How to Compost Sunflower Seeds


Composting is the backyard process by which a gardener decomposes organic waste such as kitchen scraps and garden trimming. The resulting dark, crumbly material is used as a fertilizer and soil amendment to help plants grow. Sunflower seeds and seed hulls, whether it's from a backyard bird feeder or your favorite snack or recipe, can be recycled into your compost to help boost the health of your garden plot.

Step 1

Collect the sunflower seeds and seed hulls. If you are recycling seeds from a backyard bird feeder, wear gloves to protect yourself from bird waste. Collect the seeds from the ground using a garden rake.

Step 2

Rinse the sunflower seeds if the seeds and hulls are from salted sunflower seeds, such as the type often sold for human consumption and snacking. Pour the seeds into a kitchen strainer and place under running water for a few seconds.

Step 3

Pour the sunflower seeds and hulls onto your compost pile or into your compost bin. Layer the seeds with other vegetable waste, or simply let it lie on the top of the current composting material.

Step 4

Continue composting as you traditionally would, adding dry and wet organic waste in layers.

Step 5

Turn over the compost if the sunflower seeds begin sprouting. If you use a static compost pile or bin, use a spade to flip over the sprouting layer of seeds. If using a rotating compost bin, spin the bin to mix the contents.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunflower seeds and shells
  • Rake
  • Gloves
  • Kitchen strainer
  • Compost pile or compost bin
  • Spade


  • "The Complete Compost Gardening Guide;" Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin; 2008
  • "The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible;" Sally Roth; 2003

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Composting Tips
Keywords: compost, sunflower seeds, compost seeds

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.