Sunflower Sprouts And Olive Tapanade Small

Growing Sunflower Sprouts Indoors

Tis the season for micro greens and sprouts.  The weather outside is frightful freakin’ cold.  Too cold to sprout seeds outdoors, even under cover, so I’ve brought the operation indoors.

A few years ago I gleefully ripped open my festively-wrapped automatic sprouter and started the winter tradition of growing fresh greens on my kitchen table in the less pleasant months.  There are many seeds that benefit from spouting in this manner (hydroponically) like radish, alfalfa, lentil, clover, and many more.  Sunflowers, however, do much better when grown as micro-greens: seeds that are sprouted in soil and harvested as seedlings.

Grow sunflower sprouts indoors


Indoor Gardening Project: Sunflower Micro Greens


  • Makeshift mini greenhouse
  • Organic black oil sunflower seeds
  • Clean potting soil

Make it!

No fancy equipment needed for this high-brow salad trimming. I used a biodegradable plastic dome (make sure it’s food safe) from a pre-cooked organic chicken: a prefect soil tray and greenhouse.  You could also use a milk jug cut in half, a cake tray, or whatever you can imagine that would create a mini greenhouse.

 Grow sunflower sprouts indoors

 Add about an inch of clean, rich soil to the bottom tray and spread sunflower seeds over the top.  I generously cover the soil with seeds, not letting any of them overlap. Cover those seeds with just enough soil to hold moisture on them and put in a warm place out of direct sunlight.  The top of the fridge is a great place to sprout them.  In 1-4 days when the seeds have sprouted, remove the dome and get them to a bright windowsill.  Don’t bother using a grow light or worrying if the sun isn’t shining every day. Who cares if they are leggy?!  You just get more yummy sprout to eat.

 Sunflower sprouts

 The micro greens are ready to harvest when the mighty seedlings push up the soil (which helps to knock off the black husks) and grow two fat seed leaves. Snip the seedlings at the base and wash in a salad spinner.  The nutty flavor is a fresh treat in the colder months and it only takes about 7 days from seed to table.

 Sunflower sprouts


A great winter project for those days when you want to eat a salad and imagine yourself in Hawaii.

About the Author : Stephanie Rose

A city girl who learned to garden and it changed everything. Author, artist, Master Gardener. Better living through plants.

View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Veggie PAK
    Veggie PAKNovember 22,10

    This looks very interesting. I just happened to save a cover and base from a half a sheet cake that I knew would come in handy. Where do you get you sunflower seeds from? Is there a specific type? I have bird food, but I suspect that isn’t the correct type. It does look tasty.


    Veggie PAK

  2. Stevie
    StevieNovember 22,10

    Hi Veggie –

    Use black sunflower seeds, organic, from a sprouts supplier like West Coast Seeds:

    Don’t use bird seed.

  3. vrtlarica
    vrtlaricaNovember 23,10

    Can I use sunflower seeds that I have saved from sunflowers this year (the original seeds were not organic)?
    And the seeds are not black, they have white and black stripes.
    I have so many of sunflower seeds, there will be enough for the birds and I could try sprouting some of the for me.

  4. Stevie
    StevieNovember 23,10

    vrtlarica – I think you should absolutely use your own seeds! I used the striped ones a while back and they worked fine – not as nice flavour as the black ones though. I only say organic because I try not to eat the pesticides / damage the earth…but I figure once you have grown them without pesticides yourself – they are organic enough!

  5. Ottawa GardenerOttawa
    Ottawa GardenerOttawaNovember 23,10

    Mmm, yummy looking harvest and great sprout starter. I’m pretty sure that I can rig myself up something like that. The extra sunflower oil seeds can be used to feed the chickadees. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Stevie
    StevieNovember 23,10

    Ottawa Gardener – I would personally NOT use commercial birdseed myself, but any other raw sunflower seeds in the shell should work just fine.

  7. melanie
    melanieNovember 23,10

    What a fabulous idea. Enjoy your snow while it lasts :)

  8. Kat White
    Kat WhiteNovember 23,10

    Delicious. I love sprouts in salads and on sandwiches. Your roasted chicken greenhouse if very clever and the perfect size. Looks like I have another project to clutter my table with this winter.

