Harvesting Sunflower Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Hernando, FL
Question by richarde4
July 7, 2007
I have planted Sunflowers that are now in full bloom. My intent was to use the seeds as bird food. How do I


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Answer from NGA
July 7, 2007

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There are two ways to approach this: birds will find the seeds when they are ripe so you can simply leave the sunflower heads on the plants. It makes for a more natural bird feeder! Or, you can harvest the heads, allow the seeds to dry, rub them out of the heads and store them for use later in the year. To do this, allow the seeds to ripen fully before cutting the sunflower heads off the stalks. You'll know they are ripe when the head bends downward and the back of the head turns from green to a yellowish brown. At this time, cut the heads off the stalks (leaving a few inches of stalk attached to the head) and lay them on a flat surface in a protected place (such as a garage), or hang them upside down in a protected place. In 10-14 days the seeds should be dried and ready to remove from the heads. I rub two heads together over a table covered with newspapers and the seeds pop out of the heads. Store in an airtight container.

Best wishes with your sunflowers.

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