Knowledge base for microgreens growers

Do Microgreens Trays Need Holes? A Complete Guide

  • By: admin61
  • Date: June 4, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.


Microgreens have gained popularity in recent years due to their vibrant colors, intense flavors, and impressive nutritional content. These tiny, nutrient-packed greens are easy to grow indoors, making them an ideal choice for urban gardeners and anyone with limited space. However, when it comes to growing microgreens, one question often arises: do microgreens trays need holes? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the importance of proper drainage for microgreens, the benefits of using trays with holes, and alternative options for those without drainage.

Do Microgreens Trays Need Holes?

When it comes to growing microgreens, proper drainage is crucial for their overall health and successful cultivation. Excess water can lead to root rot, mold growth, and other detrimental issues. Therefore, microgreens trays do need holes to ensure efficient drainage. Let’s delve into the reasons why:

  1. Preventing Waterlogging: Holes in the trays allow excess water to escape, preventing waterlogging, which can suffocate the roots and lead to plant stress or death.
  2. Promoting Air Circulation: Adequate air circulation is essential for microgreens’ growth and prevents the development of fungal diseases. Holes in the trays facilitate the movement of air around the roots, maintaining a healthy environment.
  3. Preventing Mold and Mildew: Excessive moisture, combined with poor air circulation, creates a favorable environment for mold and mildew growth. Holes in the trays help prevent these issues, ensuring the microgreens stay mold-free.
  4. Preventing Nutrient Imbalance: When water accumulates at the bottom of the tray, it can result in the leaching of nutrients, leading to an imbalance in the growing medium. Proper drainage prevents nutrient loss and maintains an optimal nutrient balance for the microgreens.

Alternative Options for Trays without Drainage

While trays with holes are preferred for growing microgreens, there are alternative options available for those who don’t have access to trays with proper drainage. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  1. Add Drainage Holes: If you have trays without holes, it is possible to create your own drainage system. Simply use a drill or a heated tool to carefully create small holes at the bottom of the trays, ensuring proper drainage.
  2. Use Seedling Trays: Seedling trays are designed with drainage holes, making them suitable for growing microgreens. These trays are readily available in gardening stores or online and can be a convenient option.
  3. Use Recycled Containers: Repurposing containers with adequate drainage, such as shallow food containers or nursery pots, can be a cost-effective solution. Ensure the containers have drainage holes or add them yourself before planting the microgreens.
  4. Consider Hydroponics: Hydroponic systems eliminate the need for trays altogether. By growing microgreens in a nutrient-rich water solution, you can bypass the need for drainage altogether.

FAQs about Microgreen Trays and Drainage

Q1: Can I use trays without holes to grow microgreens?

Yes, you can use trays without holes, but it is essential to create a drainage system to prevent waterlogging and ensure proper growth. Adding your own drainage holes or using alternative containers with drainage can help maintain a healthy environment for the microgreens.

Q2: How many drainage holes should I create in the trays?

The number of drainage holes depends on the size of the tray and the type of microgreens you are growing. As a general guideline, aim for approximately four to six small holes evenly spaced across the bottom of the tray. This will provide adequate drainage without compromising the structural integrity of the tray.

Q3: What happens if there are no drainage holes in the trays


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Q3: What happens if there are no drainage holes in the trays?

If you use trays without drainage holes, excess water will accumulate at the bottom, leading to waterlogging. This can suffocate the roots, hinder nutrient absorption, and promote the growth of harmful bacteria, mold, or mildew. Without proper drainage, your microgreens are at a higher risk of developing root rot and other detrimental conditions that can stunt their growth or even cause their demise.

Q4: Can I use a tray with fewer holes for microgreens?

While it’s important to have drainage holes in the trays, having too few holes can impede proper drainage. Insufficient holes may result in water pooling at specific spots, increasing the risk of root rot and mold growth. It’s best to ensure adequate drainage by having a sufficient number of small holes evenly distributed across the tray’s bottom.

Q5: Can I reuse trays with holes for multiple microgreen crops?

Absolutely! As long as the trays are clean and in good condition, you can reuse them for multiple microgreen crops. After harvesting, clean the trays thoroughly to remove any debris or remnants of the previous crop. This helps prevent the buildup of harmful pathogens and maintains a healthy growing environment for your next batch of microgreens.

Q6: Do all types of microgreens require drainage?

Yes, all types of microgreens require proper drainage for healthy growth. Whether you’re growing brassicas like kale or broccoli, or leafy greens like lettuce or spinach, providing adequate drainage is crucial. The specific needs of different microgreen varieties may vary, but ensuring proper drainage is a fundamental requirement for all microgreens.


In summary, microgreens trays do need holes for proper drainage. These holes prevent waterlogging, promote air circulation, and help prevent the growth of mold and mildew. However, if you don’t have trays with holes, there are alternative options available, such as adding your own drainage holes or using seedling trays or recycled containers. Remember, providing adequate drainage is essential for the overall health and successful cultivation of your microgreens. Happy growing!

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