- How to Compost Sunflower Seeds
- How to Tell If Sunflower Seeds Are Ready to Harvest
- How to Grow My Own Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
- How to Dry Sunflower Seeds
- What Type of Stem Does a Sunflower Plant Have?
- How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds to Plant
- How Deep Do You Plant Sunflower Seeds?
- How to Keep Sunflower Seeds From Getting Moldy
- How to Clean Sunflower Seeds
- How to Identify Sunflower Seeds
- How to Hull Sunflower Seeds
- Easy Way to Shell Sunflower Seeds
- How to Plant Soaked Sunflower Seeds
- How to Preserve Sunflower Seeds
- How to Make Salted Sunflower Seeds
- Harvesting & Replanting Sunflower Seeds
- How Do You Harvest Sunflower Seeds?
- How Fast Do Sunflower Seeds Grow?
- What Nutrients Do Sunflower Plants Need?
- Sunflower Growing Soil Preparation
- How to Dry Sunflowers for Birds
- How to Plant Black Seed Sunflowers
- When to Cut Sunflowers
- How to Know When to Plant Sunflowers
- Is a Sunflower a Dicot Plant?
- How to Get Seeds From Sunflowers
- How to Plant Sunflowers Per Acre
- How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds to Eat
- How to Extract Sunflower Seeds From Flowers
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.
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.
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.
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.
Continue composting as you traditionally would, adding dry and wet organic waste in layers.
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.
Watch for the petals, or rays, of the sunflower plant to begin falling off the seed head. This is your first sign that the seeds are nearing harvest time.
Cut the seed heads from the plant when the center of the seed head turns yellow. Cut the stem 1 to 2 inches below the seed head on the plant.
Place the seed heads, seed side up, on newspapers laid out in a well-ventilated area, such as a garage or porch.
Harvest the sunflower seeds from the head when the center of the seed head turns a dark brown. You can do this simply by rubbing two seed heads together over newspaper or a large bowl.
Choose a location in your yard that receives at least six hours of full sun each day. The black oil sunflower is a sun lover.
Wait until the last frost of your location has passed. Dig up the soil to a depth of about 1 foot. Turn the soil and break up any large dirt clods. Rake the area flat.
Layer 2 to 3 inches of compost over the soil. Work the compost in all the way to the bottom of the 1-foot depth. Compost works in two ways to grow healthy plants. It offers important nutrients and it amends the soil texture. Rake the soil flat.
Dig two parallel moats with the pointed corner of your hoe. Let the soil fall to the inside, creating a peaked dirt row.
Dig two parallel moats with the pointed corner of your hoe. Let the soil fall to the inside, creating a peaked dirt row.
Poke holes at the top of the dirt row with your finger. They should be approximately 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart. Drop a black oil sunflower seed in each hole and then push soil over the top.
Spray water over the seeds, gently, each day. Water more often if the climate becomes hot and dry. Change to watering in the moats, on each side of the row, after the sunflower seeds have germinated.
Thin the seedlings to about 1-1/ feet apart, keeping the healthiest ones, after they are 4 to 6 inches in height.
Slide a brown paper bag over the sunflower head when it has wilted and faced downward. The bag is breathable but will also protect the seeds from damage while the flower dries out. Check the flower every few days to observe the color of the stem.
Cut the sunflower head from the stem when it has wilted to face down and the disc on the back side of the bud is brown. Use a pair of heavy duty gardening shears to get a nice clean cut.
Run your hand over the face of the sunflower to get the seeds out. If any stay secured, use your fingers to pull them out.
A seedling sunflower's stem, or stalk, is made up of the Epicotyl, which is just above the first leaves (the cotyledons) of the plant, and the hypocotyl, which is below. The woody mature stems are sturdy, round, and often branch out to hold additional blooms depending on the sunflower variety.
Let the sunflowers remain on the stem until the back of the heads turn yellowish brown and the petals begin to fall off. If the squirrels and birds are eating too many of the seeds, protect the blooms by covering them with large paper sacks.
