You may have noticed "microgreens" in the produce section of your local grocery store. They come in many varieties: lemon grass, kale, amaranth, sunflower, pea shoots, etc,...
|Kale Microgreens sold by Whole Foods|
Growing your own microgreens is a fun way to add a homegrown ingredient to your meals. Below are details for growing sunflower sprouts - and peas can also be grown using this method. It's also nice to give a second use to plastic containers that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
Growing Sunflower Microgreens
Step 1: Put holes in the bottom of a clean to-go container
Step 2: Fill the bottom of the container with some type of soil & add seeds
This could be potting soil, compost, coconut coir...there are many options. Add water to fully moisten the soil - then cover with approximately a 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds. Place the to-go contained lid under the container to catch any excess water.
True Leaf Market has a great selection of seeds suited for growing microgreens:
|Black Oil Sunflower Seeds sold by True Leaf Market|
|Seeds placed upon moistened soil|
Step 3: Add weight and store in a dark space
This may seem strange, but the seeds will germinate better - and produce stronger sprouts - by placing another container and a weight on top of the seeds and storing the container away from light. This mimics the weight of topsoil on the seeds - and they'll grow strong roots from which to push up in search of light.
|A container & weight placed on top of the seeds prior to storing in the dark|
Step 4: Look for sprouts lifting the weighted container
Check the container every few days. First you'll see white sprouts starting to emerge from the seeds - a good initial sign. Leave the container in place until the sprouted seeds actually start to lift up the weighted lid.
|These sprouts are ready for light|
Step 5: Place the container in light
A south facing window sill is a great place to give the new sprouts the light they'll need to grow. Gradually leaves will begin to emerge under the seed shells. Note: be careful not to try to pull the shells off of the newly formed leaves - as you have a good chance of damaging the new leaves. As they grow, the leaves will gradually shed the outer seed shell.
Step 6: Monitor moisture level
Once the container is in sunlight, moisture will begin to evaporate from the container - in which case you'll want to add more. A good way to avoid fungal issues is to add water to the lid that's placed under the container and let the container wick up the moisture from below.
Step 7: Eat and Enjoy
A pair of kitchen scissors is a good tool to snip off sprouts as you want them.
There are so many different greens that can be grown this way - so try and experiment with new types and see which you like best.