The Daily Gardener
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The Daily Garden in pictures:

DAY 0: Plant and cover the soaked seeds.

Day 0: Soak 50 seeds, about 1 Tblsp. for 6 hours. Sunflower seeds are pointed at one end and rounded at the other, this is important to note when planting sunflower seeds. Plant the seeds with the points down into the soil in five rows of ten seeds. The pointed end is where the root sprouts from so with it pointed down the root grows right into the soil rather than having to make a 90 degree turn to grow into the soil.

You can just spread the seed over the soil randomly also, just make sure that the seeds are not overlapping. If the seeds are touching it is alright. You will need to soak more seed to plant randomly. If you plant individual seeds with the points down, as I suggest, you get a better yield from the seeds.

When the seed are planted, place the soaked paper over the top of the pan and tuck in the edges all around the pan. This will keep the light out, make for a little cup to pour water into if the paper dries out and help to keep the soil and seed moist all at once.

Next place the pan in a dark, warm spot like in a kitchen cupboard over the refrigerator. This is ideal but the sprouts will grow no matter where you put them. The reason I like the cupboard is that the seeds like it warm to sprout and by leaving them in the dark they tend to reach for the light and that makes the stems longer.

DAY 1: Patience. Check Moisture. Patience

Day 1: After the first day you may see nothing at all, be patient. The sunflower hulls should be splitting open and sending out a little tiny white shoot. Be careful when you pick up the paper because sometimes the seeds stick to the paper and pulls right up with the paper! It is best just to peek at the corners. I will pour about 3 Tablespoons of water into the dish created by the paper cover. If you have mixed enough water into the soil mix it should remain moist enough. It is worth checking at this point to make sure the soil enough anyway.

DAY 2: Do something else!

Day 2: Today you should see the roots shooting out and heading down into the earth. You will notice a mass of white root hairs that may make you think that there is mold growing on the roots, not to worry! The white stuff is root hairs that come out of the main root trunk. If you planted the sunflower seeds as I suggest (see picture for Day 1) with the pointed ends down into the soil, there will not be a lot to see today. I will place one seed in the tray flat on the surface just so I can check the progress of the sprouts! I know I worry too much.

DAY 3: Check the cover and soil is still moist

Day 3: You can see that there is a little change from yesterday. Check the moisture of the soil and the paper covers. Keep the trays in the dark if you can, it makes for longer shoots and more even growth.

It is just the opposite of growing sets for your garden where the object is to have short and stocky green sets! Patience is still the order of the day, but you won’t have to wait long.

DAY4: Push ups! This is the day that you will see results!

Day 4: Push up day! This is the day that you will see a big change. The sunflower sprouts should be up about an inch or more for yesterday.

Literally overnight the shoot up, no pun intended! The seed hulls will still be clinging to the leaves, there is no need to pick the hulls of now, they will come off on their own or very easily as they grow. Water the soil with about 3 tablespoons, making sure not to saturate the soil either. I usually still leave the sprouts in the dark at this point, again to encourage longer stems and even growth. The fact is, if I am in a hurry for sprouts, I will put them in the sun and ‘green’ them so I can cut greens sooner. But generally I wait another day.

DAY 5 : Keep them in the Dark.

Day 5: Today the sunflower sprouts are ready for sunlight. Indirect sun is fine, even light from a light bulb is enough to green the plants. It literally only takes a few hours for the leaves to turn form yellow to green. The plants will soak up a lot of water at this stage so check the soil moisture every day.

DAY 6: Put the sprouts in the sunlight.

Day 6: Check the soil moisture, they should need a few tablespoons of water. Brush the leaves with your hand to help the hulls loosen up. They will drop off on there own too. If the hulls are tough to get off just leave them for tomorrow the leaves go a great job of loosening the seed hulls on their own. This part of soil sprouting is like working in the garden tying vines or pinching the suckers on a tomato plant, the kind of TLC I like to give to my plants.

DAY 7: They are ready for harvest.

Day 7: It is harvest time, as you can see in the picture. These tender you plants are green, the seed leaves have opened fully. Most of the seed hulls have dropped off or can easily be removed. The green can be cut now or you can let them continue to grow for several more days if the greens are not needed. It is a great way to ‘store’ the greens. Just make sure to continue to water the plants if you decide to leave then in the pan.


Harvest: Cut the greens with scissors. Rinse the greens in cold water and store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or plastic container. The greens will stay fresh for about a week. They rarely make it a day in my family, but they will stay fresh for a week if you can’t use the green right away. We use the greens in salads and in sandwiches. My wife insists that I chop the stems for the salad instead of leaving them whole, but we use the whole sprout whole in a sandwich. How ever you use them, enjoy.

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The Daily Gardener
P.O. Box 13 Suite: Maple Corner
2930 Dugar Brook Rd.
Calais, VT  05648
Phone: 802-477-2464

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