Cut the sunflower heads off, leaving at least 12 to 15 inches of stem intact. Tie a string around the stem and hang the sunflower heads in a dry, airy spot until they’re so dry that the sunflower seeds come loose easily. It usually takes several weeks for the seeds to dry completely.
Rub your hands over the flower head to dislodge the seeds. Put the seeds in a small paper bag or envelope and put them in a dry, cool place until spring. Don’t store the seeds in plastic or glass, because moisture can develop which could cause the seeds to develop mold.
Plant small black sunflower seeds, known as oilseed, ½ inch deep. Plant large black-and-white-striped seeds, known as non-oilseed, 1 inch deep.
Spread harvested sunflower seeds out on top of the window screen. Skip to step 4 if storing leftover purchased seeds.
Place the screen in a sunny, airy place either indoors or outside away from moisture and humidity.
Allow sunflower seeds to dry for four to six weeks.
Place dried sunflower seeds in a glass jar. Place a paper towel or piece of newspaper inside the jar with the sunflower seeds. Put the lid on the jar and tighten.
Store the jar in a cool, dry place away from extreme temperatures until planting season. Avoid opening to "check" on the sunflower seeds. Seeds that are thoroughly dried and put in a sealed container will not develop moisture, which is required for mold to establish.
Place the sunflower seeds in a pan and cover with water. If the seeds are for the birds, skip these steps and store the seeds in a sealed container, in a dry location.
Add salt to the water, using approximately ¼ cup of salt per quart of water.
Bring the water to a boil, turn down to simmer. Simmer for two hours.
Drain the water from the seeds and lay the seeds on a paper towel to dry. After draining, the seeds can be roasted, if desired. Do not give the seeds prepared with salt to birds.
Look for large sunflowers with yellow petals surrounding a brown or black central head containing the seeds.
Wait for the petals to droop and begin to fall off and the back of the head to change to brown.
Cut the sunflower stem one foot below the head and hang upside down in a cool, dry spot until it is completely dried.
Rub your hand across the front of the head in the area full of the black seeds.
Identify by looking for teardrop-shaped seeds with white stripes on black background.
Place a sunflower seed in your mouth. Some suck the salt off first while others go straight for the kernel.
Move the seed to your back teeth. Positioning the seed between your front teeth also works.
Apply slow but steady pressure on the seed with your teeth until sides of the hull crack. Be careful when biting down on the sunflower seed or you could crush the hull and the kernel inside.
Take the cracked sunflower seed out of your mouth and finish opening it up. Remove the kernel and eat, while throwing the hull away. Another way is to use your tongue to extract the kernel from the cracked hull and then spit out the empty hull.
Put the seeds in a seed mill. Small seed mills for home use can be bought for as little as $10 at farm supply stores and on the Internet.
Grind the seeds in the mill according to the directions of your particular seed mill.
Fill a large pot with water. Dump the seeds and shells in the water for five minutes. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the water while the shells float to the top.
Remove the shells from the top of the water. You can use a cup, bowl or any other type of similar object to scoop them out.
Pour the water and seeds through a strainer.
Lay the wet seeds out on a flat surface and let them dry. Do not store them until they are completely dry, as moisture can promote mold growth.
Soak paper towels in water. Wring them out so they are damp.
Lay down a sheet of damp paper towel and spread the sunflower seeds on top of the sheet. Cover them with a second damp sheet of paper towel.
Monitor the seeds until they begin to germinate. The seeds that germinate first are the strongest seeds and should be used for planting.
Locate a spot in your garden that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Ensure the location also has soil that drains well.
Aerate the soil with a gardening shovel by loosening it and turning it over, and then add potting soil to the existing soil. Mix it thoroughly.
Plant the the sunflower seeds in the soil so that they are approximately 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart. The sprout should be covered as well.
Water the recently planted seeds until the soil is moist. Water the seeds daily until sprouts become visible.
Harvest the sunflower seeds once they fall freely from the flower. They should come loose by simply shaking the sunflower.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Lay the sunflower seeds on a baking sheet. Make the layer of seeds as even as possible to ensure all of the seeds cook at the same rate.
Bake the sunflower seeds for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir the seeds every ten minutes to ensure they do not burn.
Remove the seeds once they turn slightly brown and are crispy.
