Growing During The Winter Months (Part 2)

In my last blog post, I described how easy it can be to grow sprouts in the comfort of your own home during the cold winter months.

Aside from sprouts, another very easy thing to grow indoors during the winter are shoots. Shoots are very similar to sprout in that you want to harvest and eat the plants when they’re very young. The main difference with shoots is that you grow them in potting soil as apposed to the sprout, where we use no soil at all. Growing shoots is probably the easiest and most rewarding thing to do to get you through the winter months. My favorite shoots to grow and eat are Sunflower and Pea shoots.

These young plants can go from seed to plate in about 7 to 10 days and they’re packed full of nutrients. “Sunflower greens are a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins A, B complex, D, and E; they also contain minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.

Sunflower shoots ready to eat

Sunflower shoots ready to eat

In addition to these vitamins and minerals, sunflower greens are a rich source of lecithin which helps break down fatty acids into an easily digestible water soluble form, and chlorophyll which benefits many functions within the body, including building blood supply, revitalizing tissue, calming inflammation, activating enzymes, and deodorizing the body. Sunflower green are a fantastic source of protein and can easily supply you with all the protein your body can use!” (This information comes from www.ubraw.com)

Here is some nutritional information on pea shoots: http://www.peashoots.com/peashoots-nutrition.htm

To grow your shoots, you’ll need a flat seeding tray (preferably one with drainage holes in the bottom), some potting soil, seeds and a light source. I use a simple florescent lighting rig in my basement to grow all of my shoots and seedlings throughout the season.

Step one is to soak your seeds overnight. This softens the seeds and increases germination.

Next, layer about an inch of potting soil in the bottom of your seeding trays. On top of the soil, place a handful of seeds and spread them around a bit. You don’t have to worry about the seeds being too close to one another. The shoots will only grow to be about 3-6 inches total and wont require as much space as the actual sunflower or pea plant would normally require. Once you’ve got your seeds in place, simply cover them with an additional half inch to an inch of potting soil.

Pea shoots ready to eat

Pea shoots ready to eat

Once you’ve got your seeds covered, give them a nice drink of water and place them under your grow-lights. Check them daily and make sure they stay moist and in 7 to 10 days, you’ll have a delicious, healthy addition to just about any meal.

Shoots are perfect additions to salads, they make a great garnish and they’re even a good snack.


This blog entry was also published here.