Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Late Winter = Shoots!

Ready to plant - shoot/sprout seed, a container and an inch
of moistened potting soil.
One of my favourite indoor food projects for this time of the year is growing shoots - broccoli, sunflower, peas and such. Shoots are simply the immature seedlings of various edible plants and are packed with phytonutrients (and other good things that I can't pronounce) and are typically harvested when the first set of true leaves appears. Need more convincing? Shoots are super easy to grow, ready to harvest in a matter of days to weeks, depending on the type you're growing and they're tasty! I toss handfuls in roasted vegetable wraps, black bean burritos, on top of stir fries or munch as I do the dishes.. after all, most of my saucers of shoots are on the kitchen windowsill.

Unlike sprouts, which are grown in jars and need to be rinsed a few times a day, shoots are grown in a shallow amount of potting soil - usually about an inch - and require little care besides watering when the soil is dry. I do recommend buying seed specific for shoot/sprouts like the Mumm's in the above photo. (I get mine from Halifax Seed).
A thick layer of seeds..

This is also a fun winter project for kids. Once the tiny plants are ready to harvest, give the kids a pair of scissors (supervising them!) and let them scissor harvest - like mowing the lawn - and then (fingers crossed) see if they'll eat the tender shoots. Plant a fresh tray/pot every few days for a non-stop supply..

Scratch them in to ensure good soil-seed contact..

Wait!! In about 7 days, these will be ready to clip!


  1. Do you harvest at soil level? Will there be a second growth?

  2. Great question! I scissor harvest just above the soil level and that's it.. no second harvest, which is why I succession plant to keep a continual supply going.


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)