What do you think about when you see sunflowers? They are bright, cheery and just bring joy to the garden, right? I love looking out my window and seeing these beauties growing! Sunflowers say “Summer” and you can even harvest the seeds for a nutritious snack.
Here’s some simple tips on growing them and harvesting the seeds:
- Make sure you have a nice rich soil free of any weeds.
- Pull back about an inch of soil or use your finger to poke a hole. Make a hole every 6 inches and place one seed in each hole.
- Cover the soil over the seeds and water.
- Water daily (until germination begins) and you should start to see seedlings sprouting in about 6-10 days.
- The best time to plant Sunflowers is between March and May. If you live in Northern states, please wait until after your last frost. I use the Farmer’s Almanac or Grier’s Almanac to determine when to plant mine.
- Next, sprinkle an organic fertilizer over the top of the soil. I love using Dr. Earth fertilizers. You can find them at most big box garden stores. They are Non-GMO Project verified and you will not need to fertilize again during their growing season.
- Your Sunflowers will be in full bloom in around 60-70 days from when you planted them.
- Spread some wood chips at the base of the sunflower so they can retain moisture. Make sure you water them weekly.
Harvesting the Sunflowers
- When you start to see the sunflowers open fully, then they are ready to cut. Using pruning shears, cut the stem to however long you want them. Five to six inches is usually a good amount.
- Make a bouquet and put them in a mason jar filled with water.
- They will be pretty for about a week.
Harvesting the Seeds
- Once you start seeing the petals fall off or the sunflowers start drooping, it’s probably time to cut the heads off. You can hang them to dry in a dark cool place for about a week.
- Next, put a towel or parchment paper down on a flat surface.
- Shake the heads gently and the seeds should just fall out.
- Store them in a jar for a year in the refrigerator so you can plant more next season.
I like planting the Mammoth (5-6 feet tall ones) Sunflowers that I put along my back fence. These will need support as they are so tall. Just use some bamboo, rebar, a stick or whatever you can find laying around that you think will support your big ‘ole sunflowers.
I also like planting the Firecracker Sunflowers. These are about 4-5 inches in diameter and about 2-3 feet tall. They have a beautiful showing of yellow and orange and resemble a “ring of fire”. These are my favorite ones that look so pretty in a mason jar! They get planted in the garden in different areas. They are great for the bees, which will pollinate all of our veggies growing.
There are several more other varieties. Just explore which ones you want to plant in your yard. The only real requirement is they need a lot of sunshine! So, make sure you plant them in a sunny open area.
That’s it! Super easy to grow. I’d love to hear how you are doing with your Sunflowers!
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Confession: I went out of town last May for about a week. No one watered mine and they did just fine. I was amazed at how beautiful they were when I came back home!
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