How to Harvest Sunflowers

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Harvest sunflowers for freshly cut flowers once the petals have arched up. For sunflower seeds, wait until the flower has bloomed and the seeds look like normal sunflower seeds. Find out how to dry or bake sunflower seeds with advice from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.

Part of the Video Series: Gardening Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to harvest sunflowers. So there's so many different types of sunflowers that you can use and harvest. And there's different reasons that you want to harvest them whether you're cutting the sunflowers as a cut flower and harvesting them in that way or actually waiting for them to go to seed and then taking the seeds and drying them and using them as a food product. But either way, they're really easy to harvest and there's some certain rules to follow. So when you're harvesting sunflowers for cut flowers, you wait until they just turn into a sunflower but they haven't gotten to the point where they're already dying. So as soon as they're in the sunflower shape and the petals have all arched up and they're in a big sunshine position, then you just cut the sunflower down to the ground or any space that you want, it can be long or short, it doesn't matter, and you cut them and put them into freshwater immediately. And cut the stems every two or three days and add freshwater and you can have great cut sunflowers. So if you're growing the sunflowers for seed, you want to go past the bloom time. You don't want to harvest them right when they're in bloom because they're still in the pollen state. You want to wait on the sunflowers to use for sunflower seeds that are edible. They'll make a big, big plate and then as soon as the seeds look like sunflower seeds and you can, they actually almost start falling off, if they're really stuck to the sunflowers still, they're not ready as to the point they're almost just falling off of the sunflower and you can pull maybe one seed out and if it looks just like a sunflower seed should, then that is the time to harvest them. And the trick is you've got to dry them out immediately because you don't want them to get moldy or you don't want them to get too wet and you want them to be at that perfect state so that you can eat them. Now most sunflowers have been baked so the fresh sunflower seeds usually are baked so that you can eat them and they taste better unsalted. So just dry them out in the sun or you can take the seeds and put them right into the oven in one single layer and dry them with a little bit of salt and then as long as they are dry, they will store for years. So you can put them in a paper bag or a plastic bag, but paper seems to be the best or put them into a glass jar and you can store the sunflowers that way so you can enjoy them all winter long.


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