My four five year old has been patiently been waiting for the “color sunflower” she planted from seed at a friends house this spring to finally bloom. Every morning she will run to the kitchen window and check on its progress. It turns out the sunflower was waiting to share her blooms on my daughter’s birthday which was definitely one of her favorite presents that day.
Here she is posing with her flower (still in pajamas)
The trickiest part of harvesting sunflower seeds is timing. If you wait too long, the birds will let you know when you wake up to the head of the flower on the ground with seeds devoured. There are a couple of ways to get around this when the backs of your sunflowers begin to get yellow cover them with a paper bag or cheesecloth to inhibit the birds from stealing them. Given I probably would get a letter from my HOA if I did this in my backyard I opted to cut off the heads a few inches down and hang them upside down in my garage with a paper bag below to catch any loosening seeds. Every few days I run my hands across them if seeds start falling easily it is time to harvest. The best method I have found is using a painter’s roller screen used for 5 gallon buckets. I couple passes over this and the head is clean.
I am too lazy to roast and eat the seeds so I normally save a handful for next year’s planting and give the rest back to the birds over the fall/winter.