So you managed to grow some amazing sunflowers, congratulations! You’re probably now thinking that you would like to harvest these seeds, either to ensure that you get the same incredible crop for next year, or as a snack, or perhaps as bird feed. Whatever your use, here’s how to do it:
First, be sure your sunflowers are ready. Sunflower seeds begin to ripen on the outer edges of the seedhead first, but may not be ripe in the center for another week or two. Wait until the petals fade and dry before cutting the seedhead. If you notice birds are harvesting the seeds for you, then it means they’re ready to take down.
Cut down the sunflowers and hang upside in a dry area. Allow to dry out for a couple of weeks. Be sure to either wrap in cheesecloth, or attach a bag or container of some sort under the flower to catch any seeds that may simply fall out. As for the remaining seeds, the method that I found worked best for me was to use two sunflower heads to rub together to loosen the seeds. The seeds will fall out easily and can be caught in a container. Remaining seeds can then be rubbed out with a towel or picked by hand.
Now you can store away until next spring to plant, or feed to the birds, or to your family and friends. Consider roasting some with some pumpkin seeds as nice healthy treat!