101 Sunflower microgreen: everything you need to know.
So you came across sunflower microgreens, right? And now you are asking yourself, how can you grow them? Further in the article we will talk about everything you need to know about sunflower microgreens. What is the nutritional value of sunflower, the technique for growing sunflower without any issues. During our process of teaching others, how to grow microgreens, we noticed, that a lot of people are facing with some issues when growing sunny’s (we like to call them like this). And because of that, they just gave up on growing, but this is such a shame, because sunflowers are one of the most profitable crops compared with other varieties and one of the most tastiest one. Plus, if your children still don’t eat vegetables, you need to pass them sunflowers, I guarantee you, that they will love them. We will also list some tasty recipes, so let’s get started.
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Which seeds to choose?
Many people ask firstly, when they start to grow microgreens, what kind of seeds are microgreens seeds? Are they treated, perhaps genetically modified? They just can not understand, how those small plants can be grown like this and that they also can eat them. So the most frequently asked question is, are those seeds different from regular ones, and will they grow to mature plant? Yes, let me calm you down. The seeds are basically the regular one, the same as when you would like to grow mature plants. But what I was advised once, from seed supplier, is that for microgreens and sprouts they take the seeds from the plants, that haven’t been the biggest one. In case of sunflower, I can tell you from my experiences, that when we sow them outside, the mature sunflowers were really smaller than from the ‘regular’ seed. But in general, all other varieties should also get to the mature phase, when sown separately and with the idea of growing them to mature phase.
The second most frequently asked question for begginers is also if you use the seeds that you are feeding your birds with? Let me tell you a little secret behind sunflower seeds. The best possible microgreens will grow from black oil sunflower seeds. Look at the picture below. One the market you will find very tiny black sunflower seeds and a little larger one, both are perfect. You just have to adjust the density per tray. So, to answer the question, it is really not a good idea to use birds seeds. Firstly, you don’t know if they were treated with any chemicals/fungicides and if they are safe for human consumption. Food safe seeds are always tested for different pathogens, compared to birds seeds, which are not tested at all. Secondly, germination rate can be an issue, and that will result to mold problems during the growth. And thirdly, the difference is in the production facility. The human grade seed facilities have strict sanitation standards and require FDA approval. Bird food may have by products in the seed, and is usually approved by agriculture agencies. This is stated in the blog post from Prdseeds, you can read it here. And if you look from the buyer perspective, would you buy sunflower microgreens if you knew that they were grown from birds seeds?
Black oil sunflower seeds, smaller on the left and regular one on the right.
Taste like heaven
It is superior – nutty, crunchy and the same as the seeds of the sunflower. Many times our chefs use them with pumpkin. Why do chefs love it? Because they are so big, they last a long time on food, also on warm food and when they get living microgreens, these microgreens are unpretentious for maintenance.
What about the nutrition of sunflower microgreens?
These microgreens are one of the most complete foods you can add to your diet for overall health. Sunflower sprouts are a perfect source of complete protein. In fact, they are considered to be the most balanced of all of the sources of essential amino acids, full of chlorophyll, rich in source of lecithin and high in B vitamins, especially folate. what else? Sunflower greens are a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins A, B complex, D, and E. They also contain minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Plus they are very low in calories.
Growing technique, very detailed, step by step
You are here to get the most gathered information about sunflower microgreens. I heard so many times, how can you grow so beautiful sunflowers, or people having so many issues with growing them. That’s why I would like to gather all the basic information and growing processes, to help you grow those thankful microgreens.
- You need to have really GOOD, QUALITY seeds, that germinate at least 95%. See seed suppliers in our blog here or in some other countries.
- Weigh seeds for at least one tray, or better for two trays, you will soon see why, put them in a glass, fill with the ph-balanced water to the top – if some of the seeds are floating, then put some weight (we usually use smaller glass of water and turn it around, so that all the seeds are under the water), cover glass with some mesh (we use mosquito mess) and rubber around. Wait for 12 hours, if you have room temperature (T), if T is quite low, then you can soak them easily for 24 hours. After this period you rinse water and turn around the glass for all excess water to run out.
- Prepare containers/trays with soil (important to have soil in level as much as possible). Quality of soil is also important. You can buy quality one and well respected through microgreen growers at Amazon.
- Then sow seeds.
- Better to sow at least 2 trays, so that you can stack them. (important step –> with this you will add some weight on seeds, and microgreens will become more healthy, roots will dig deeper in soil, they will be more strong…). Firstly mist WELL all sown seeds (container by container – just for example, how much you need to mist, see our short video: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4Z2Ob8BcBN/). On the last one container, you also need to put some weight, we use blank containers. Then cover with a black tray.
- Put the tray in a room, where there is at least 20 – 25 C (68 – 77 fahrenheit). The higher the T, the faster germination you will have. Room humidity must be around 50-60%, which is ideal.
