Grow Sunflower Microgreens in a Window Box

Photo by Carole Topalian

Gardener’s Notebook by Joshua Burman Thayer

Sunflower microgreens are easy to grow in a window box or in a flat out on your porch. Here’s how to start your patch:

  • Fill a vegetable window box or seeding flat with coconut coir to within a half inch of the top of the container. This fiber is inert, so it’s pathogen free and safe for sprouting your new seeds.
  • Now place your sunflower seeds in a single layer and cover with a quarter inch of coconut coir. This will help retain moisture around the seeds.
  • Now fill a 750ml spray bottle with pure water. Spray the surface of the coconut coir evenly every day or two to keep it moist.
  • After about a week, you will see little helicopter sprouts shooting up in the flat!
  • Now that you know your microgreens are alive and well, mix 1 teaspoon of kelp meal into a full  spray bottle of water. This provides nitrogen to the little babies. Spray every 1-2 days.
  • When you’re ready to eat your microgreens, scissor cut them (do not pull out the roots), rinse well, and enjoy! (See note below about safety*.)
  • Every two weeks you may want to sprout another flat so you have a steady supply of microgreens. I get my seeds by the half pound to save money and have microgreens going through many months of the year.

Where to get seeds?

Support your local nursery, but if you prefer to purchase online, bypass amazon and support these seeds companies directly: Oakland-based Kitazawa Seed Company, Grow OrganicPenn & Cords.

*Editor’s Note on Safety:

Raw sprouts have been implicated time and again in incidents of food poisoning, so it’s important to grow and handle them with care. Here’s a good resource that will help you make sure you are taking all the safety precautions as you grow and consume sprouts.

The method used above produces microgreens, and since they are grown outdoors with sunlight and ventilation, there is less opportunity for pathogens to grow. Also, we do not advocate for eating the microgreens’ roots, which is where pathogens are most likely to lurk. Here’s another resource discussing the difference between growing microgreens and sprouts.

Joshua Burman Thayer offers consulting to help you create a year-round plan for food planting and other garden activities.