How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds for Planting: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds for Planting A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re like me, you love growing your own sunflowers. Not only are they a beautiful addition to any garden, but they also produce delicious and nutritious seeds. Sunflower seeds are a great source of both protein and fiber, and they can be used in a variety of recipes. In this guide, we will show you how to harvest sunflower seeds for planting so that you can enjoy this tasty snack all year long!

How to harvest sunflower seeds for planting? You can harvest sunflower seeds for planting by cutting off the heads, hanging them to dry, and then removing the seeds for planting.

Sunflowers are a must for summer gardens. This is because they are tall and stunning. They summer gardens to look multiple times better. They also attract plenty of birds, bees, and other pollinators. Their massive blooms will make any garden to look more cheerful.

What are the optimum conditions for the growth of sunflowers?

Sunflowers thrive in areas that receive full sunlight. This plant is incredibly tough and can be planted in all types of soil provided the soil isn’t waterlogged. They prefer soils that are somewhat acidic to slightly alkaline in pH 9i.e pH 6.0 up to 7.5). Sunflowers are so easy to grow that they time and again plant themselves underneath bird feeders.

The stems, leaves, and seeds of the sunflower plant produce substances that limit the growth of other plants like pole beans and potatoes. And in cases where the seeds are often utilized as bird feeds, the toxins from the amassed seed hulls sooner or later kill the grass below. No-toxic to people or animals, the toxins ultimately biodegrade into the soil.

Sunflowers are ready to harvest at the end of their life cycle. You will know that it is time to harvest sunflowers when you see them turning yellow and starting to die down.

In this post, you will learn how exactly to harvest ready sunflowers for re-planting.

Let’s begin.

Here is a simple guide on how to harvest sunflower seeds for planting.

Step one: cutting sunflower stalks

This is without a doubt the easiest and fastest part of the entire process. Once the sunflowers have completely died back and the blooms’ backs have turned brown, then it is harvesting time. You will also notice that the seed are slightly loose and plump.

Use sharp pruners or scissors to cut the stalks about a foot below the flower head, and place the cut stalk in a container that can easily catch loose seeds.

Step two: hanging stalks to dry

The next step involves hanging the cut stalks to dry. Make sure to tie a paper bag over the flower heads in the garden if you are worried about roaming birds eating all the seeds before you get to harvest them.

Alternatively, you can cut the sunflower stalks before they are ready and then hang the indoors for drying. If you choose to do so, simply tie the stalks together using twine before hanging them in a dry and warm area for 4 to 5 days to dry.

Step three: removing the sunflower seeds

This is probably the most fun part of the task. There are, in fact, some people who find de-seeding a sunflower head to be quite satisfying. You can choose to wear gloves when de-seeding or do without them; it is all a matter of preference.

Rub the sunflower seed head with your gloved hand to remove the seeds. Do it over a container to catch the seeds. Do not worry if petals and other plant materials fall into the bucket; they will be removed later.

Step four: dry the seeds

If you intend to re-plant the sunflower seeds, rinse them in colander. This is a very important step that shouldn’t be overlooked. After rinsing pick out the bits that are not seeds such as the petals.

Next, line a shallow wooden crate or cardboard box with paper towels and newspaper and spread the seeds to dry, leaving a bit of space between the seeds. Leave the seeds to dry out for a couple of hours, or even overnight.

If you want to save the harvested seeds for re-planting later, sore them in airtight containers in a dry and cool place until it is time to re-plant. Do not forget to label the container with the sunflower variety as well as the harvesting date. Seeds stored this way can last for several years.

How to cultivate sunflowers

Planting sunflowers is relatively easy. Simply follow the guideline bellow plant your sunflowers.

  • In a shallow trench about 1 to 2 inches in depth, space the sunflower seeds approximately 6 inches apart. When planted in sandy soil, a depth of 2 inches is better.
  • Cover the seed and regularly water them until they sprout in about 7 to 10 days.
  • Once the first set of true leaves appear, thin the plants to approximately 2 feet apart.
  • Based on the sunflower variety, the plant will mature and seed in 80 to 125 days.
  • Plant a fresh row of seeds after every 2 to 3 weeks if you wish to enjoy a continuous bloom of the plant before frost kicks in.

It is recommended to space the rows 2 to 3 feet apart for maximum production of seeds. You can use the traditional, tall, seed-yielding varieties like ‘Pau; Bunyan Hybrid’ or ‘Mammoth’.

To cultivate smaller flowers intended for bouquets, the spacing of the plants should be lesser. In addition, you’ll need to skip the fertilizer application stage. Skipping fertilizer application will make the plants smaller and with lesser branches. The stalks will, however, be longer and blooms of good size for floral arrangement.

Tips for growing sunflowers

Sunflower roots are known to spread widely and can also tolerate a bit of drought. Nonetheless, it is advisable to regularly water them, especially around 20 days before and after blooming. Regular and deep watering promotes proper root growth.

Sunflowers don’t need fertilizing. However, given that they grow quickly and vigorously, it is best to add a bit of slow-acting granular fertilizer to poor soil. Be careful not to over-apply nitrogen because it will only delay blooming. Additionally, spreading a three-inch organic matter mulch layer over the soil reduces the loss of moisture via evaporation and also discourages the growth of weeds.

Though there are some sunflower varieties that don’t need staking, it’s still a great idea to support those plants that are multi-branched or grow more than three feet tall. The branches of such plants are somewhat delicate, particularly at those points where they join the stems. Use a long cloth or any other soft material to loosely tie the plants.

Squirrels and birds can be nuisance when the seeds ripen. To deter these animals, use barrier devices. As the seed heads mature and the flowers drop, make sure to cover every one of them using white polyspun garden fleece. This barrier device will let in air and light but keep out any critters. Moreover, try to cut away those leaves that are nearest to the flower heads to make it more difficult for birds to successfully perch and feed.

Final remarks

There you have it. You now know how exactly to harvest sunflowers for planting in the next season. It is really easy to harvest sunflower seeds if you know what you are doing. The good thing is that you now know exactly what to do to harvest sunflower seeds the right way. You also know what to do in case the seeds are not exactly ready.