How to Grow Amaranth Microgreens

Amaranth is definitely one of the lesser-known microgreens, but you may have encountered it in its seed form. It’s an annual or perennial plant that grows around the world. There are approximately 70 species of the amaranth plant; purple, red, green, or gold. They may not be the best-known microgreen, but they are an excellent choice. 

You may be surprised to learn that these small plants are actually very high in both protein and fiber; this is why the Aztecs were able to survive on them and virtually nothing else.

Here’s your quick start guide on how to grow amaranth microgreens

    • soak: No, you can plant these straight away.
    • Time to germinate: 2-3 days
    • Time to harvest:10 – 15 day

Harvesting Amaranth 

It is best to avoid watering them for up to 12 hours before you harvest them. This will reduce the amount of water sitting on the leaves; which helps to prevent mod growing while you store them.

You can remove any excess water by placing them between two paper towels.

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Reference: practical growing

Seed Propagation with Oasis Grower Foam

What can you expect when you propagate with Oasis Grower Foam: 

  • Faster root penetration.
  • Better water distribution.
  • Stronger, more uniform root growth.
  • Robust plants through the entire growing cycle.
  • 100% safe for growing edible crops.

We recommend Oasis Grower Medium for all our growers, the results are clear from the photo attached.

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“Hydroponics is ‘hot’ and happening worldwide”

What is the current status of hydroponic production around the world?

Hydroponics is already very common in various parts of the world and there has been a sharp rise in recent years; hydroponics is ‘hot’ and happening across Europe as well as in North and South America. It makes commercial sense to invest in hydroponics because safe and clean food products are in great demand and retailers in some regions are prepared to pay a higher price for hydroponically grown lettuce.

How does automation and technology support hydroponics?

Growers do not always have the financial means or experience to immediately implement medium-tech or high-tech hydroponic systems so they often start out using low-tech ones. As production becomes increasingly successful and labor costs become an issue, growers switch to medium-tech or high-tech systems with more automation to improve their efficiency and hence competitiveness. 

One short-term goal is to grow safe lettuce without using pesticides, and high-tech hydroponics systems are putting this within reach. 

Which benefits does hydroponics offer at the various stages of the fresh chain?
Hydroponically produced lettuce enables growers to better meet retailers’ quality and food safety demands since it is a very clean method.

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Source: Rijk Zwaan | International hydroponics magazine

Commercial Project growing on our NFT Hydro Bases

Our NFT Hydro Bases will fill soon be stacked in a 10 x 30m greenhouse, as phase one of a commercial scale Hydroponic Project to be rolled out in South Africa.

The client has opted to grow with our NFT Hydro Bases specifically for the following reasons:

  • The NFT Hydro Base is designed to return water nutrient from over-irrigation or continuous irrigation back to source tank, or to storage tanks for reuse
  • It can be used with most plant pots or even plant bags
  • Ideal for larger vine crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers
  • Growing medium independent, tested with soil, perlite, cocopeat, sawdust (large grain)

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How to Grow Basil Microgreens

  • Time to germinate: 2-3 days
  • Time to harvest: around 15 days

Guide to Growing Basil Microgreens

  • Use good quality basil seeds, we recommend Seeds for Africa or Living Seeds to purchase your seeds from.
  • Please don’t soak your basil seeds.
  • Basil microgreens do not need to be covered in darkness for the first 3 days, they will germinate faster this way.
  • They can take up to 21 days before you can harvest, making them one of the slowest growing microgreens.
  • You may also leave your basil microgreens for longer in your systems and sell the slightly large leaves as Baby Basil leaves, still packed with flavor this is popular with restaurants for salads & garnish.

How to store Basil Microgreens

  • Microgreens are more fragile, you, therefore, need to treat them with more care.
  • Ideally, you should stop watering them approximately 8 hours before you harvest them and avoid getting water on their leaves.  To store put them in a sealable container or a plastic bag and store in your refrigerator.
  • They should keep for approximately a week, but they will lose a little of their flavor; fresh is best!

GROW Basil Microgreens 

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Urban Renovation: Hydroponic Farms in Unused Buildings

Cities are encouraged to see that urban renovations are underway whereby old, unused, or abandoned buildings, rooftops and empty lots are being repurposed with a better economic function than their original existence. It is encouraging to see this trend is being adopted throughout  Africa & South Africa.

