Mediums- Hydroponics Vs. Soil

Mediums- hydroponics Vs.Soil

  • Many microgreens can be grown without soil
  • Hydroponically grown and soil grown wheatgrass have virtually the same level of vitamins and minerals
  • It is generally agreed that most of the nutrients at the early microgreen stage come from the seed itself. The root systems aren’t mature enough to pull a significant amount of nutrients from the soil.
  • That said, there is a lot of microbial activity happening in the soil that scientists are just becoming aware of.
  • In general, microgreens will be more vigorous and taste better if grown in a high quality soil- the sweetest taste often comes when the soil includes some vermicompost- delivering bioavailable minerals in soil equals sweeter taste.
  • You can still get a really beautiful harvest from a good hydroponic system.
  • Use a medium that you’re comfortable with.


  • Use a high quality organic potting soil
  • Poor quality soil can often have molds and fungi that can cause yield issues
  • A rich, fertile soil is teeming with the biological and mineral interactions necessary for vibrant, nutrient-rich plants
  • It’s best to trial a few varieties of soil to see which works best in your environment
  • The very best is to create a high quality vermicompost from your harvested trays and incorporate this into your system

Hydroponic Mediums

  • Coir pith (coconut fibre) - Waste product of the coconut industry, and is the husk of the coconut itself. Difficult to cut. OK water retention capacity. Large oxygen capacity. One word of caution about coconut fibre- there is a commonly available, lower grade of coconut fibre that is high in sea-salt and is very finely grained. This lower grade coconut fibre will produce disappointing results
  • Perlite - Has been around for years. Used as a soil additive to increase aeration and drainage. It’s a mined material formed from rapidly heated volcanic gas. Commonly mixed with vermiculite. Inexpensive. Poor water retention capacity. Dust is harmful, so best to wear mask.
  • Vermiculite - another mined material. Often used 50-50 with perlite. Inexpensive. Drawback is that its water retention capacity is too high to be used alone. Will drown the roots of the plant. Use a mask.
  • Soiless Mix - often a combination of Sphagnum moss, perlite, Zeolite and vermiculite. Most soiless mixes have a good combination of water retention and aeration
  • Sawdust -  is tolerated by some microgreens. Depends on which tree it comes from, how fine a texture and how thick. Possible to mix in soil.
  • Felted jute grass (Baby Blanket) - Very easy to cut and work with. Great water retention capacity and aeration. My family’s favorite non-soil medium. Disadvantage- expensive if not re-used. Can be re-used by sterilizing in boiling water.