It's no wonder that birds covet the young sunflower greens that emerge in your garden. They know how delectable they are! High in iron, calcium, protein, and healthful unsaturated fat, the greens from these black oil sunflower seeds (loved by microgreen enthusiasts for their fabulous flavor and tender texture) are a nutritious addition to just about any dish that sprouts from your imagination.
• Botanical Name: Helianthus annuus
• Days to Maturity: 10–20 days
• Family: Asteraceae
• Native: North America
• Hardiness: Annual
• Variety Information: Sunflower microgreens are meant to be harvested at 1"–2" tall for use as crisp, tender, succulent raw greens. Black oil sunflower seeds are commonly found in birdseed mix and used to make sunflower oil. Any variety of sunflower seed may be grown for its edible, young greens, but the black oil seed produces a very tasty, tender seedling that is often preferred by microgreen enthusiasts.
• When to Sow Outside: Not recommended. Microgreens are fragile, and outside soil makes them difficult to clean.
• When to Start Inside: RECOMMENDED. Sow indoors any time of year. For a continual crop, sow every 7 to 14 days.
• Days to Emerge: 5–12 days
• Seed Depth: ⅛"–¼"
• Seed Spacing: ½"–1"
• Thinning: Not required
• Harvesting: When seedlings emerge, the first pair of leaves to show are the cotyledons, which can look very different from the leaves that follow, called "true" leaves. Microgreens are ready to harvest when they have cotyledons, or when the first true leaves have begun to form, depending on preference. Cool growing temperatures may slow the expected amount of days to maturity. Using scissors, cut microgreens just above the soil line when you are ready to use them.