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Find out how to Harvest Sunflower Seeds, In response to an Knowledgeable

Identified for his or her sensible yellow blooms, sunflowers add magnificence to any yard. And, not solely are they cheerful to take a look at, however additionally they produce edible seeds (for each people and birds!) that make the flower a worthwhile addition to any edible backyard. The trick is realizing methods to correctly harvest the seeds in an effort to take pleasure in their bounty. To study extra, we chatted with a backyard knowledgeable who breaks down the method and shares how and when to reap sunflower seeds.

Instruments You may Want

  • Backyard shears
  • Material
  • Paper
  • Bucket


Comply with the beneath directions for harvesting seeds out of your sunflowers.

Step 1: Scout for Mature Flower Heads

First, you’ll need to determine flower heads which might be mature and able to harvest. “Mature flower heads could have desiccated [dried] petals which might be crispy and fall off simply,” says Mariah Henry, director of city agriculture on the Carolina Farm Belief. To find out the maturity of a flower head, look on the bottom for yellowish-brown spots. A flowerhead drooping from the burden of its seeds is one other positive signal that it’s prepared for harvesting.

Step 2: Consider the Seeds

Examine to see how dense the seeds are packed, says Henry. Unfastened seeds would possibly fall out too simply and want further consideration. To test the seeds, take away any disk flowers that sit on prime of the sunflower seeds. In response to Henry, disk flowers appear to be mini flower heads and home each female and male reproductive elements on the plant. “These could be simply disregarded along with your hand,” she says.

Step 3: Take away the Sunflower Head

Take away the mature sunflower head from the stem with a pair of backyard shears. Do that by reducing 4 to six inches from the mature sunflower head. Place these in your bucket to take indoors.

Step 4: Harvest the Seeds

Take a breathable fabric or piece of parchment paper that you should use to gather the seeds. Gently pick the seeds along with your fingers. “The seeds ought to fall out effortlessly until they’re packed tighter,” she says. “Most sunflower seeds shall be stripped with black and white relying on the variability.”

Whereas most mature sunflower heads shall be dried out already, Henry says it’s OK to reap sunflowers that want a bit extra drying time. “You may maintain [the mature head] on the stem to dry,” she says. Then, after you have harvested the seeds from the top, lay them out on a chunk of paper in a heat, sunny spot in your house, permitting them to dry out over a day.

Bloomberg Inventive / Getty Photographs

When to Harvest Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers bloom from summer time via fall. However many sunflower seeds are sown in early spring, says Henry. “Relying on the variability, sunflowers can take as much as 120 days to bloom,” she says. So, to know when it’s harvest time, it’s important to test for mature flower heads. “After the flower blooms, it may take a further 20 to 30 days for the seeds to mature,” she says. This could depend on a number of elements like local weather, summer time and fall temperatures, and the way a lot water the crops have gotten of their rising season. “So, it’s best to make use of shade cues and bodily elements to find out when to reap,” says Henry.

Find out how to Retailer Sunflower Seeds 

Storing uncooked sunflower seeds is simple—they need to be saved in an hermetic container in your pantry or your freezer till you’re able to both roast them off or use them as crop seed or hen meals. Sunflower seeds saved within the freezer can final years till you are able to plant them. When you intend to eat them, retailer them in your pantry, the place they’ll maintain for 2 to a few months earlier than roasting. Simply keep in mind—seeds can spoil or develop into much less tasty as they age, so the earlier you roast them, the extra flavorful they are going to be.

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