- Each day you need to MIST well and unstack containers, and change them (top one put down, and vise versa). On day 5, we unstack them and put them just on one level, and cover them still with the black dome tray.
- On the 6th day we uncover the black tray and put them under the light. They will be ready to sell in 4-5 days.
- Each day we run our hands through them, so that we help them to throw away hulls, which can be a little bit disturbing, when you want to cut them and eat them 🙂 Each day we water them, most microgreens need watering from the bottom, but with sunnies you can use top watering (after exposing to light), they will benefit a lot. And you really need to water them very well, because they need a lot of water. We are watering just one time per day, that’s why we use a little bit more water. If the next day they fall apart, you didn’t water them enough.
Evenly germination and they are ready to put them under the light.
We have included video on how to grow sunflowers into our online course, Microgreens MasterClass, where we list several other varieties, also pea, beet, nasturtium, red veined sorrel, shiso,…
Issues and solutions with growing
Are you facing with some issues when growing your sunflowers? Let me pop up some of the major, that we recognize.
The number one rule, to prevent any kind of issues, specially mold, is a really good seeds. I know, that I am repeating myself, but really, if your seeds are not OK, then you will face with some problems, that’s for sure. And be careful, even if you are buying your seeds from verified source, LOT numbers are important. So write down LOTs for your seeds, when they come to you. With this you will know in advance if you have grown them already. If not, then order smaller amount of the new LOT and test it before you make big stock with them.
Hint: sometimes you can see when they germinate, that there are several hulls, which are already performing some mold. You can pick those seeds out with tweezers and you will probably save the whole tray.
Secondly. You need to have good air exchange/flow around your growing trays. Try not to have more than 60% humidity level in the room, when they are exposed to the light.
Thirdly. Food grade hydrogen peroxid. Spray the seeds evenly with the solution (read the label, how much water to mix in, but most of the time you can get 3% solution).
2. Hulls on the microgreens
If you are not doing something with the microgreens between the growth, then you are probably having some issues when you want to harvest them. You are stuck with the hulls, which are really not good to eat, because the hulls are hard to chew. So what can you do? You need to soak seeds before sowing for 12-24 hours and then stack the trays (one on another) between the germination. Each day, when you unstack trays and put microgreens under the lights, you need to run hands through them. With this a lot of hulls will fall of. And watering from top once in a while also helps to soften hulls and speed up their falling off.
3. Slow or bad germination
Check out your conditions in the room, that you are growing. Temperature should be at least 20 – 25 C (66-78 fahrenheit), so that the germination is normal. If you have lower temperature, germination will be slower. And check if your tray is covert with another tray , so that the moisture level is really high in the tray you are growing. If this conditions are checked and if there isn’t any germination in 2-3 days, then your seeds are not good.
4. Uneven growth or drying out
Did you check the shelf if its in level? If not, water can go to one corner, and the other side could dry out. This is also very important. And I have to tell you, sunflowers need really a lot of daily watering. If for example amaranth need very small amount of daily water, sunflowers need a lot of. Otherwise, next day you will find them falling down.
Don't forget to top up your pizza with sunnies 🙂
Where to use sunflower microgreens? Few ideas…
With our detailed instructions, you now know how to grow them with 100 % success. But what to do with them now? Here are some of our delicious ideas (* recipes are vegan, because this is also our philosophy, but you can use microgreens, wherever you want – let imagination be without limits). For some more ideas you can read blog here.
Morning smoothie. Because of its superior taste, you can easily incorporate them into smoothies. Wth this, you will get soo much nutrients from the beggining of the day. Plus if you would like to hide the veggie look from your children, they won’t even notice, that you have added it to the smoothie. Win win combination 🙂
Spread. Tasty as ever. This is our unique food at home. In between the lunch and dinner, we ofter make differet spreads, and the one with microgreen sunflower is the tastiest one.
Vegan Poke bowl.
Pasta. When we are in a rush, we prepare quick, easy, tasty and healthy pasta with tomato sauce, some vegetables and a buch of microgreens.
Plates with sunflower microgreens.
Pizza. Modernized evergreen pizza with microgreens. 🙂
Vegan buchwheat lunch. Easy as it sounds 🙂 My husband is cooking really good. And buckwheat is on of his favorite ingredients to prepare tasty and fast lunch for us. Just use some onions, mushrooms and parsley, add some spices at the end, and voila, luunch is prepared. And don’t forget to add a lot of sunflower microgreens or some other variety.
Sandwiches. Tofu, humus, red papper or cucumber, microgreens and sandwich is prepared. Or just hummus or some dip (it can also be from sunflowers), topped with microgreens, and you will be satisfied.
Quick snacks. Sunflower microgreens are so tasty, that our children eat them alone, and this is their snack.
Plates with sunflower microgreens.
Vegan poke bowl from https://sproutsandkrauts.com/vegan-poke-bowl/.
Want to learn more?
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