Have you ever wondered how to harvest sunflower seeds yourself? A few years ago I started planting sunflowers in my garden they have been such a joy to watch bloom, cut, bring into my home, and enjoy throughout the summer season. I decided it was time to learn how to harvest my own seeds so I could continue growing some flowers year after year for basically free.
It’s a really easy process but does require a little bit of ugliness before the good stuff comes. You can start by buying sunflower seeds at your local garden supply or even on Amazon I usually plant mine at the beginning of the summer or late spring Just sprinkle the seeds in loose soil, water frequently and let them do their work. You want to Sunflowers to touch dirt, if you spread the soil on top of them just a little that works!
Sunflower seeds are extremely easy to grow as far as growing plants from seeds go. It’s a perfect starter plant. There’s a ton of different varieties, you’ll have to find which ones you like best and which ones do the best in your area.
Soon your sunflowers will start to bloom – that’s where the fun starts! You can start clipping the flowers whenever they are ready and you’ll have a continuous supply for weeks to months.
Towards the end of the growing season you will see the sunflowers start to get dried up and droopy. This is when it’s time to unpack your patience!
You’re going to want to leave some of the blooms on the stalks, it’s tempting to cut them and use them in your home, but to have your own sunflower seeds you have to let the flowers dry on the plant.
At the end of the season you’re going to leave the blooms on the sunflower stalks for a good amount of time they, will droop, they will get brown, they will get crispy and dried up. It really becomes an ugly sight.
You can start to test the seed readiness by wiping off the furry face of the sunflower to reveal the seeds that are hidden in the center. When you touch the seeds if they still feel a little bit wet or rubbery they’re not ready yet, they should almost fall out when you brush your hand over the sunflower. When they do become dry enough cut the sunflower heads from the stalks.
I plop down with a large bowl and a stack of dried flowers, play some nice music and start the harvest! You’ll rub your hand all over the face of the sunflower to deposit all of the seeds into the bowl. If the seeds are difficult to get out, they may not be dry enough.
It does take some time to work all the seeds out of the flowers, so just enjoy the process. You will get some chaff with the seeds and if you gently blow on the bowl the extra leaves and dried petals will blow away. It is perfectly fine if they are in the mix, so don’t’ get to caught up with it.
You’re going to want to let the sunflower seeds dry even more once you’ve taken them out of the seed head. You can do this by laying them on a tray or just leaving them in a bowl on your countertop for a few days to weeks so they dry out fully. I sift through the bowl every few days to stir them up and air them out.
Next you’re going to store them in a cool dry place until you’re ready to plant them next year. I put mine in a brown paper lunch sack and store them in the garage. I like to make lots of different sacks and give them to neighbors and friends, it’s such a sweet gift to pass on.
I’ve been asked if you can eat these sunflowers and that all depends on the type of sunflower you grow. Some varieties produce a very small seed and others a large seed. Most of the sunflowers I grow or not large enough to eat, but that’s completely up to you. Harvesting your own sunflower seeds is a very easy task it just takes a little time and a little patience and the ability to put up with some dead looking flowers for a while. But in the end it’s so worth it when you have a huge bowl of seeds to plant in your garden next year and expand your sunflower garden. I hope these tips help you, save them for when you are ready!
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