August 20, 2014
We grew red and yellow sunflowers this year. My girls have been asking me to grow flowers for many years now. I am not much for putting effort into things for aesthetics. However, this year, I decided to plant sunflowers and save the seeds for the chickens. If there’s a practical purpose, I’m all for it and this saves money on chicken feed. Bonus!
(red sunflowers with droopy yellow sunflowers in the background) They all did really well. The yellow sunflowers grew to be about 11 feet tall and our largest one was about 15 inches in diameter. The red sunflowers were pretty but not as red as I thought they would be and their seeds do not save very easily. I do not think I will grow red sunflowers next year.
In order to harvest the sunflowers, I cut the heads off:The kids exposed the seed heads and stripped the leaves off. This is what the driveway looked like after a morning of sunflower harvesting:I ripped the first stalk out of the ground but after seeing what a huge hole was left afterward, I decided to just cut the stalks and leave the stumps to rot a bit before ripping them out of the ground.(hole that was left from one sunflower stalk)(This is what one box looks like with all of the stumps intact (those are cucumber vines at the base).)
Here is about 1/3 of the yellow sunflower heads we were able to harvest.Once the sunflowers were cut, stalks taken to the chickens, and seeds exposed, I hung them up in the basement to dry the rest of the way.(This is about 1/3 of the sunflowers harvested.)Some of the sunflowers had some worms in them so we just threw those to the chickens.
We will definitely be growing more sunflowers each year, I think. They are easy to grow, easy to harvest, and turned out to be a wonderful companion plant to cucumbers, which we love! And what a wonderful treat for the chickens!
I am linking up to Green Thumb Thursday to see what other gardeners are up to 🙂
How is it that your flowers still have seeds left? By the time the flower heads have matured enough to seed save, they are already consumed by all the birds!
Our cat is a great killer. I’ve seen her catch a cardinal right out of the air! I think she is to thank for our lack of birds in the garden…and other critters as well.
Interesting article! We grew mammoth sunflowers for the first time and they are close to being ready to harvest. We haven’t harvested any before so this is helpful.
this was our first time also. glad i could help 🙂
The top photo looks a lot like the Evening Sun sunflower that I grow. The birds seem to leave me enough seeds to save for planting next year, but I let them have the rest.
Love this post! I need to harvest my sunflowers (first time grower) and I really appreciate the tutorial!
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