)
The bacteria in your compost pile use oxygen while they break down the materials in a compost pile.
It is recommended to layer in coarse material, such as leaves, straw, hay, etc. while creating your pile. This produces air pockets that improve circulation and enable quicker breakdown.
The compost materials will diminish after a few weeks as the microorganisms use the available oxygen. It would be best if you regularly flip the pile to keep the digestive process moving.
Turning your pile more frequently might be helpful if you discover that you are running low on coarse material.
Carbon vs. Nitrogen Ratio of Compost
A balanced compost pile comprises two types of “food,” carbonaceous and nitrogenous. The ratio in your pile is the key when using these two meals. You will always want to aim for thirty parts carbon to one part nitrogen, which is significantly more carbon than nitrogen. The C:N ratio of each item you add to your pile is unique.
Below is a list of some of the more typical components you could use. Above all, understand that there is no way to fail. Remember that a tree falling in a forest will ultimately decompose and become soil eventually.
|Carbon / Nitrogen Ratio Chart|
|Sawdust*||300:1 to 500:1|
It can also be as simple as putting the old microgreen soil into a potting bucket. Then, add some soil, or compost to cover it and let it break down. Here is a video that shows how it’s done:
Although, if you go this route, it is best to add some amendments back into the soil such as:
- Alfalfa meal: high in trace elements and minerals.
- Other meals such as fish, feather, or blood: helps break down carbon.
- Liquid kelp or seaweed: High in trace elements, minerals, and vitamins.
Let Worms Process The Microgreen Soil
Another intriguing alternative you may incorporate into your composting process is vermiculture. Worms eat a significant portion of the organic matter that has decomposed in good soil on a farm or garden.
A worm’s existence consists of eating and passing waste. They digest plant matter as they ingest it and excrete it. The gold is in their poop (aka castings).
Healthy soil and hence healthy greens benefit significantly from using worm castings. They are an ideal source of nutrition for both plants and microorganisms.
Worms break down plant waste (such as coffee grounds and kitchen trash) and turn it into rich, black, fertile soil. It’s simple to get started with worms. However, you must first provide your worms with a living space, generally referred to as a worm bin.
Numerous systems in all sizes and price ranges are available online and may be sent to you by mail, but it’s also always worthwhile to investigate if there are any sources nearby. However, be cautious if you get your worms by mail. You want to get them into their home as soon as possible to keep them alive.
Of course, you may also make your own bin relatively simply. You can discover many DIY instructions online to assist you with this.
There are numerous ways to share the benefit of your soil if you cannot do so due to a lack of space, time, or interest in composting. Look for a communal garden if you reside in a city.
Deliver your soil to the garden weekly in five-gallon buckets or garbage bags. Other choices include the gardens of friends, neighbors, or a nearby school working on a gardening initiative with its students.
Resue Microgreen Soil for a Flower Pot
Another option simpler than building a compost pile is adding your leftover soil to a few large flower pots. Alfalfa or kelp, which can be obtained at any nearby nursery, should be sprinkled on top of your soil.
Depending on the weather, keep it moist and let it decompose for a few weeks to a few months. Plant a flower, vegetable, or culinary herb in the container once the roots have fully assimilated into the soil.
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.