Seed Saving: Sunflowers

Sunflower close up, my favorite angle.

Sunflower close up, my favorite angle.

This was the first year I grew sunflowers.

Well who am I kidding, this was the first year I grew any kind of flowers.

I learned that sunflowers are great for bio-remediation, a fancy way to say - this plant sucks up crap in the soil (like lead paint) and makes it better. So when my dad and brother gave me their box full of seeds and it included sunflowers, I decided to give it a try.

These sunflowers were HUGE. Like 6 feet taller than me huge, with 10 lb heads huge. I loved watching them grow and definitely picked favorites (even though I tried not to).

Once the flower petals started to wilt and the heads turned yellow, I found myself oddly attached to these things and decided these too would be perfect candidates for my adventures in amateur seed saving.

So here's what you do:

  1. Wait until the heads droop, lose their petals and start truing yellow
  2. Bag the heads to protect from critters and allow to dry longer - or - (what I did because I'm too impatient to wait and Google said it was OK) cut the heads early and allow them to air dry on their own. Google recommended hanging them from some twine
  3. Once the seeds are dried, use your fingers to massage the seeds out, they should come out fairly easily
  4. Sift seeds from other plant materials and store in an air-tight container for planting next year - or get fancy with it and look up some sunflower seed recipes... which I may do sometime in the near future.