Pesticide Free Prairie Melody™ for Sunflower Microgreens?
Can you use Prairie Melody™ pesticide free sunflower birdseed for sunflower microgreens? Sure, but sanitize the seeds first.
Staying healthy during COVID-19 means getting the proper nutrition and exercise during quarantine or while social distancing. (Hmm. A sign of the times is that my spell check allowed “distancing”.) Sunflower sprouts are high in protein and are a good non-soybean option for a salad. They are also very easy to grow at home.
Growing sunflowers for microgreens is pretty simple but you must sanitize the seeds to kill any unfriendly bacteria. At Prairie Melody™, we do not sterilize our birdseed as that would violate our pesticide free pledge, so you need to sanitize the seeds prior to planting or sprouting. This can be done with either a hot water treatment or a mild bleach solution. Louisiana State University Extension has published a comprehensive guide to sanitizing vegetable seeds that can be found at this link. Other guides are on the internet.
Here is a link to a great publication from the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program. https://ucanr.edu/sites/marinmg/files/58062.pdf Not only does it show the process of sunflower germination and growth but talks about how sunflowers and bees work together.
Our friend Anna in Virginia uses our sunflower birdseed for microgreens which she and her husband consume and provide to the local food bank. They sprout their plants in a soil/sand mix with terrycloth after a treatment with dilute bleach solution. They repeatedly rinse the seeds with clean water following the bleach treatment. After a few days, the seeds sprout and the radicle (the new root) emerges. Shortly afterwards, the hypocotyl (the new shoot) sprouts up.
Early sunflower germination on terrycloth
Some very real caveats about using Prairie Melody™ sunflower birdseed for microgreens should be said. First, our birdseed is not for direct human consumption since we do not conduct an FDA recognized anti-pathogenic sterilization step to kill unfriendly microorganisms on our birdseed. Don’t eat a handful right out of the bag. If you choose to use our birdseed for microgreens, you need to sanitize the seeds before sprouting and monitor the sprouts for mold during germination and development. Second, we do not guarantee the germination percentage of our sunflower birdseed, so don’t be disappointed if every seed doesn’t sprout. Finally, using Prairie Melody™ sunflower birdseed for microgreens is at your own risk. We do not warrant the safety or nutrition of the sprouts grown from our birdseed.
Stay safe everyone and thank you for your support of Prairie Melody™ birdseed.
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