One of the pleasures of watching the huge yellow flowers is anticipating harvesting the seeds in the fall. If you have done your homework and planted a large, full head sunflower variety, you will be in for a treat, but beware ; you wo n’t be the only one harvesting the seeds. Squirrels, field mice, and deer are a favorite past time of birds. It ‘s important to know when to harvest sunflowers.
When to harvest seeds.
Choosing when to harvest sunflowers can give some gardeners pause. There may be a lot of seed coats with little meat in the heads picked before the proper time. The tender seeds will be too dry to roast if you wait too long. If you wait until the animals start harvesting, there will be nothing left for you.
When the petals of the sunflowers begin to fall, you can harvest them. The green base of the head will eventually turn brown. The seeds will look plump and the coats will be black or black and white. If there is a problem with animals or birds, you can cover their heads with nets or paper bags.
How to harvest seeds.
While most growers agree on when to harvest sunflowers, how to harvest them is a matter of preference and neither method provides a greater yield.
The method for harvesting the seeds allows them to fully mature on the stem. Cut the stem of the seeds when they are fully ripened and starting to loosen from the head. It ‘s below the head. Rub the seeds from the head with your hand, blow off the chaff, and allow the seeds to dry before storing.
When two-thirds of the seeds are mature, the second method for harvesting sunflowers begins. Cut a longer stem. 3 to 4 inches. 5 to 10 cm. It works well. Wrap a paper bag around the head and hang it in aventilated area for a few weeks to dry. The area should be warm, but not hot.
They have been part of man ‘s diet for hundreds of years. Europeans arrived long before Native Americans did. They boiled the heads to extract the oil and ate the seeds either raw or baked in breads. The seeds are a good source of minerals.
The seeds may be used immediately or saved for planting next season. Before storing your seeds, dry them completely. The seeds will store longer if they are dry. The seeds should be kept in a sealed jar. Do n’t forget to date the contents.
If seeds are to be stored for only a season, place the container in a dark place. The fridge is a good place to store seeds. If you want the seeds to remain dry, you can place a small amount of silica gel. There is a jar with powdered milk wrapped in tissue. You can freeze your seeds. Either put them in a freezer safe container or put them in a freezer bag. The seeds can be kept in the fridge or freezer for up to a year. The pantry should be used within 3 months.
Whether it ‘s for winter feed for the birds or a tasty treat for your family, sunflower harvesting is easy and fun and can create a new fall tradition for you and your family.