Earlier this summer, I posted about our first year planting sunflowers. They were glorious and grand and a lot of fun to watch turn into the sun as we worked in the garden. Such beautiful plants couldn’t be left with just a single post. I had to bring them back into the discussion as I am sure you have been curious how things turned out.
As it turns out, sunflowers grow very tall and get very heavy with the weight of seeds. I didn’t really think things through when I planted them. I watched them grow and was awed by their stature. Of course, like Andre the Giant, sunflowers are in a different atmosphere with winds that we normal Earth-bound travelers don’t feel. Sure enough, I lost a few to winds and gravity (which still works by the way). As I am a quick study, I staked those that remained and we harvested 7-8 gigantic sunflower heads. I had no idea when to harvest them of course and the first thing that occurred to me was that when the birds start devouring the crop, they must be ready. Thankfully, I have access to the internets and was able to find that when the fronts turn brownish and the backs tun yellowish, they are ready.�
Emily and I started de-seeding them this week and found out that sunflowers produce a very sticky sap. I am still dragging my one cat to the office each day as he is glued to my left hand. Anyhow, we pulled the seeds from the face of the flowers and winnowed them in a screen sifter I built from 1/4 inch hardware cloth. Most of the debris was removed by that process but we still put the seeds in the freezer to take care of any critters that couldn’t be persuaded to leave. We plan to roast the seeds which I suppose would have killed anything still attached also, but it just seemed grosser that way. Anyhow, after a 2-3 day freeze, we roasted them and will have several mason jars full of seeds!