Looking for something to satisfy your green thumb AND fill your belly with fresh veggies this winter? Look no further than sunflower microgreens! Graced with a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture, sunflower microgreens are nothing short of awesome in sandwiches, soups, salads, scrambled eggs, and wraps. Both the leaves and the stems are edible. In this gardener’s opinion, sunflower shoots are the finest of all the microgreens. I’ll be starting a batch of my own later this week and continue growing them all winter long. It’s easy, fun, and a great project for kids.
Here are all the steps you’ll need to grow sunflower microgreens yourself.
1. Purchase quality seed. I use black oil sunflower seeds. Though other types will work, these are the least expensive. You can purchase seeds intended for use as birdseed (FYI: there are no GMO sunflowers at this time, so that’s not a concern). Or, if you’re looking for certified organic seeds, here’s a good source.
2. Soak two cups of seeds in warm water for 12 hours in a covered container.
3. Drain and rinse.
4. Soak the seeds again in warm water for another 8-12 hours (Repeat steps 3 and 4 once more, if the seeds haven’t started to sprout).
6. Sow the seeds thickly across the entire tray then cover it with another inverted nursery tray to block out the light. There is no need to cover the germinating seeds with more potting soil. Be sure there are some small holes in the top tray to allow for ventilation.
7. Water the tray from the bottom once or twice per day by setting the tray in a bigger tray of water for a few minutes.
8. As the shoots grow, they’ll push up the top tray (usually within a few days). At this point, remove the top tray to expose the growing seedlings to light.
9. Flick off any seed coats stuck to the growing leaves.
10. Move the tray under a grow light or in front of a bright window so the shoots can “green-up”.
11. Continue to regularly water.
12. Harvest the sunflower shoots when they reach four inches high by cutting them off at soil level with a sharp, clean scissors.
13. Store unwashed sunflower microgreens in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days. Wash them as you need them by running the shoots under cold water.
As you can see, growing sunflower microgreens is fun and simple. You can also try growing basil microgreens, ‘Red Garnet’ amaranth shoots, pea shoots, or even spicy mustard microgreens using the same directions. Enjoy!
For more on growing vegetables in the winter, check out the following posts:
Do you grow other microgreens? Which ones are your favorite?