  9. Lori E
    Lori ENovember 23,10

    When I buy a sandwich for my lunch I always get sprouts on it. I never do it at home. Time to try that because I do love them.

  10. meemsnyc
    meemsnycNovember 23,10

    I have saved those biodegradable plastic domes from roasted chickens to use in the garden, I never thought to grow greens or sprouts in them. What a terrific idea. Thanks.

  11. Daphne Gould
    Daphne GouldNovember 24,10

    Last year I did a little sprouting, but I hope to do more this year. I really want to try peas though as the ones I’ve had while eating out are wonderful.

  12. Stevie
    StevieNovember 24,10

    Daphne – pea micro greens are delicious. I’m doing them next.

  13. Wendy
    WendyNovember 27,10

    yum – sounds great. I haven’t tried sunflower sprouts, but I’ve always made it a habit to sprout during these cold indoor months. Maybe it’s a need to play around with seed.

  14. Tamara
    TamaraNovember 27,10

    My aunt always grew sprouts on the window sill when I was little. Yummy!

  15. Joanna Wall
    Joanna WallDecember 23,10

    Delicious. I love sprouts in salads and on sandwiches. Your roasted chicken greenhouse if very clever and the perfect size. Looks like I have another project to clutter my table with this winter.

  16. meemsnyc
    meemsnycFebruary 6,11

    This is such an awesome idea!

  17. Rebecca C
    Rebecca CJanuary 15,12

    Just wanted to say there are other places who say you could use bird seed meant for wild birds. for example,

  18. Rebecca C
    Rebecca CJanuary 15,12

    sorry, as I was saying, for example see . I think if it is meant for birds it probably hasn’t been treated with anything harmful. read the ingredients to be sure

    • Stevie
      StevieJanuary 15,12

      Rebecca, if you feel comfortable eating seeds meant for birds, then go for it. I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable unless I can see where there were grown and processed. Standards for food safety for humans don’t apply to bird seed growing/harvesting/packaging/storing/etc, so I only grow sprouts from food packaged for humans. Just a personal preference. If you have done the research and are happy with your choice, then you have made the right decision for yourself!

      That being said, I was contacted a while back about this issue and I gave my feedback via e-mail. We went back and forth a bit, but when I heard that the person wanting to use birdseed for sprouting was planning to sell the sprouts, I was quite surprised. As a customer, I would never want to buy anything that is not intended for humans, so it was a great reminder to check with vendors at farmers markets on where they purchase their supplies.

      Thanks for the link you shared. Have fun sprouting!

  19. Dona
    DonaFebruary 2,14

    Most black oil sunflower seeds are sold as song bird food. They dont medicate or pesticide song bird food….that would be unethical – lol. I buy 50lb bags at the local farmers co-op for about $27 for 50lbs. With these & the native greens I can forage, dehydrate, etc (Henbit, Clover, Plantain, Lambs Qtrs, Nettle, Chickweed, Dandelion, Wild Onion & Mint) I hardly need to buy greens at all…except that we like fresh kale, etc too of course.

  20. Adriana
    AdrianaSeptember 10,14

    Once you cut off the sprouts, do you discard the tray w/ seeds, or will they grow again?

  21. Stephanie
    StephanieSeptember 10,14

    Hi Adriana, you compost it all when they are cut. They won’t regrow.

  22. Bibi
    BibiJanuary 2,15

    Hi, thanks for your great ideas!

    I wonder, what do you do with the soil? Do discard it to the compost bin or can you reuse the soil?


  23. Stephanie
    StephanieJanuary 8,15

    I usually compost the soil and use new soil. It’s up to you though. The seeds store all the nutrition they need so they don’t need nutrient rich soil. It should be free of contaminants that might kill the seedlings though. This is why I change it out with sterile soil each time.

  24. Yoli
    YoliFebruary 18,15

    Hi there, I would like to try this but would like to know where to get that container that is safe to use? Also, don’t you soak your seeds first?

    Thanks so much,


  25. Stephanie
    StephanieFebruary 18,15

    Hi Yoli, no soaking required! Check out this updated post on how to grow sunflower sprouts indoors

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