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Growing Sunflower Sprouts for Healthy Microgreens

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Looking for fresh greens to ramp up your salads? Sunflower sprouts — or microgreens — are easy to grow in a sunny windowsill and will be ready to eat in about a week. 

Try growing popcorn shoots, too!

sunflower sprouts growing in a black container

Sunflower sprouts are a bit chunkier than some of the other microgreens you might be familiar with. They have a bit of a nutty flavor and provide a nice, hearty crunch in salads and sandwiches. When fresh greens are hard to come by, keep several trays of these easy-to-grow sprouts in rotation.

Growing edible sunflower sprouts

There are a couple of options when it comes to finding sunflower seeds for sprouting. You can order organic seeds, packaged up specifically for sprouting, but that can get expensive. Another option is to pick up a big bag of black oil sunflower seeds — the kind people use for birdseed. That’s what I’ve used here.

You’ll need:

  • a recycled plastic salad container (or similar)
  • potting soil
  • raw sunflower seeds
sunflower sprouts

Directions:

Fill container with about 2″ of potting soil. Make certain that the container has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Scatter seeds over the soil. In this case, don’t worry about overcrowding the seeds – the wee sprouts don’t mind being crowded. You want the seeds to be in a pretty solid single layer on top of the soil.

Cover sunflower seeds with a layer of potting soil about 1″ thick. Water thoroughly and close the plastic lid, if your container has one. This helps to retain moisture until the seeds sprout.

green salad on a white plate

Place in a sunny window, being sure to use a drainage container underneath it to capture moisture. In two or three days you’ll see sunflower sprouts start to appear. At this point, if you’re using a salad container with the lid, you’ll want to open the lid to give the growing sprouts room to grow. Watch the growing sunflower sprouts carefully and water as needed to keep the soil damp but not overly wet.

In another couple of days, the sunflower sprouts will be 2-3″ tall and ready to harvest. Don’t let them get much taller than that.

white bowl of clipped leaves from above

To harvest, simply use scissors to snip them off at the base. The outer seed casings tend to be a bit clingy, so I like to put the trimmed sprouts in a colander and rinse gently under water to remove them.

Use these sunflower sprouts as you would any other microgreen: Add to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. They’re also great added to a fruit smoothie for a little extra nutrition!

Winter greens

You can grow microgreens year-round, but they have a special appeal during the winter months when fresh greens from the garden are a bit sparse. Other options for winter greens to consider:

sunflower sprouts growing in a black container
How to Grow Sunflower Sprouts at Home

How to Grow Sunflower Sprouts at Home

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Growing time: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days 10 minutes

For fast, fresh greens, sunflower sprouts can't be beat!

Ingredients

  • a recycled plastic salad container, (or similar)
  • potting soil
  • raw sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. Fill container with about 2″ of potting soil. Make certain that the container has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Scatter seeds over the soil. In this case, don’t worry about overcrowding the seeds – the wee sprouts don’t mind being crowded. You want the seeds to be in a pretty solid single layer on top of the soil.
  2. Cover sunflower seeds with a layer of potting soil about 1″ thick. Water thoroughly and close the plastic lid, if your container has one. This helps to retain moisture until the seeds sprout.
  3. Place in a sunny window, being sure to use a drainage container underneath it to capture moisture. In two or three days you’ll see sunflower sprouts start to appear.
  4. Water as needed to keep the soil damp but not overly wet.
  5. In another couple of days, the sunflower sprouts will be 2-3″ tall and ready to harvest. Don’t let them get much taller than that.
  6. To harvest, simply use scissors to snip them off at the base. The seed casings tend to be a bit clingy, so I like to put the trimmed sprouts in a colander and rinse gently under water to remove them.

Notes

Use these sunflower sprouts as you would any other microgreen: Add to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. They’re also great added to a fruit smoothie for a little extra nutrition!

Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

4 comments… add one
  • Caliese Apr 19, 2020, 7:17 pm

    Do they sprout again after you harvest or do you completely start over? Sorry, I’m brand new to growing anything.

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 20, 2020, 7:47 am

      Goodness, don’t apologize. We all start somewhere. These are pretty much once-and-done. Add the spent soil to your compost!

      • Ness May 11, 2020, 4:19 am

        I was told by a lady who had been growing microgreens that most seeds are a one-and-done but peas would grow back so you could get 2-3 harvests from those.

        • Kris Bordessa May 14, 2020, 5:41 pm

          It can depend on the type of seed, but definitely worth a try!

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