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Today is…SHOOTS day, aka how to grow sprouts in soil:

Shoots???   I hear a collective, “What are you talking about, Doctor. Jo? Well, shoots are really sprouts that are grown in soil. With sprouts, we eat the root, and with shoots, we leave the root in the soil and eat the plant. They both are microgreens.  Baby plants that we eat when they are still tiny or micro.  They are packed with nutrition as the tiny plant still contains all the vitamins, minerals, protein, and even fat needed in its first few weeks of life.  So, let’s get down and dirty and grow some shoots.

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Rx for how to grow sprouts in soil: 

First up Equipment: I like to keep it simple; SIS and this list are really short.
1. Trays to put the dirt in.
2. Dirt (I like to use organic)
3. Sunflower seeds (buy ones specifically for sprouting. The rest are for the birds)


Next Up. The dirt on how it’s done.

SUNFLOWER: Did you know these seeds are tiny protein factories with 6 grams of proteins in just a quarter of a cup of shoots? WOW, that’s about 10% of your recommended daily protein intake.
1. Purchase the seeds: Black oil sunflowers SEEDS are the best.
2. Before you can get them dirty, you have to get them wet. So, let’s SOAK it to them. Put 1/4 of a cup of sunflower seeds in a quart jar (think cleaned out mayo jar), or a bowl will work just as well. Cover with at least a cup and 1/2 of water. Soak for 12 hours.
3. When they are nicely soaked, it’s time to let them rest until they reward you with tiny shoots. Rest them in a fine mesh colander covered with a damp paper towel. It’s essential to keep them a little damp but don’t drown them. After all, they are little living seeds. Rinse them every 12 hours until you see little sprouts.


  1. When they reward you with those lovely short white tails (aka shoots). It’s time to get them dirty. When it comes to dirt – organic is best. But if all you have is some leftover potting mix that is begging you to use it then, by all means, go for it. 
  2. Here is how you grow sprouts in soil.  Put organic soil/potting mix into a tray with drainage holes in the bottom.  I recycle one of the trays that I brought plants home in from the garden center.  Just make sure it was cleaned well with a little bleach water.  (Otherwise, you might get some funky fungus visiting with your sunflowers)

6. When your soil is moist, spread those beautiful baby sprouts evenly on the dirt. Cover them with a little more moistened dirt and (drum roll).  Are you ready?  SQUASH THEM.    That’s right; now it’s time to squash them.  Unlike us, they enjoy that extra weight on their shoulders.  So, load it on with whatever works for you.  I used the bird feeder refill bucket. It just happened to have sunflower seeds in it.  Imagine that.

7. Now, be amazed at how strong they are as they lift that weight off their shoulders.  Once you see some shoots peeking out from underneath that weight, it’s time to help them “shed that extra weight” and get on with growing.


8.  Marvel at how lovely they look and dream of how yummy they will taste in your salad as you give them several more days to green up and grow up. Aww, go ahead and sneak a few to snack on. I won’t tell. YUMMY.

9. When they are about 3 inches high, they are ready to harvest. Pick off any hulls that may be still clinging to them. Cut them with a pair of scissors and enjoy them. Cut, eat, and enjoy. I know you will want to save some to show off to your friends.  For ideas on how to store them, check out my blog: Keeping your Greens – Green.   Now that is how you grow sprouts in soil.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    So once they are growing and you cut and eat them, I’m not sure how to maintain them. Do they go in the fridge? Stay on the counter? How often to water? Do they need sunshine?

    1. Doctor Jo

      Once you cut them, put them in an airtight container with a paper towel in the bottom to absorb any extra moisture. They will keep for a week or more in the fridge. If you have a lot of sprouts, you can do a couple of layers of paper towels.

  2. Anonymous

    But THEN WHAT, Dr. Jo?! You stopped writing waaaay too soon!
    You then have a bed of soil with tons of empty seed husks/hulls in it. Do you throw it all out? Hate to waste that rich soil… but could it be reused a few times ? Add more seeds to that same box and start again?

    1. Doctor Jo

      Absolutely a great suggestion. Nothing organic gets thrown out. It is all composted and turned into rich organic soil for my gardens, flower beds,and patio pots.

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