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A fun way to get started growing

You can grow your own food in just about anything (like the to-go container above) - and watching seeds come to life never gets old.  Getting started can sometimes seem daunting - so here's a simple way to begin growing your own food.

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.

Happy Growing!


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