Success Tips – RusticWise (2023)

The sunflower plant gives us so much: it is a source of beauty in the garden; its seeds make a tasty snack; and they can be grown as microgreens. Unlike other types of microgreens, there are a few tricks you should know when starting your own batch of sunglasses. We'll show you how to grow sunflower microgreens from soaking and pre-germination to harvesting and storage.

Sunflower microgreens are a great way to add nutrient-dense, healthy greens to your diet. They require little space and can be grown indoors all year round. The key is pre-germination – this helps ensure your seeds have the best possible start.

Read on for more tips on how to successfully grow sunflower microgreens from start to finish!

Why sunflower microgreens are a bit difficult to grow

One of the most popular microgreens to grow, sunnies are coveted not only for their taste (slightly nutty and sweet), but also for their tastenutritional properties. They contain vitamins A, C, E, K and B6 as well as folic acid, iron and protein. They are a good source of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and amino acids.

What makes sunflower microgreens a bit different from most other microgreens is that they must first be soaked and pre-germinated before they grow into tiny greens.

When you grow sunnies as microgreens, you are actually both germinating and growing microgreens. (If you think sprouts and microgreens are the same, read onKey differences between sprouts and microgreens here.)

The hard outer shell of each sunflower seed makes it a little more difficult to grow.That's why it iscriticalthat yougerminate the seeds in a germination jarFirst.

TheShells can also stick to leaveswhat needs to be demolished (don't worry, this part is easy!)

And in order for sunflowers to develop strong and healthy roots, it is best to wear aweighted coveragethem during the growth phase.

While there are a few extra steps to growing sunglasses, we think it's worth it!

It is notatbad…

While some types of microgreens are more prone to mold growth due to their susceptibilitydelicate leaves and stemsthat hold water, sunflowers don't have that problem. (Sunflower microgreens are actually pretty substantial.)

Instead are actually sunflower microgreensmore resistant to mold growth. Their thick stems help them grow tall. Because sunflower seeds are quite large (compared to smaller seeds like basil, for example), each seedling is further apart and the canopy is less dense.

That means youcan be safely watered without moisture or mold problems(more on watering tips below).

Why it is important to pre-germinate sunflower seeds

Although it is an additional stepThe germination phase in the glass is important for several reasons (2):

  • The outer shells will soften and loosen, making them easier to peel off later;
  • Theholding seed jarthe seeds warm and moist - important conditions for germination;
  • Accelerates growth;
  • Tests the viability of your seeds. If you have a low germination rate, you can throw them away without wasting any more time (and soil).
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Select sunflower seeds

All good harvests start with good seeds. And when you grow sunny microgreens,it's all about the black oil sunflower seeds.These seeds are smaller than the striped seeds we eat as snacks and have a shiny, black husk.

What about the variety of striped sunflower seeds, you might be wondering (those that are a faded gray with a white stripe).

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Thestriped varietyof sunflower seeds is not recommended. They are larger and the seed coats tend to stick more tightly to the leaves, making them more difficult to remove. Even the packets of striped sunflower seeds sold as snacks contain flavorings and other preservatives.

And if you are thinking of bypassing the pre-germination phase by jumping straightshelled sunflower seeds, Don't worry.

Shelled seeds are also not recommended as they are not suitable for growing microgreens and will not viable for very long (unless they have been refrigerated, which in most cases is not).

After all, what is it about?seeds for birdsfeed?

This is also not recommended as they are not intended for human consumption. This means they are not food safe. You could find all sorts of nasty things in there, from random debris to insect eggs. You will spend a lot of time sifting through the seeds - time that would be better spent gardening!

So what kind of seed do you need?Buy black oil sunflower seeds specifically labeled for growing microgreens from a reputable supplier.Free from chemicals and harmful pathogens, these high germination seeds will help you grow healthy and tasty greens.

Top:If you don't plan on growing your sunflower microgreens any time soon, or if you've stocked up on a large batch, try storing the seeds in the fridge.

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How to grow sunflower microgreens: step by step

Sunflowers, aptly named, love the sun and love the warmth. If you grow microgreens in the summer, you may experience better and faster growth than in colder, wintry conditions.

