How to save sunflower seeds

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.

3 Responses to “How to save sunflower seeds”

  1. Robj98168 Says:

    I usually take the heads and hang them in the garage, the later I put a stick in the head and just hang the whole thing up in the tree- make them birds peck for those seeds- thats why they have peckers.

  2. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    I normally also leave one sunflower untouched and let the birds do whatever they want with it.

  3. Amy Kate Says:

    I never harvested the seeds before, but followed your advice and did it this year. HOLY SMOKES that’s a lot of seeds. And I left a couple heads for birds, too!Thanks for the advice!

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