Organic Black Sunflower Seed – How to grow Sunflower Greens
Sunflower Greens are beautiful nutritious shoots with green leaves, which are grown to about 3-4 inches height. They are then suitable for harvesting and adding to salads, sandwiches, stir-fries or juices. They are a rich source of chlorophyll, an anti-oxidant, high in vegetable protein, B complex vitamins, vitamin E and minerals including potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. Growing your own is the most satisfying and economical way to get fresh Sunflower Greens. We recommend you use organic compost or soil to ensure you have the best nutritious shoots.
How to grow 1 standard seed tray (33cm x 22cm) of Sunflower Greens:
Soak 100 to 150g of the black sunflower seeds in warm water (40ºC initially) for approximately 15-18 hours or overnight.
Drain off the water.
Daily, 2-3 times a day, fill the container with fresh water and drain off immediately.
After 2-3 days fill your seed tray half full of compost. Sprinkle the sprouted seed on top of the compost and spread evenly. You can then cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost as it can help with the growth depend of condition you are growing them at.
Keep covered at room temperature for 4/5 days, watering once/twice a day keeping the compost moist, as it is important to keep the seeds moist during germination, but do not over water.
On approximately the seventh day once the seed has germinated, ensure the tray is in a light place, the brighter the better.
You can slow or speed the growth of the sunflower greens by manipulating the temperature. Fresh air and sunshine is what it likes best, but in cold weather you will need to keep it indoors on or near a windowsill. In hot weather it is better to protect the plants from direct sunshine.
Continue to water, up to twice a day if necessary. Do not let the shoots stand in water. Just keep the compost moist.
After 10-14 days, the plants will be approx 7 – 10cm (3-4 inches) high, and will be at their optimum nutritional value, having transformed maximum light energy into chlorophyll, making the leaves a bright green. It is now ready to harvest and eat.
To harvest cut a small bundle of the Sunflower greens with a sharp knife or scissors about 1 cm above compost surface. Rinse well before use, sprinkle on salads or use in sandwiches and enjoy.
Once it is ready to use, keep it as cool as possible to maximise its life. If it is still growing too fast, or getting old, you can cut it and put it in your fridge for several days to keep fresh, but not for too long as it will need light to keep green. Rinse it immediately before use as usual.
By planting trays at weekly intervals, you can ensure a continuous supply.
You can use your Sunflower greens in recipes below:
- Jamie Oliver's California Sprout Salad
- Alan Coxon's Salmon Serviche with crisp fresh sprouts
- Polly Noble's Protein Powerhouse Smoothie
- Labneh with pomegranate, sprouted seeds and shoots
- Purslane, Sunflower Greens and Fennel Salad