Harvesting the Sunflower seeds from your garden is the perfect way to keep down the cost of next years planting. The commercially packaged seeds that you can buy for a dollar can give many times more than just their replacement value. After only a few short seasons, your sunflower patch garden has provided enough seed to sow an overgrown field of sunflowers.
To harvest the seeds, cut the blooms off one by one. If there is a variety of sunflower types, now is the time to make a decision to mix or organize. Once the seeds have been harvested, it will be nearly impossible to sort one type of seed from the other. Wearing a pair of garden gloves to prevent hands from being stained purple, hold the bloom above a bucket and start removing seeds.
The method of directly pulling seeds out can be a time consuming chore, but the seeds are divided from the chafe. If there is only a few blooms, or several helping hands, this is an effective way to harvest the best, mature seeds from plant waste. Bias toward which seeds are picked can give you a healthy bumper crop in the future.
A kneading type of action is much quicker at removing the seeds from the bloom, but leaves hand muscles sore. Since seeds are gathered at a quicker rate, the possibility of collecting immature or damaged seeds and plant waste increase dramatically. This however, will not effect the decorative crop's profitability.
When the seeds have been harvested, it is important to dry them before storage. Lay a thin layer of seeds in a secure dry area for air drying. Depending on humidity, location and the day's temperature, seeds will dry in a matter of a couple hours or a couple days. While over drying can't be realistically achieved, under drying can promote seed rotting and mold and mildew growth during the storage period.
The varied methods of seed storage is a personal choice more than a logical one. Basically, anything that holds the seeds together for a length of a few months and protects against foreign substances can be used. Zip-lock bags and lidded bowls top the list, yet the old timer ways of cloth sacks, envelopes and canning jars are not far behind. Remember, especially if you are keeping varieties separated, mark the year and type of the mother sunflowers.
Of course, when it comes to making or saving money, there is no obsolete time. Material profit is always in style. That's why harvesting the sunflower seeds is genius.
A beginning small plot of sunflowers harvested can expand to include natural fence lines, ditch and other scarred landscape coverage. Since the seeds almost need no help to take hold and thrive, the sunflower has become a common favorite in rural areas.
The selling of extra seeds doesn't need to be chaotic to be a money making hobby. Packaging seeds in envelopes or baggies at the rate of a few cents a handful is a great way to price and distribute your extras. Placing them in a yard sale or at varied group meetings can be ideal for those not wanting to spend money for advertising.
Another way to dispose of your seed crop is to simply give them to family and friends. But if one does reap what they sow, giving seeds to those you interact with is only going to bring you someone else's seed abundance to be annexed with your own over-abundance.