5 Things To Look For in a Microgreens Rack

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You’ve got the plans. You’ve got the seeds. You’ve got the perfect grow lights. You’re on your way to growing a bounty of leafy greens. But before you start planting, make sure your microgreens grow rack is up to snuff.

This article lists 5 key things to look for in your microgreens rack system: durable materials, sturdy design, smart design (adjustable shelves), portability, and ease of assembly.

Microgreens are the future of urban farming or vertical growing. They’re easy to grow in a small space. The right microgreens grow rack ensures that you can grow lush and healthy greens.

Why grow microgreens on a rack system?

When you’re simply growing a tray or two of microgreens at home, a sunny windowsill will do. But as soon as you start growing multiple trays of microgreens, or when you need to introduce a setup for your grow lights, things can get messy. Enter a simple shelf or rack.

When you’re growing at home, you don’t need anything fancy. (Those looking to grow commercial microgreens will have more elaborate needs.)

Here are a few benefits of using a standard shelf or microgreens rack:

  • Keep things organized: Clear the clutter from your tabletop! With a growing rack, you can organize your grow space and group your trays together as you see fit. Come harvest time, you can quickly harvest the crops that have similar grow cycles.
  • Maximize indoor space: Space comes at a premium when growing at home (or for profit). The best microgreen rack for your unique needs will maximize every square-inch of available space and allow for multiple trays per shelf.
  • Ensure microgreens get enough light: One of the main reasons to use a shelf is to position artificial lights directly above each tray for even, consistent exposure and upright growth. No more having lopsided microgreens that are reaching towards the sunlight from a window.
  • Maximize yield: For faster and optimal microgreens growth, more uniform crops and higher nutrients, having the right setup can make your whole operation more efficient from seeding to harvesting.
  • Control growing environment: By controlling the amount of light, temperature, air flow, and humidity, you’ll be less prone to mold or fungal diseases.

Plan your setup

Before you start browsing for shelves, do a bit of basic planning first. Answer the following questions:

  • How much floor space do you have?
  • What size of grow trays will you be using? While commercial growers use 1020 trays, some home growers like smaller 10 X 10 or even 5 X 5 grow trays.
  • How many trays would you like to grow at one time?
  • What type of lighting will you use? Many people use a T5 or T8, but the choice is really up to you and your individual setup.
  • How many lights will you need per shelf?
microgreens rack, indoor hydroponic rack
Credit: Deposit Photos

5 Key features to look for in a microgreens rack

For those of you who are planning to start a microgreens business and are looking for the best rack system for microgreens, look no further!

Microgreens are the future of farming for the modern urbanite, but the greens are small, fragile and much more sensitive than larger plants. That’s why it’s so important that you buy the best rack system for microgreens to ensure your crop will be healthy and won’t suffer from insufficient light or airflow.

This is where shelving plays an important role. Here are 5 key features to keep any eye on when doing your shopping.

1. Durable and waterproof materials

When growing any kind of indoor plant, be prepared for potential spills, and leaks. (Even amongst the most careful growers, accidents happen!)

For this reason, untreated wooden shelves may not be the best bet as they can eventually harbor mold. Carefully sealed wood products can be okay, same with BPA-free plastics.

Many growers prefer to go with stainless steel wire shelving as it’s rust-proof, sanitary, and easy to clean. Some shelves are NSF-certified (which means they are food-grade materials).

2. Sturdy design

There are few things worse than a wobbly or weak shelf.

Ensure each unit has a reasonable weight capacity to hold several trays of microgreens, plus any grow lights, timers, and fans.

The shelves should be wide enough to accommodate a few trays.

3. Smart design

When planning a grow room, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to shelving. You need to work within the room you have.

However, the best rack maximizes available space (both floor-wise and vertically).

The shelves should also be adjustable so you can adjust the height of each shelf to fit your needs and reposition grow lights as needed. This will allow you to maximize space and efficiency.

A good design will also make the addition of fans and lights easy with a few zip ties. This is another reason why so many home growers prefer sturdy wire shelving.

4. Portable

While not absolutely necessary, having a set of wheels or casters on your shelf is definitely a bonus. Need to move your entire growing unit? Not a problem with wheels!

This can be especially helpful when trying to find the perfect spot for optimal light exposure (if you’re still using natural sunlight). Or, it can simply make cleaning under the unit a bit easier.

5. Easy to assemble

Nobody wants to spend hours fiddling around with screwdrivers and bolts. Fortunately, many units today have simple connectors and tubes that can be assembled in 15 minutes or less.

