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Shoots are a quick-growing crop (2-3 weeks to maturity) that can be grown indoors, in a greenhouse or even outside when the weather is suitable. Nutrient dense and easy to produce, they can be used for salads, added to vegetable and pasta dishes, juiced or utilized as a garnish.
Soil Nutrients and Requirements
Choose a high quality, nutrient dense potting soil or soilless medium for growing trays of shoots. Always use fresh soil when sowing new plantings.
Seeds grown for shoots should be only just covered with a sprinkling of soil, or covered with an inverted tray instead of soil to keep out light and keep in moisture until they germinate. Always soak seeds for 8-12 hours before sowing.
Sow seeds thickly in a plastic flat filled with potting soil or a soilless medium. Use ¼ cup of seed for a 5” square tray, 1 cup for a 10” square tray, and 1 ½ - 2 cups for a 10” x 20” tray.
When to Sow
Shoots grow best in an area that stays above 65°F in full sun. Conditions can be achieved by a heated indoor space and a grow light or sunny window.
Monitor moisture levels carefully to avoid mold. Shoots are extremely susceptible to fluctuations in moisture and commonly struggle to grow in less than ideal moisture conditions. Always soak your shoot seeds for 8-10 hours prior to sowing. Use a spray bottle or light mist setting on a hose to keep trays moist. If plants hold too much moisture after germination, water roots from below. Do not let the soil dry out.
To harvest, clip stems just above the soil line with clean scissors. Wash shoots and dry on clean towels or in a salad spinner. Harvest pea shoots when they are 2-4” tall, after the second set of leaves appear, about 10–14 days after planting. Harvest sunflower shoots when they are 2-4” tall with only their first two leaves, before “true” leaves appear, about 8–12 days after planting. Harvest wheatgrass when 4-6” tall, about 10-14 days after planting.
Cleaned shoots can store in the refrigerator in clean plastic bags for up to one week.