Planting BOSS?

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JG3

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Does anyone here grow black oil sunflowers? Can you just plant the regular seeds you buy for feed? Learning that rabbits can also eat the stalks, I’m thinking it might be a good idea the grow, not only for the seeds but for the stalks as a hay. But are the seeds in feed stores sproutable?
 

rockyhillrabbits

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When I fed BOSS before, I would always lose a few seeds and I did have some actually sprout and get a few sunflowers growing lol.
 

WhatTheFluff

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Yes. You can plant regular feed seeds. I frequently sprout BOSS bought as wild bird feed to make sunflower microgreens.
How do you grow them to be sunflower micro greens? Do you grow them in a certain medium, or just in a tray like you would with (wheat/barley/etc) fodder?
 

Skai

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I haven't done it lately but I used to sprout them all the time for our use. Here's how I did it. Use a plastic container about the size of a shoe box and put about 1 or 1-1/2 inches of well moistened indoor potting mix in the bottom. Then put a single layer of seeds on the soil, press them against, but not into the soil. Then put wet paper towels on top of the seeds and put it out of direct sunlight. Keep the paper towel damp by misting it if you need to. After a couple of days, lift the paper towel to check on the seeds. They may already be sprouting and once the majority have started to lift off the soil remove the paper toweling but keep misting the soil as necessary. After they are 4-5 inches tall move the container to a place where it can get more light and then when most of the seeds have fallen off you can start cutting them off just above the soil level. I like them best at about 7-8 inches tall. If I remember correctly the whole process was around eight days. After you harvest them all the soil will come out like a mat and you can compost it or throw it in an unused garden bed. You will end up with more since all the seeds will not have germinated as soon as the others did. These are my favorite sprouts. Great on sandwiches, in salad and stir fries. And I bet rabbits would love them too!
 

bighairbuns

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How do you grow them to be sunflower micro greens? Do you grow them in a certain medium, or just in a tray like you would with (wheat/barley/etc) fodder?
First I sanitize the seeds by soaking in either a 1:9 bleach and water or 1:5 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for 20-30 minutes to kill mold spores and bacteria as well as soften the seed coat. I skim any floating seeds off the top and only plant the ones that sink (floaters have very poor germination rates). Then I rinse thoroughly. After that I toss them into a clean mason jar with netting over the top (dollar store nylon mesh laundry bags work great) and leave them in a dark cabinet. Once or twice a day I fill the jar with fresh tap water give it a shake then drain.

Once the seeds have 1/4 roots on them I plant in a 10 x 20 seedling tray. Sunflowers prefer a medium like coco coir or potting soil, but I have been successful planting them on wet paper towels as well (I prefer the paper towels because after I take the greens I want I can toss the rest, the root mat and the paper towel to the buns and they eat the whole thing). You don't want to see much substrate under the seeds. You can sow them like fodder, but it's a bit wasteful as you would need to sow very thickly for them to get a good root structure. Then I put a second seeding tray on top, bottom of tray directly on the seeds, and I put weights in the top tray. Usually two bricks. The weights help the microgreens grow nice and compact. I don't remove the top tray and weights until the plants basically push them off.

I harvest for humans just before the first true leaves appear. They are delcious. Sweet, crunchy, hearty and a little nutty tasting. I let them grow a little bigger for the buns than what I prefer though.

takes about 10 days start to finish depending on temps.
 
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