Harvest time: 8-12 days


  • Plant bowl and cover:If you have standard grow trays (5x5, 10x10 or 10x20), great! You are ready to go. If not, don't worry. You can reuse a shallow container you have at home, e.g. B. a plastic clamshell packaging (of fruit) or cake trays made of aluminum. Just remember to poke a few holes along the bottom for drainage. You will also need a cover to cover the seeds during germination.
  • Growth medium:Use organic potting soil or a soilless medium such asCocos Cocos.
  • sunflower seeds:As mentioned above, we recommend using high quality seeds for growing microgreens. For sunflower seeds, you will need about 1/4 cup for a 5 x 5 growing tray.
  • Water and a spray bottle/nebulizer:Water should have a drinking water quality of AMinimum. If you have heavily chlorinated water, fill a large, clean bucket with water and let sit for 24 hours; This allows the chlorine to escape. The quality of the water used whenGerminating and growing microgreensaffects the taste and also the health of the greens.
  • Glass jar (wide-mouth masonry) for soaking and pre-germinating seeds and a lid:If you have a mesh lid, this works great; Otherwise, you can make your own lid using a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band.
  • Tweezers:To remove all unsuccessful seedlings that did not take root in step 8.

Step 1: Measure sunflower seeds

Since you'll need to soak and pre-germinate the seeds, you'll want to get the amount of microgreen seeds just right.

So how many seeds do you need?

For a 5 x 5 growing tray you will need about 1/4 cup.

Another way to work out how much you need is to spread a single layer of seeds in the empty planter tray you intend to use. Measure and record this amount.

Top: Not soaked enough seeds? You can either try switching to a smaller planting tray, or fill the empty space with another type of microgreen seed with a similar growing season (that doesn't require soaking), such asChinakohl.

Step 2: Pre-rinse

As mentioned earlier, if you want to learn how to properly grow sunflower microgreens, theSteps before soaking and pre-germinationare critical to success - so don't skip this step!

Measure out your seeds and place them in a glass jar.First, let's do a pre-rinse.Fill the glass with cold water and swirl it quickly. The water probably looks cloudy. drain. You may have to repeat this once or twice.

Step 3: Presoak and pregerminate

Next, fill in cold water and let it soakSoak overnight or 8-12 hours.

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The sunflower seeds float on the surface. If any seeds are above water they will not soak properly. Try to keep them all submerged by placing a lid or mesh strainer that fits snugly inside the jar to ensure they stay submerged.

Top:If you have a clean plunger from a French coffee press that fits in the jar, this works like a charm!

Once the first soak is complete,drain and rinse.The mesh lid or cheesecloth on the jar should hold all of the sunflower seeds in the jar while allowing water to trickle in and out.

Keep your jar at room temperature out of direct sunlight.

FurtherRinse and drain seedstwice a dayuntil you see signs of germination (you should usually see growth within 24-48 hours). A radicle (root) begins to grow from the seeds.

Make sure all water is thoroughly drained each time. You can do this by placing your glass upside down in a large bowl at about a 45 degree angle.

Step 4: final rinse

Once most of your seeds have germinated, give them a final rinse and drain.

Step 5: Prepare the seed tray

Make sure your grow tray is clean as this will prevent bacteria or mold from growing. Fill the tray with1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) moistened potting soil; or make sure the soil reaches the top of the tray for easier harvesting.

Squeeze the soil lightly with your hands or a small piece of cardboard.

The soil should feel moist but not soggy.

Step 6: Scatter and moisten the seeds

Spread the seeds evenly over the surface of the growing medium in a single layer. Don't worry if some touch (as long as they aren't stacked on top of each other).

Gently press the seeds down with your hands or a piece of cardboard so they make contact with the soil.

Use your water spray to quickly wet the tops of the seeds.

Top:While some types of larger seeds do well when covered with a light layer of soil, this is not necessary for sunflower seeds. Sunflower microgreens actually seem to be better, thoughnotcovered with a layer of soil: the seed coats seem to detach better if left uncovered.

Step 7: Put a Cover on It (along With Some Weight)

Now turn your cover so that the bottom is resting directly on the seeds. This puts steady downward pressure on the roots to encourage vigorous growth. If you have something heavier than a cover, such as a B. a tray for a cafeteria, you can also use this.