Store the seeds in an airtight container for up to a year.
Place the dried sunflower head over a paper bag, and run your fingers over the seeds. This will loosen the seeds and send them into the bag.
Place the seeds in a colander and rinse them under cool water. Separate the seeds from empty shells or plant product.
Put two quarts of water, 1/2 cup of salt, and one cup of sunflower seeds into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for one minute, then reduce the heat to a simmer and let simmer for 90 minutes.
Pour the mixture back into the colander when done simmering, and allow the water to drain off the seeds. Do not rinse the seeds.
Lay the seeds out on paper toweling to dry. In the meantime, turn on your oven and preheat it to 325 degrees.
Spread the now dry seeds out into one layer on a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes with a wooden spoon.
Remove the seeds after 30 minutes, and allow them to cool on the cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container.
Wait for the sunflower blossom's petals to wilt and fall off. Immediately cover the entire blossom head with cheesecloth, securing the cloth in place with garden twine. This prevents squirrels, birds and other animals from eating the sunflower seeds before you harvest them.
Inspect the sunflower head regularly. It's ready for harvesting when the back of the flower head is crisp to the touch and brown in color and when the seeds are black-and-white striped, according to the University of Illinois.
Remove the cheesecloth. Cut off the flower head with pruning shears. Rub your hand over the face of the flower head to dislodge the seeds. Empty the seeds into a paper envelope for storage until you're ready to replant them.
Replant the seeds directly in the ground anytime after the last frost date in your region. Bury a seed 1/2 inch under the soil surface, and water twice daily or as needed to keep the dirt moist. The seed will germinate within 14 days, according to the University of Massachusetts.
Cut the mature sunflower stems approximately one foot from the seed head. Sunflower seeds are ready to harvest when the flower head is brown and dry and the petals have fallen from the head.
Rub the seed head with your hands over a paper bag to dislodge the seeds from the head. You also may rub two seed heads together to accomplish this.
Transfer the raw seeds to a burlap or other cloth bag after they have been collected. Raw seeds should be stored in an area where air can circulate around the seeds.
Roast sunflower seeds in a 350 degree F oven on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Cool the seeds and salt to taste.
Sunflower seeds also can be boiled in salted water. Add 1/4 and 1/2 cup salt to 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add the unshelled seeds and simmer for 2 hours. Alternatively, they can soak overnight in the same water/salt mixture. Drain and dry the seeds on paper towels.
Sunflower seeds take 10 to 14 days to germinate, and they bloom two months after germination. Their mature height can vary from 18 inches to 15 feet, depending on variety.
One of the main nutrients that sunflowers need is water. To survive and reach a good height, sunflowers must have enough water so as not to wilt. Because of this some might tend to over-water sunflowers. This can weaken the soil and cause the flowers so lean or fall over. Just make sure the soil is damp, and if it rains, avoid watering for a day or so until the rain water has been absorbed.
Sunflowers, like their name implies, need a fair amount of sunlight. Planting in full shade will result in limited to no growth. Sunflowers should receive around eight hours of light per day.
Sunflowers will grow in all kinds of soil. However, proper nitrogen and phosphate levels in the soil will insure optimum growth. A soil test can determine if these levels are appropriate. In the absence of a test, a slow-release fertilizer can be used in early spring before new growth emerges.
Sunflowers start from seed, and must be planted in a location that gets full sun and good drainage. Choose a site that has plenty of room for the tall plants, with at least 1 to 2 feet of space between the plants for growing.
Sunflowers don't like to have their feet wet. They grow wide, shallow roots that rot and fail in standing water. Do not choose a site that puddles regularly or that tends to mud.
Soil and Compost
Sunflowers grow in poor to fertile soil as long as the gardener makes the right amendments. Mix organic compost into the top 8 inches of the soil to start, to provide the loose foundation sunflowers require for drainage.
According to Renee's Garden, sunflowers are heavy feeders and do best with toppings of rich fertilizer at planting. Mix organic or 10-10-10 fertilizer into the top 8 inches of soil at the planting site, and give the sunflowers another feeding during their growing season.