This makes it easy for anyone to quickly set up their own microgreens rack without having to worry about complicated assembly instructions. Then, you can get back to the business of growing.

Other supplies you’ll need for growing microgreens

What supplies do you need to start growing microgreens? The short answer is: few! In fact, you probably have many of the items already. However, there are a few things that are absolutely necessary to grow microgreens at home.

Here is a checklist of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” you will need when growing micros on a shelving unit at home. (If you’re growing micros for profit, your needs will be different).

Must-have supplies:

  • Quality microgreens seed
  • Microgreens trays (with holes and without)
  • Covers
  • Organic growing medium (soil, soilless or hydroponic)
  • Grow lights
  • Clean water
  • Extension power cords, etc.

Nice-to-have supplies:

  • Timer (to automate the lighting requirements)
  • Small fans to promote better air circulation
  • Zip ties (for securing cords, etc.)
  • Weights (for weighing down certain seeds during germination)

3 microgreen racks for home growers

While there are many picks online, here are a few good choices for those who are growing micros at home. Many decent shelving units aren’t necessarily labelled as “microgreens shelves.” Many are designed for basic storage, but work well for indoor growing, too. You can scale up as needed.

When you’re starting small

This 4-rack shelving unit could potentially fit under a window to receive direct sunlight, and to maximize space in a kitchen or living room. Made of sturdy stainless steel, it’s corrosion-resistant and comes with casters. We like how each rack is removable for easy cleaning.

YKEASE 4-Shelf Shelving Units on Wheels Stainless Steel Kitchen Cart Microwave Stand - Bathroom Garage Storage Shelves 24 Inches Wide

You might like

4-Shelf Shelving Unit on Wheels, Stainless Steel

  • Made of heavy-duty stainless steel, corrosion resistant.
  • Each adjustable and removable shelf holds up to 70 pounds.
  • Dimensions with wheels: 23.6″ x 13.8″ x 39.4’’
  • Wheels are lockable.

Found on Amazon
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Those in Canada and the UK should be taken to the product listing in your region.

To maximize space

This large unit has 6 racks made of NSF-certified heavy-duty wire steel shelving. Each shelf holds up to 600 pounds.

BestOffice 18x48x72 Storage Shelves Commercial Heavy Duty Metal Shelves Garage Organizer Wire Rack Shelving Storage Unit Shelf Adjustable Utility 6000 LBS Capacity,Chrome

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6-Shelf Shelving Unit with Wheels, Heavy Duty Metal

  • Six adjustable triple-truss wire shelves.
  • Height adjustable non-rolling/stationary feet included, allows shelving to hold up to 600 lbs. per unit
  • Dimensions: 72″H x 48″W x 18″D.

Found on Amazon
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Those in Canada and the UK should be taken to the product listing in your region.

Deluxe setup for micros and other indoor growing

If you plan on starting seedlings indoors, or growing other types of indoor plants or vegetables, this deluxe growing system with grow lights makes it really easy for you.

It comes with 4 adjustable shelves, T8 LED grow lights, cables, ties, switches, and timer socket. We like how each shelf comes with waterproof shelf liners  to prevent spills.

Barrina Plant Stand with Grow Lights for Indoor Plants, 4-Tier Plant Shelf with 6-Pack 180W T8 3FT Full Spectrum Grow Lights for Seed Starting, Succulent, Settable Timer Socket (35.4"x13.8"x59")

You might like

Barrina Plant Stand with Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

  • 4-tier plant shelf with 6-pack 180W T8 3FT full spectrum grow lights, settable timer socket.
  • Dimensions: 35.4″ x 13.8″ x 59″
  • Each tier can hold 90lbs weight of plant pots, total load weight up to 360lbs.

Found on Amazon
Check Current Price
Those in Canada and the UK should be taken to the product listing in your region.

Related questions

Can you make your own microgreens rack?

Sure, if you’re handy and have a bit of time, you can easily assemble a DIY grow shelf of your own. The main downside to doing this however is that DIY shelves are usually made of wood. Unless you take the time and effort to carefully seal your shelf, over time, your unit may become musty or moldy from any excess moisture.

How far should grow lights be from microgreens?

Most microgreens grow well anywhere between 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) from an artificial light source. You may need to adjust lighting through a bit of trial and error before you find the sweet spot. Before you go through the hassle of adjusting your lighting, try propping up your grow tray with a book or box to bring it closer to the light.

Is it better to have grow lights on all day?

No, like other plants, microgreens need a few hours of darkness each day (at least 6 hours) to grow healthy and strong. More is not always better.

👉If you like this post, see our Complete Guide to Growing Microgreens at Home.

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