Hydroponic Retrofits as a Real Estate Solution

One such newfound life is urban agriculture – specifically through hydroponic technology. The hydroponic retrofits not only provide new-found business opportunities for a local economy, but are a valuable way to bring together the community, promote the important topic of health, and grow and produce local food all while reusing an industrial building that might have otherwise been restricted solely to a life of dust-collection. Urban farming is key for food security!

Hydroponic Retrofits as an Energy Solution

The new trend of hydroponic retrofits is popular for many reasons. For one thing, the practice of urban agriculture completely transforms an industrial space which may previously have been less than environmentally sustainable. In addition to the obvious food production benefits of commercial hydroponic retrofits, the buildings end up undergoing energy retrofits as well which greatly reduce the water and power consumption and increase operational cost savings.

Where will you GROW?



The tale of two Hydroponic Growers

This is a tale of two growers, both started in similar circumstances. However, their projects took very different trajectories.

Grower 1, after asking us for a quotation, decided to rather build his Hydroponic system. Convinced that research on the internet would guide him to his success.

Grower 2, decided to purchase one of our semi-commercial hydroponic systems. We GROW with all our clients to ensure their success and spent dedicated time guiding, advising and upskilling Grower 2. Within a few weeks, he had a successful first crop of Basil & Rocket.

The 2nd crop of snow peas was propagated soon afterward. Over the next few months, this delicious crop was harvested supplying local stores & restaurants.  Now almost 9 months later, Grower 2 has such demand for his hydroponic fresh produce that they are forced to expand to two commercial 10 x 30m Greenhouses equipped with our Hydroponic systems.

Grower 1,  not yet successful and called us this week for advice.

Sometimes tried & tested is the better option.

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disclaimer: all variables considered


Commercial Hydroponics Project for NFT Hydro client

A longstanding client of NFT Hydro has experienced such a demand for his fresh produce grown on our NFT Systems, that they have decided to upscale to a commercial level of growing fresh produce in two 10 x 30 m Greenhouses.

They had been trialing our NFT Hydro Bases & NFT Hydro Systems over the past 6 months and has been increasingly impressed by the results and quality of the produce harvested from the hydroponic systems.

They shared these lovely photos with us this morning, as the grounds are leveled for the erection of the new greenhouses that will be fitted with our Hydroponic Systems.

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Commercial Microgreens Greenhouse | designed for our client

Our client asked us to design a commercial set-up for growing microgreens. Each 1.825 meter microgreens profile may average 810 grams pf microgreen plants with a harvest potential between 5 – 10 days thus an average harvest potential 416 x 0.81kg = 336.9kg every 5-10 days.

To produce microgreens, a grower must become a master at reproducing the environment and requirements that seeds need to germinate. The optimal environment for microgreen production can be variety-specific, but favorable temperatures range between 18 to 24°C and relative humidity (RH) of 40 to 60 percent would meet the needs of most plants. Increasing the temperature and humidity may raise the risk of pest and disease issues.

Within the growing environment, good air circulation is a must. Air circulation assists in producing a uniform temperature and humidity throughout the growing area. Growers need to use horizontal airflow fans along with forced air or natural air vents to mix and exchange air within the growing space.

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The Future of Agriculture is Hydroponic Growing

Hydroponics is the fastest growing sector of agriculture, and it could very well dominate food production in the future. As the worlds’ population increases and arable land declines due to poor land management, people will turn to new technologies like hydroponics and vertical farming to create additional channels of crop production. Currently, arable land comprises only around 3 percent of the Earth’s surface, and the world population is around 6 billion people, resulting in around 2,000 square meters of arable land per capita. By 2050, scientists estimate that the Earth’s population will increase to 9.2 billion, while land available for crop and food production will decline. To feed the increasing population, hydroponics will begin replacing traditional agriculture.

Already there has been a great deal of talk throughout the scientific community for the increased use of hydroponics in third world areas, where water supplies are limited.  Hydroponics has the ability to feed millions in areas of Africa and Asia, where both water and crops are scarce.  

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Source: How stuff works; How hydroponics work