Sunflower shoots need some sun. Sunflower seeds need a little while after they have been planted to sprout. Since they are small, it is easier to plant them close to the ground and spread them out a bit before they start growing. The same is true for beans; you can get ‘grow’ started in the fall with tiny seeds and spread them out a bit before you transplant them indoors. Growing sunflower shoots are fun, but requires a little know how.
When growing sunflower shoots, the best method is to use a sterile Tupperware dish that has been air dried to keep the moisture levels low. To begin, remove the seeds from the seed trays. You should have plenty of room to maneuver around the dish when removing the seeds and to place the seeds on the paper towel on top of the dish. Be sure that the seeds are not touching any other surface of your container. Once the seeds are removed, you can separate them by picking up the paper towel and moving it over the seeds.
The next step in planting is to remove the seeds from the paper towel and place them on a sprouted mixture (garden soil or compost) which has been mixed with water and brought just slightly beyond the surface of the ground. This mixture is called the seed pod. Once this is done, the seeds will be planted into the sunflower growing tray, being careful to avoid touching the ground. Once the shoots have burst through the top of the pod and are on the path of their harvest, you can move the trays to the window and take advantage of the sunlight.
The great thing about growing microgreens or sunflower shoots is that the plant will grow larger than its seed pod in a short amount of time. If you choose the correct type of plants, it will reach one and a half to two feet in height, with the potential for more growth if allowed to mature. If you are using seeds, you can place the plant on trays or on your greenhouse floor and allow the microgreens to mature until they are ready for planting.
Many people prefer to grow sunflower shoots because they provide a year round source of vegetables. For many people growing mung beans is also an option. The choice of what you plant depends on the environment you live in. Plants that need less attention should be placed in containers while those requiring more sun should be planted in the greenhouse.
The best way to insure success in growing sunflowers is to use seed. The smaller the seed, the better because the plants do not have to compete for the same resources. When you purchase the seeds, make sure that you buy ones that are dry. The reason is that moist sunflower microgreens are very hardy but seedlings can quickly sprout if they have been wet. If you are growing more than one kind of bean, the best choice is to start them in pots and cross pollinate them.
If you are growing mung beans, you should make sure that you only water the bottom of the trays. Overwatering the plants will encourage root rot and the seeds will not germinate. Determinate watering is the best way to ensure success. Make sure that you keep your soil moistened by watering just before you transplant the seedlings. Watering twice a day, in the morning and evening, is sufficient.
If you have purchased seed already when the plants are growing stems can be soaked in a solution made from one part chicken litter to three parts water. Moisten the stems before you remove them from the garden center. There are several ways you can ensure a successful growing season and avoid disappointments. Follow the above advice and your efforts will pay off with a bountiful harvest of healthy and beautiful sunflowers.