How to grow Sunflower Sprouts from whole Sunflower Seeds

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Sunflower greens are an amazing superfood. These tasty greens are an excellent source of healthy protein providing all the amino acids needed to repair and grow muscles. As well being an excellent source of amino acids sunflower sprouts are rich in folic acid and the B complex vitamins, vitamin C, E, selenium, zinc and an excellent source of cholophyll.

Sunflower sprouts ready to harvest

They make a nutritious addition to salads, green smoothies, and juices. Plus they're good to snack on any time of the day. Fresh, crunchy, and slightly nutty in flavor they can be grown indoors all year round, providing lovely fresh greens in the depths of winter.

They can be grown outdoors when the weather is warm. I find they need protecting from hungry wildlife with netting or some squirrel proof wire mesh if I do this as we are not the only ones to find them super tasty.

Growing Sunflower Sprouts

This is how I grow sunflower sprouts. We usually have a tray growing somewhere in the house. They're so tasty I snack on them straight from the tray, and a small boy I know enjoys pretending he's Peter Rabbit stealing from Mr McGregor's garden.

1. Soak a cup of unhulled sunflower seeds for 8 hours or overnight, and then rinse and drain them.

Sprout the Whole Sunflower SeedsSprout the Whole Sunflower Seed
White roots starting to growWhite roots starting to grow

2. Leave in a warm dark cupboard and rinse twice a day until they start to sprout. You will see small white 'roots' growing out of the sunflower seeds shells.

Remove any large pieces of chaff and damaged seeds that show up yellow or brown at this stage.

3. Prepare a seed tray, or other container, with a good quality potting soil or compost. Make sure that you gently push the soil right into the corners of the tray. Tip the sprouted seeds into the middle of the tray, and gently spread them out evenly. It's fine if they touch, but try not to overlap them.

Spread the sprouted sunflower seed evenly on the soilSpread seed evenly on the soil

4. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil taking care not to disturb them, and leave in a warm place out of direct sunlight.

Cover sprouted sunflower seeds with a thin layer of soilCover with soil and check daily

5. Check daily to see if they need watering. Water gently, and keep out of direct sunlight. They will need more water if the temperature's hot, and less if it's cool. Over watering makes them prone to mold and rot, while under watering may mean they die of thirst, and will certainly stunt them.

6. As the sunflowers grow I give them a gently shoggle (technical term) with my fingers to encourage the top layer of compost to fall down into the tray.

Sunflower micro-greensStarting to grow up

7. They are ready to harvest when their smooth seed leaves are large and green, and the second hairier leaves have not yet grown. Most of the husks will have fallen off the sprouts by this point, but you will need to pull a few off by hand.

Tray of sunflower sproutsSunflowers ready for harvest

The above tray of sunflower sprouts is only just ready for harvesting. You could happily leave them for another day or two, which would give most of the smaller sprouts time to shed their husks and open their seed leaves.

8. To harvest the sprouts cut off near the base with sharp clean scissors, rinse in cold water to remove any traces of soil, and spin dry in a salad spinner.

Bowl of freshly harvested sunflower greensBowl of freshly harvested sunflower greens

9. Enjoy fresh in your salad or green smoothie, or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Refridgerated they keep fresh for 5-7 days, providing they're almost dry, and all the husks have been removed.

10. Hoover or sweep up all those pesky husks!

Problems Growing Sunflower Greens

Are your concerned about mold on your lovely sunflower greens? If so click the previous link to learn more.

Where to Buy high quality Whole Sunflower Seeds for Growing Greens

If your based in North America then I recommend you buy your sprouting seeds from Sproutman.com.

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