Growing Sunflower Microgreens
I loved eating sunflower seeds as a kid and was amazed to hear that people also eat the sunflower plant! Baby sunflowers are not only packed with nutritional value, they also have an incredibly nutty flavor while being crisp and crunchy. Not only are these microgreens wonderful on a burger, they are also packed with vitamins A, B, D, E, K, and many more essential minerals. They contain 8 amino acids and provide antioxidants while aiding to combat stress and inflammation. I mean, not only are these flowers enough to brighten anyones day they also pack a nutritional punch!
When we were growing and selling microgreens at Farmers Markets, the sunflower microgreens were by far the most popular. Sunflowers belong to the Asteracea family, other plants in this family include lettuce, artichokes, sage and more! These microgreens provide the body with calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, and are good for your heart and eyes. Truly a beautiful superfood. Microgreens have about 40 times the nutritional value than their adult vegetable counterparts have. Some of our favorite foods we like to use sunflower microgreens in are on sandwiches, soups, eggs, and in wraps.
How To Grow Pea Microgreens:
1. If you are using one of our kits, or a similar bottom watering hydroponic system, you will start by soaking your pea seeds for 8-10 hours to help jump start the germination process.
2. Once they have been soaked, strain and rinse the seeds to prepare them for planting. While they are straining, mist your grow mat or soil.
3. Before planting, we recommend sprinkling azomite powder on the surface of the growing medium. Azomite Powder is a slow release organic fertilizer sourced from volcanic ash. It promotes strong and healthy plants by slowly releasing minerals and trace elements into any growing medium.
4. Evenly spread the sunflower seeds on the surface of the growing medium and mist once more with water.
5. In our kits, we use the bottom watering system. We use two trays, one that is perforated with drainage holes and one that is solid. The growing process happens in the tray with the holes. The solid tray is used to stack on top of the growing seeds during the incubation period to create a dark and weighted environment. Later, the bottom tray sits beneath the growing tray. Since microgreens are so small and can be prone to becoming moldy if they are too wet, we have found the most successful way to grow microgreens is to bottom water them. By keeping the solid tray filled with water this allows the sunflower roots to drink water as they need instead of sitting in too much water or becoming dried out.
6. Leave the sunflowers covered by the solid tray for a day or two to incubate, be sure to mist them twice a day. Sunflower seeds will grow spiderweb like hairs during the incubation process and will begin to push a root out of their shells. Once 2-3 days have passed and the stems start to turn green you can place the solid tray under the growing tray.
7. Place the tray in sunlight or under grow lights and start bottom watering twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening.
8. Harvest when the sunflowers are 4 inches tall and are starting to loose their seed shells. Use a scissor or knife to harvest. They taste best if served the day of their harvest. Stop watering microgreens 12 hours before you harvest them so that they are dry and easier to store.
9. To store them, wrap them in a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Then place them in an airtight container. Pea microgreens have a longer shelf life than other types of microgreens, lasting 7 or more days in the fridge.