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How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds

Each hard working sunflower plant can produce thousands of sunflower seeds, providing healthy protein to the family who takes the time to harvest them.
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How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds

Clever DIY Ideas | Mary Ann Romans

Each hard working sunflower plant can produce thousands of sunflower seeds, providing healthy protein to the family who takes the time to harvest them.

Sunflowers turn their brilliant faces toward the sun in a process called heliotropism. The beauty of a bevy of sunflowers facing the sunrise of a new day is enough to earn these flowers a place in any garden. Of course, the benefits of sunflowers go beyond just their aesthetics.

To form seeds, the sunflower plants will need pollination, usually done by eager bees, who enjoy being able to sip nectar from flower to flower in one spot. You see, the sunflower head is not one large flower but is made up of many tiny flowers grouped together. 

You’ll know when a sunflower is ready to go to seed when the head starts drooping, all the petals fall off and the back of the sunflower turns yellow or brown. This usually occurs in late June, depending on the region and the seasonal weather. The seeds will form, and the sunflower will be ready to harvest. 

If you plan to harvest sunflower seeds, you may need to protect the plants from eager squirrels and birds, who will have no problem snatching away your bounty. This may mean placing nets around the sunflowers or simply harvesting the seeds early before they are all fully mature. Unharvested seeds still left on the seed head will simply fall to the ground and be collected by birds and small ground-dwelling animals. 

To harvest sunflowers:

  1. Cut a foot of the sunflower stalk off of the top
  2. Using a metal or wooden spoon to scrape out the seeds
  3. Air dry the seeds.

If you want to avoid scrapping the seed, you can put a net or a bag over the seed head and wait for the seeds to fall off on their own. 

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