One of the best pleasures is to be able to see those big beautiful yellow flowers once the summer sun goes down.
If you really did your homework and planted a wide variety of large-petaled sunflowers, you’ll be able to enjoy them, however, when planting sunflowers you’re not the only one harvesting the seeds; since harvesting sunflowers is one of the favorite pastimes for field mice , birds, deer and squirrels. For this reason and in order to outcompete the local fauna, you need to know exactly when to harvest the sunflowers.
- 1 When to grow sunflower seeds
- 2 How to harvest sunflower seeds
- 3 How to save the seeds
When to grow sunflower seeds
Harvesting sunflowers is quite simple, however determining when to grow sunflowers could give many gardeners some serious thought. Collecting the seeds before the right time can cause many layers of poor quality seeds, so if you wait too long to grow the sunflowers and the seeds , they will dry out a lot and if you wait until the animals start to finish with the harvest, they will leave nothing for you.
Sunflowers should be grown at the time their petals are dry and begin to fall off. The green base of the head should be yellow and gradually turn brown. The seeds look fat and the seed coats are completely black or have some black or white stripes, depending on the variety they belong to . If animals and birds are a problem, you could cover the sunflower heads with fine mesh or paper bags as soon as you notice the petals have started to wilt.
How to harvest sunflower seeds
One way to grow sunflower seeds is to let the seeds fully ripen on the stem, then, by the time the seeds are fully ripe and begin to fall, start cutting the stem about 2 inches below the stem. sunflower head .
Then you should quickly rub them against your hand, blow away the chaff and let the seeds dry before putting them away.
Another way to grow sunflowers is to let 2/3 of the seeds ripen, then cut off a longer piece of stem, about three to four inches. Wrap a paper bag around the head and place it in an area where they are well ventilated for at least a couple of weeks until they dry out and make sure it is a warm area, but not hot.
Sunflower harvesting has a long history, as it has been part of the human diet for several centuries.
Native Americans used to collect sunflower seeds even before Europeans began to arrive, where they commonly boiled the heads to extract the oil , ate the seeds raw or baked with breads, and also used them to prepare medicinal syrups, since these seeds have a high content of potassium, phosphorus and calcium .
How to save the seeds
When the seeds have already grown , you can use or store them for later planting during the following season. For that you must let them dry completely before storing them. The drier the seeds, the longer they will last in storage, so store them in a container with a lid, label the container, and date it.
To keep them from one season to another, you should place the container in an area that is cool and dark , such as the refrigerator and to keep them dry, we could add some silica gel or add two tablespoons of milk powder . You could also choose to freeze the seeds, since they can normally last 1 year if they are kept in the refrigerator.