Growing microgreens is a great hobby for people who want to grow their own food at home. This is especially true if you live in an apartment or in a house that doesn't have room for a garden. Sunflower microgreens are one of the most popular types of microgreens and they are easy to grow.
To successfully grow sunflower microgreens, soak the seeds in water for 12 to 24 hours. Then fill a seed tray with 1 to 2 inches of potting soil and sow the seeds. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and water the soil with a spray bottle every 24 hours. Your sunflower microgreens will be ready for harvest 10 to 14 days after sowing.
The rest of this blog post provides a more detailed description of what you need to know to start growing sunflower microgreens.
Was sind Microgreens?
Before I get into the process of growing sunflower microgreens, it would be helpful to understand what microgreens are and how they differ from sprouts or baby greens. Microgreens are small leafy greens that are harvested in the earlier stages of the plant's growth cycle. Microgreens in particular are harvested immediately after the cotyledon leaves develop and before the true leaves form.
Microgreens are often used as a side dish in gourmet restaurants due to their delicate appearance.
Although sprouts, microgreens, and baby greens can all be grown from the same seed, these terms describe distinctly different stages of growth. Sprouts are eaten when the plant first germinates. To learn more about the differences between microgreens and sprouts, look herethis article I wrote. Baby greens are harvested after the microgreen stage but before the plant reaches maturity.
About sunflower microgreens
Sunflower microgreens have a nutty, fresh taste. They are one of the most popular types of microgreens due to their versatility. Sunflower microgreens are not only delicious, they're packed with nutrients. Investigations by Dr. Qin Wang, associate professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, found that microgreens contain 4 to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts.
It is best to grow sunflower microgreens in potting soil or coco coir. Sunflower microgreens can be grown hydroponically, but it is much more difficult than growing them in soil.
Growing sunflower microgreens step by step
The process outlined below worked fine for me, but there are variations that work for other people. Over time you will discover what works best for your specific growing environment.
Materials needed to grow Sunflower Microgreens
- sunflower seeds– Buy food-grade seeds when growing microgreens, especially if you plan to sell your microgreens. Although you can technically grow microgreens from bird seed, these seeds contain chemicals that may not be safe for human consumption.
- seed tray/container– You could use “official” grow trays used by professional microgreen growers. However, any type of closed container such as take-away containers or Tupperware will work. Ideally, your grow tray should have drainage holes.
- heating mat (optional)– A heating mat is not required to germinate seeds, but they will help. Heat mats are not very expensive ($15-20) and can be helpful.
- food grade hydrogen peroxide
- Warm soapy water
- potting soil
- spray bottle
Steps to growing sunflower microgreens
Step 1: Soak the sunflower seeds in lukewarm water for 12-24 hours.Soaking the seeds shortens the germination time. Add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to the water to minimize the chance of mold problems during the growing cycle. Don't soak the seeds for more than 48 hours as soaking that long can drown the seeds.
Step 2: Wash your grow tray with warm, soapy water.Rinse all soap off the nursery tray and dry the tray. Cleaning the nursery tray minimizes the chance of disease destroying your microgreens.
Step 3: Put 1 to 2 inches of soil in your planter, sprinkle the seeds over the soil and cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
Step 4: Cover the growing tray with a lid or other growing tray to form a humidity dome and place the tray on the heat mat.Leave the bowl covered for 48 hours (except for watering).
Step 5: Use a spray bottle to water your microgreens every 12 hours until they germinate.
Step 6: After the seeds have germinated (about 2 days), uncover the seed tray and place the seed tray in a sunny window or light.At this point, the plants are pale white or yellow in color. That is normal. Plants turn green after they have had the opportunity to photosynthesize.
Step 7: Leave the nursery tray away from a light source until the microgreens have reached a height of about 4 inches. Continue to water the microgreens every 12 to 24 hours.If your grow tray doesn't have drainage holes, be careful not to overwater the plants as overwatering can cause root rot.
Step 8: Harvest your microgreens with a sharp knife or scissors. Wash before enjoying!
Mold on microgreens
Although growing microgreens is generally a fairly simple process, mold problems are fairly common. Mold has a spider web appearance when it forms on sunflower microgreens. However, some microgreen growers may confuse root hairs with microgreens. If you are unsure, spray some water on the potential mold. When the white fuzz “disappears”, the fuzz is a cluster of root hairs. Otherwise, it is very likely that you have a mold problem.
Unfortunately, microgreens are ruined once infected with mold. Although the sunflower microgreens will likely continue to grow, they are not safe to eat.
To avoid mold problems on your sunflower microgreens, make sure your microgreens are growing in an environment with good ventilation. It's also important not to overwater your microgreens.
Wash and store microgreens
As with all vegetables, it is important to wash microgreens before consumption. Even if you grow microgreens without pesticides or other chemicals, it's still important to wash your microgreens to avoid ingesting any harmful bacteria that may be on the plant.
To wash your microgreens, rinse them with cold water. Then gently pat them dry with a paper towel. It is important to remove as much moisture from the microgreens as possible. Otherwise they will become soft and mushy.
It's important to remember that you should do thisNOTstore wet microgreens in the refrigerator. This results in a smelly, soggy mess. To store microgreens, store them in a sealed ziplock bag on a dry paper towel. Keep your microgreens covered until ready to use to keep them from wilting.
Do microgreens grow back after cutting?
Microgreens will regrow a bit after cutting, but it's not worth growing a second crop. In general, you will only get minor growth in the same time it takes to grow a new batch of microgreens.
What can I do with sunflower microgreens?
Sunflower microgreens can be eaten raw, put on sandwiches, and added to soups. They can also be used as a garnish. Sunflower microgreens have a fresh, nutty flavor that makes them a versatile food.
Do I need to fertilize my microgreens?
Microgreens do not need to be fertilized. They only need sun and water to grow.