Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

Last year Kender and I harvested seeds from a sunflower he grew for the first time (read more about that here: Faith is like a Sunflower Seed). This year, we planted those seeds, grew more sunflowers, and have been harvesting more seeds.


It's actually a pretty cool process! Kender really enjoys it, and I like that it's something fun and productive for us to do together. Something besides playing Minecraft and watching annoying videos on YouTube Kids, which I get increasingly sick of as the days of summer slowly pass us by. I'm torn between enjoying summer while it lasts and desperately wanting it to be over so Kender can go off to kindergarten... And then I panic a little at the thought of Kender being a kindergartner already, and I want to cherish our time together... But then he asks me to play Minecraft with him and the cycle starts again.

Anyway, let's get back to those sunflowers. I'll walk you through the process in case you're interested in trying it out 😊🌻

First, you have to make sure the flower is ready for harvest. We usually wait until it looks something like this before we start digging for seeds:

When to harvest sunflower seeds

Then we cut the flower from the stem, just under the head. After that, pull back all the green leafy stuff that has covered the head. Or seed pod. Or whatever you want to call it... This is really scientific, ok? It will then look something like this:

how to harvest sunflower seeds

The seeds are hiding under all those greenish-brownish doohickeys. So you just pull them or rub them away like so:

How to harvest sunflower seeds

Once you've done that, the seeds will be revealed!

How to harvest sunflower seeds

Now you just sort of rip it apart until you get all the seeds out, like so:

How to harvest sunflower seeds

Once we've collected all the seeds, I dump them onto a sheet of paper and pick out any flower junk that may have slipped through the cracks. You're left with a big glorious pile of sunflower seeds!

How to harvest and save sunflower seeds

To store them, I just fold up the piece of paper they're laying on to make an envelope (but you can use any kind of paper envelope). I make sure I write the date along with what type of seeds they are, usually something like, "Sunflower seeds - 7/2017 - tall sunflowers" so I know what I'm planting next year. It's probably a good idea to let the seeds dry out for a few hours in a cool place out of the sun before you store them.

Once that's done, I just stick them in a cabinet (any place out of the sun where they can stay dry should be fine) and forget about them until planting time!

We've got about 9 more flowers that will be ready to harvest within the next month, so we might even try roasting some seeds for eating... We'll see how it goes. Wish us luck!

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