According to Garden Hobbies, sunflowers are drought resistant, but do better with plenty of water. One to two deep waterings each week, of 1 to 2 inches of water, will encourage good growth and big, bright blooms.
Grown in the right soil and conditions, sunflowers grow from 2 to 3 feet tall to over 20 feet tall. Different varieties of sunflower feature different sizes and flower shapes. Larger sunflowers are heavier feeders than the smaller varieties.
Watch the back of the sunflower head. Once it turns from green to yellow and then brown, the seeds are ready for harvest. Ripe seeds will be black with white stripes. In addition, the flower head will have lost most of its yellow petals.
Cut the flower head from the stem. Leave about a foot of stem attached to the flower head.
Hang the sunflower head upside down from the stem to dry. Once the seeds easily loosen from the head, take the flower down and rub the seeds off with your hands.
Place the seeds in bird feeders or sprinkle them on the ground. If you don't want to remove the seeds from the flower head, simply place the entire head outside when the seeds are loose and dry. The birds will enjoy plucking them from the flower.
Decide on an area to plant your sunflower plants. It's best to choose an area near a fence or some posts so you have something to anchor the plants to in order to protect them from the wind. Your sunflowers also need to be planted in an area that has at least six hours of sunshine and good soil drainage.
Break up the ground after all danger of frost has passed. Remove the sod with a shovel and then use a hoe to loosen the dirt.
Dig a row 12 inches wide and 2 inches deep. Water the row that you have dug, and allow the water to drain into the soil.
Place your black sunflower seeds in the trench, spacing the seeds 6 inches apart. Cover the seeds with 2 inches of soil and gently pat the soil down. Keep the soil moist, but not drenched.
Botanists classify sunflowers, annual flowers from the Asteraceae family, as dicots (dicotyledons). Such flowers contain a pair of leaves, or cotyledons, in the embryo of the seed.
Watch the sunflowers as they mature. When the green backside of the flower disk starts to turn yellow, use pruning shears to cut the flower head and 1 foot of stem from the plant.
Tie a piece of string around the stem. Hang up the stem in a well-ventilated area to continue drying. This won't take more than one to two weeks. Keeping the heads up off the ground prevents rodents from reaching the seeds during drying.
Place a paper bag under the drying flower head. During the drying period, the bag will catch any seeds that fall off the flower head before you are ready to manually massage the head to remove the seeds.
Gently rub the brown center in front after one to two weeks when the backside of the disk head has turned brown. As you rub the center, the seeds will start falling out into the bag. When you have removed all the seeds, let the seeds sit in the paper bag for two to three days to dry completely.
Store the dried seeds in a cloth bag or roast the seeds to make healthful treats. Place raw seeds stored in a cloth bag in a location with good air circulation so the seeds don't mold.
Select a location with full sun and well-drained soil. Sunflowers need both to grow well.
Remove all the weeds and large rocks from the soil with the rake. Pull the weeds out by the roots if possible.
Plant the sunflower seed when the soil warms to at least 50 degrees F. Space rows 2 to 3 feet apart and 1 to 1 ½ inches deep.
Plant 3 to 4 lb. of sunflower seeds per acre of land. Plant the seeds into the rows with the seeder.
Irrigate the sunflower plantings well until the seeds germinate. Keep the soil moist but not soaking to aid germination.
Watch for the flower petals to begin falling off the sunflower seed head. This is the first sign that the sunflowers have reached maturity.
Cover the seed head with a paper bag or cheesecloth to prevent birds from eating your harvest.
Cut the seed head from the stems when the disk at the back of the head has turned dark brown.
Rub two sunflower seed heads together over newspaper or a large bowl to remove the seeds from the head. If you only have a single sunflower head, you can rub your palm over the seed head to loosen the seeds.
Store the raw seeds in a cloth bag or pillow case in an area with good ventilation.
Place the paper bag over the flower head. This will protect the seeds from birds.
Check the flower head periodically. When the seeds have turned from white to gray or black-striped, cut off the stem, 1 foot from the flower head.
Hang the flower in a cool, dry place for one week, or until the seeds begin to fall from the flower.
Rub the seeds out of the head, or rub two flower heads together and the seeds will fall out.