It's important to cover the seeds to keep the light out and moisture in. Make sure there is adequate air circulation. Place at room temperature in a place with little light.

Check once a day during this time to make sure the soil stays moist. Mist once a day as needed (however, the soil and seeds should remain sufficiently moist for about three days).

Remember to put the cover back on. Check to see if the tiny roots are growing down. If not, try adding more weight to the cover, e.g. B. a spray bottle, a couple of glasses, etc.

Seeds germinate around days 3-4.

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Step 8: Remove the weight and remove unsuccessful seedlings

During this time, growth from the bottom shell will begin to lift the cover! Once the gap between the top and bottom trays is approximately 1 inch, remove all weight along with the top cover.

Now it's time to sort out the poor seedlings that haven't taken root properly in the soil. Use tweezers to gently remove any seedlings that have not rooted downwards properly.

This will help prevent those unsuccessful seedlings from rotting and contaminating the other successful seedlings.

Step 9: Let there be light

By the 4th or 5th day, the sunflowers should show steady growth and be ready for sunlight to turn them nice and green. Remove the cover and place the sunflower microgreens insidedirect sunlight.

If the weather permits, you can even place your tray of vegetables outside in direct sunlight for several hours. (Just protect your microgreens from anyhungry backyard animalswho would be happy about a tasty snack!)

Sunlight helps the leaves grow big, green, and vibrant. It also helps loosen any remaining sunflower husks.Sunflower microgreens that have not been exposed to adequate sunlight will appear pale and have a lackluster flavor.

Step 10: Water from Above

Yes, you read that right - water from above. While we usually frown on top watering as most microgreens suffer from this method, sunflower microgreens are different.

They are strong and can withstand the force of water (that isnotsaying to trample the poor seedlings with water). Your canopy is less dense and does not hold water and is less prone to itmold problems.

When watering, you can direct the water at any remaining seed coats to remove them. However, avoid overwatering.

Allow the water to drain completely for about 30 seconds after pouring.

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Step 11: Harvest

Theideal harvest timeSunflower Microgreens isBeforethe true leaves appear.At this point the green is delicate and sweet: wait too long to harvest and the texture will become fibrous. Sure, you can wait longer to let that happenMicrogreens growbigger, but then you sacrifice taste for size.

Notice that two tiny leaves appear in the center of the large seed leaves. This is a sign that the true hands are ready to come out.

This typically happens betweenDay 8-12 or when greens are 5-10cm high.

By this time, most of the skins should have fallen off the leaves. If any remain, simply remove them by hand.It's a good idea to remove all the shellsBeforeHarvest as you will have a harder time after harvesting.

Avoid watering the greens from above the day before harvest to avoid excess moisture which will be shorteneddurability.

To harvest, use sharp, clean scissors or a knife to cut the green just above the ground line.

Store your harvested sunflower microgreens in the fridge for up to a week.

Step 12: Enjoy the second wave

Sunflower microgreens not reallyregrow after harvestHowpea sproutsdo, but many breeders enjoy second and possibly third "waves".

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This just means that the greens grow at different rates and not all are ready to be harvested at the same time.

Each subsequent wave produces less, with a loss in flavor and nutrients as the nutrients in the soil are depleted.

While you may enjoy a third or possibly fourth or fifth wave, the flavor is a pale version of its former self and is best added to the compost or fed to the birds.

Now that you know how to grow sunflower microgreens, add them to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. They are tasty and rich enough to use as a salad base and go well with pea sprouts. Or enjoy pure sunflower microgreensa tasty and nutritious snack!

👉 Check out our article about themNutritional Benefits of Sunflower Microgreens.

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  1. My Net Diary, Sonnenblumen-Microgreens, Ne Day Farms, Retrieved August 2021.
  2. Braunstein, Mark Mathew (2013).Microgreen Garden: Indoor Grower's Guide to Gourmet publishing ISBN 13: 978-1-57067-294-1.
  3. sprout people, sunflower green, Retrieved August 2021.

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Autor: Josh Tesolin

Josh is co-founder of RusticWise. When he's not tinkering in the garden or fixing something around the house, he can be found doing a variety of random side projects.

Read more about him here


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