Microgreens Tray Buying Guide 2021 USA & Canada
Growing in 10″ x 20″ greenhouse trays is the most popular method for a reason. They’re widely available, they fit nicely on the right shelves, and they’re affordable and easy to clean. But you need to get the right ones.
Why not just buy cheap trays?
If you drop a tray while you’re cleaning them, or moving them around, they can crack and your tray is useless. Once they’re cracked they lose their strength, and aren’t waterproof. You have to be really gentle with the cheaper, thinner trays. You might save a few bucks on your initial order, but it will come back to haunt you unless you’re really careful (I’m not).
This is what I’m looking for in microgreen growing trays:
- Food grade plastic: this is non-negotiable, it needs to to be the right plastic, and then that plastic needs to be food grade on top of that. I look for recycling codes #2 HDPE (High Density Poly-Ethylene), #4 LDPE (Low Density Poly-Ethyle), or #5 Polypropylene for food-grade plastics.
- Recycled plastic: As long as it’s recycled to a high standard (food safe), recycled plastic is more sustainable
- Toughness: trays that can take a bit of flex without cracking or kinking, you should be able to drop a full microgreen tray 4 feet, is that too much to ask?
- Rigidity: You don’t want to pick a tray up, and have it flop over sideways and dump all your soil and microgreens on the ground.
- Made locally: Whether you’re in the USA, Canada, or elsewhere, it’s great if you can source something locally. Less shipping of finished goods is more sustainable.
- BPA-free: food safe should (but doesn’t always) mean they’re BPA free. It’s worth double checking. There’s significant science to justify completely avoiding BPA-containing plastics for food applications.
Buying Nursery Growing Trays in the USA
In the USA there are a lot of great options, but for me, the Paperpot Co trays really stand out. With Bootstrap farmer as a close second.
The Best Overall
These trays are legendary. They’re made in the USA from recycled, food grade Polypropylene (recycling code #5). They weigh 22 oz (over a pound each) for the solid trays, which is a good indication of how much material is going into them. These are buy-once trays. You won’t need to buy them again unless you expand your operation.
Something to keep in mind is that these trays are slightly bigger than a lot of the flimsier disposable trays (like a lot of the Amazon trays), the Paperpot Solid Bottom Trays’ outer dimensions are 24-7/8” x 12-7/8″ x 7/8″.
Expect to pay around $12 per tray with shipping and taxes for lower quantities (10 trays). I use the perforated tray with a solid tray underneath for growing indoors to catch water and allow watering from the bottom (between trays). I’ll be slowly overhauling the blog photos with new photos using the paperpot trays!
Another bonus here is that you can pressure wash your trays.
My Number Two Choice
Bootstrap farmer trays are in the sweet spot between cost and performance. They’re a lot more durable than most of the trays you’ll find online on Amazon or locally at your greenhouse supply company. They’re made from the right plastic, and if you treat them well, they can be buy-once trays.
These trays fit the normal 18″ x 48″ wire shelves that are sold almost everywhere.
Expect to pay around $8 per tray with shipping and taxes for lower quantities (10 trays). Most microgreen growers use a solid tray underneath a perforated tray. The perforated tray holds the soil and the solid tray catches water.
Buying Nursery Growing Trays in Canada
Canada has a surprisingly good selection of microgreens trays available online.
The Best Overall
Paperpot Co ships to Canada! So they have my vote. Check out the description above (no sense in copy pasting it down here). You may have to pay customs and duty charges, but they shouldn’t be very high.
One thing to note is that they will likely be shipped by UPS, and UPS (in Canada anyways) has a bad habbit of sending your bills to collections without notifying you. UPS often ships things COD (cash on delivery), but the deliver people don’t ask for payment, so you end up owing them $10 or some other small fee for brokering the border crossing process.
But you probably won’t find out about it until the collections agency starts calling or emailing. I’ve personally had this problem multiple times with UPS, so watch out for it. It’s a pain, but you can do a quick check of your credit score to see if you need to follow up and reverse any claims UPS has put on. Okay, rant over! =)
My number Two Choice
Sunblaster sells their trays in double, and quadruple thickness.
- Double-Thickness Tray 11″ x 21″ x 2-1/2″ deep (28 cm x 53 cm x 6 cm deep)
- Quad-Thickness Tray 11″ x 21.4″ x 2.5″ deep (28 cm x 54 cm x 6 cm deep)
Sunblaster has a lot of equipment suitable for growing microgreens. They’re well known for affordable LED lighting that lasts. I have some T5 lights from over 10 years ago that are still going strong.
Looking for Other Supplies and Equipment?
If you’re looking for good quality microgreens supplies and equipment, I have other pages like this one recommending tools, supplies and equipment based on whether you’re a beginner or commercial operation. Check out my recommended supplies and equipment here.
I’m Alex Lafreniere. I learned a lot about plants when I built and operated a landscaping company. I learned even more when I started growing and selling Microgreens. But, learning is a journey, not a goal. Ever since travelling across the world, I’ve wanted to find ways to bring more delicious and exotic plants into my life. This is the site where I share everything I’ve learned with you. And maybe we’ll learn a thing or two together.
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