When it’s still winter in Montana and I’m craving something green and growing, I plant a tray of sunflower sprouts. Soak the seeds for 24 hours, let them sprout, then spill them out onto a tray of either soil or vermiculite. Warm and cozy inside your house, they’ll reach up a few inches in a week or so–snip with scissors and add them to your dinner!
Thank you to my friend Janice and her husband, Paul, for introducing me to this method. Their original post is here, with meticulous instructions. My short-cut version is below.
Here are the items you’ll need:
- sunflower seeds for sprouting, I use “Sunflower, Sprouting–Black Oil (organic)” by Handy Pantry (in Bozeman, find at Planet Natural)
- a quart-sized canning jar
- optional: a “sprouting lid” that fits the canning jar (in Bozeman find at the Co-Op and Planet Natural)
- a rectangular planting tray, 3 parts: outside plastic rectangle, inner “drip tray”, ventilated clear cover (in Bozeman find at Planet Natural)
- potting soil or vermiculite, enough for a 1/2″ deep layer in the planting tray
- optional: organic liquid kelp fertilizer
- optional: a spray bottle to use for misting the sprouts with water
Here are a few photos of the process: soak, sprout, plant:
- 2 cups black oil sunflower seeds intended for sprouting (e.g. NOT roasted or salted)
- equipment: vermiculite or soil, 3-piece planting tray
- optional: liquid kelp fertilizer
- Put the sunflower seeds in the canning jar and fill it with water to the brim. Let sit on your kitchen counter for 12 hours to soak.
- Drain the water, tip the jar sideways and keep at room temperature for the roots to develop--this will take a day or two. Rinse and drain with fresh water twice per day until most of the seeds have developed their root, then it's time to plant.
- Prepare your planting tray by adding vermiculite or soil to a 1/2" depth then pour over 1 quart of water to moisten. Sprinkle and spread your soaked and rooted sunflower seeds--no need to try to orient them root down, they'll figure it out. Cover with ventilated cover and set somewhere out of direct sunlight, preferably a dark spot, room temperature (about 65° - 70° F). Lift the cover and mist the seeds twice/day. Add water to the drip tray (optionally enrich with liquid kelp fertilizer) as needed to keep the vermiculite/soil moist but not soggy.
- After 3 or 4 days, the seeds should begin to show leaves. When this happens, remove the cover and move the tray near a sunny window. Continue to mist the sprouts twice/day and add water (optionally enriched with liquid kelp fertilizer) to the drip tray.
- Harvest by trimming sprouts with scissors when they are 3 - 4 inches tall. Rinse with water and enjoy! Best eaten fresh, but you can wrap a handful of sprouts in a damp paper towel, set it in a closed container (I use a large yogurt tub) in the refrigerator for a few days.