The Q&A Archives: Harvesting Sunflower

Question: I have a 7 foot sunflower that I planted in the spring,not realizing it would grow so tall. Now that it is Oct and starting to get cold near Seattle. I need to know how do I know if it is mature enough to cut? How do I dry the seeds? I am planning to feed the birds with it this winter.

Answer: To dry the heads so you can harvest the seeds, wait until the petals wilt and the backs of the heads turn from green to tan. Then cut from the plant and hang upside down in an airy place until thoroughly dry. Rub two heads together to extract the seeds and then lay them out to dry until they're really crispy-dry.

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