So, I have a confession: I didn’t know how to harvest sunflower seeds until a few weeks ago.
I mean, I knew the seeds were *in* the center of the flower, and the flower itself had to be done blooming and be dried before the seeds could be removed, but I had no idea *where* the seeds were. I’ve left a few sunflowers to dry on the stalk, but no matter how long I left the flower on the stalk, all I would see was a weird brown bumpy texture.
(yes, I know… this is incredibly basic, which is why I call this “chel’s ‘duh!’ gardening moment”)
Anyway, I finally googled it.
It turns out that brown nubby stuff is a mossy kinda covering OVER the seeds.
You basically rub it off with your finger, and *under* that mossy covering sits the seeds. Many, many seeds. It just never occurred to me to monkey with the bloom.
I think I probably never put two and two together because my garden is inside a screened-in lanai, meaning that anytime I’ve let sunflowers dry on the stalk, no bird or other scavenger has come along and started the process of removing the seeds, thus uncovering them. Also because I tend to cut spent blooms IMMEDIATELY, especially on sunflowers, since a big dead flower hovering over the middle of the garden doesn’t look very pleasing.
One thing I also found out from my google search is that the sunflower doesn’t need to wither on the stalk to produce seeds- you can snip it when it’s done blooming and dry it out in the sun for a few days in a sunny spot in your garden or on your potting bench and when the back of the sunflower turns yellow/brown, the seeds are good to go.
So I am swimming in sunflower seeds at the moment, and totally psyched to plant them all this summer. I’ll let you know how it works out.