Sunflower Sprouts Part 3
In Sunflower Sprouts Part 1 we discussed some general information about these sprouts, in Sunflower Sprouts Part 2 we had a discussion on the nutritional value of the sprouts. Here, in Part 3, we will review basic manual sprouting techniques for sunflower organic sprouting seeds and lightly touch on sprouting with automatic sprouters.
Sunflower sprouting seeds are versatile and easy to sprout across most platforms – trays and automatic sprouters and soil. They need just a little practice for beginner sprouters because of the amount of time needed to sprout them and the little bit of extra attention they require. But once you get the hang of sunflower sprouts, they are very easy to grow. They are a hardy seed that produces a great tall green sunflower sprout.
In future posts I will go into more detail about how to sprout these seeds but let’s just review some basic sprouting directions.
The Beginning of Sunflower Sprouts
First, and to my mind the most important step in sprouting, is the soaking process. During soaking, the sunflower seed absorbs water which turns this dead dormant seed into a live sprout. The water diffuses through the seed coat into the embryo causing a swelling of the seed. You can sometimes actually see this by observing the cracked seed casing after soaking. Once you add oxygen to the soaking seed then growth occurs. Germination takes place at above 65 degrees Farenheit. This is a good time to add liquid kelp fertilizer. The seed will absorb the fertilizer as it is absorbing water.
For automatic sprouters a soaking process is not usually necessary. That is because the automatic sprouter will rinse the seeds in a recurring cycle throughout the day. So the sunflower seeds will get enough water druing the cycles to replace the soaking process.
Soak the seeds in a jar or bowl of water. You can soak seeds for about 8 to 10 hours, or overnight. You can actually soak seeds for up to 24 hours with a water change in the middle at 12 hours. Do not reuse the soaking water on your sprouts. It carries waste materials from the soaking seeds. You can use it in your garden or house plants, but please do not reuse this water on your sunflower sprouts.
Use cool water. If you live in a very cold climate, during the winter months you may want to use slightly warm water. Not hot, not boiling, just a little warm to the touch. Use the best water you have available to you. Ordinary tap water is fine. That is what I have always used along with well water when we had it. Well water is fine. Filtered water is fine. R/O water is fine. But remember, if you use filtered or R/O or some other type of water, you are increasing the cost of the sprouts. That’s not a bad thing, it is just something you want to keep in mind.
The Process for Sunflower Sprouts
If you are using a tray sprouter without soil, then pour the sunflower seeds and soaking water from the jar or bowl into the tray sprouter letting the excess water drain out. You should have only wet seeds in the tray without any standing water. Rinse with fresh water and let that water drain out so you only have wet seeds in the tray without any standing water. If you are using a tray sprouter with soil, then pour out the water from the jar and rinse with fresh water, pour out the fresh water so that you only have the wet seeds. Spread the seeds on top of the soil and put a little bit of soil on top of the seeds. Not a lot, just a little bit, enough to keep the sunflower seeds and then the sunflower sprouts from get too dried out. If you are using an automatic sprouter, you do not need to soak the seeds overnight, you can place the seeds directly into the sprouter.
If you are using a tray sprouter without soil, then you will repeat this process – rinsing and draining the sunflower sprouts- two times each day: once in the morning and once in the evening. Make sure you drain out as much water as you can and that there is no standing water left. If you are using a tray sprouter with soil, keep the soil moist, not soaking wet.
And don’t rush. I know, you are busy. If you do not give your sprouts the right amount of water, they will fail to thrive.
And be consistent. These seeds need consistency. They like a bath in the morning and an evening one, too. It makes them feel refreshed and ready to continue to grow. Sing a little song to them while they bathe. It will do wonders for them. Don’t forget, you are everything to them. You are Mother Nature. They know only you. So don’t rush and don’t forget to water them twice each day. After the rinses, make certain that there is no standing water, just wet seeds or sprouts.
If you are using an automatic sprouter, you should follow the manufacturer’s directions. Basically, you will put dry seeds in the sprouter, fill up the water reservoir and set the timer. Once everything is in place then go ahead and plug it in to start the machine.
Just About Ready To Eat Sunflower Sprouts
Sunflower sprouts are ready to eat in about 8 to 10 days, 8 in the warmer temperatures and 10 in the cooler temperatures. Although there have been some weeks in January and February where it has taken my sunflower sprouts 10 to 12 days to come to maturity. There are places like Southern Florida, Southern Texas and Southern California where the sprouts are ready in 6 days, but generally, it take 8 to 10 days. With automatic sprouters the time for mature sprouts may also lessen as they are getting more water consistently throughout the day.
Chlorophyll is developed in a sprout that has been exposed to light. You do not need any special lighting, ordinary daylight that comes in a room will do fine. Don’t put them in direct sunlight as on a window sill. Just a sunny room will do. It only takes a few hours, say from breakfast to lunch, to green them up. If you live in a not very sunny place, or if you have no natural light or if you are growing your sprouts in the basement then you may need an alternate light source. No need to get too fancy, an all spectrum light from the hardware store or local nursery should do just fine. Someone out there is going to try to sell you the latest and greatest lighting system. It is not necessary for sprouts and it will increase the cost of the sprouts.
Store your sunflower sprouts in the refrigerator. And eat them.
Your friend in sprouting,
Sprout Lady Rita
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I hope you enjoy your Sunflower sprouts!