How to Grow Sunflowers:

Sunflower, how do you grow sunflowers, how much water do sunflowers need, how do you harvest sunflower seeds, do you plant sunflowers from seed, what should I do if the heads of the sunflower droopThe sunflower is native to Central America and was grown and domesticated by the natives who used it as a symbol of their solar deity. The sunflower was brought to Europe in the early 1500’s, but not until the 1700’s did the use of sunflower oil and seeds become popular for cooking. They are a great addition to the garden, not only because of the tasty seeds they produce, but they make your garden look great and are so easy to grow. They are not very picky about the soil, but of course they will grow much bigger if they have nice soil to sink their roots into.

Planting and Growing:

Sow sunflowers directly outdoors after the last frost.  They do not transplant well.  Sow 12 to 18 inches (20 to 45 cm) apart in a diamond pattern for maximum usage of space.  As mentioned above, they are very easy to grow.  All the nutrients they need can be found in the soil.  If they do show signs of nutrient deficiency, fertilize lightly with a balanced organic fertilizer.  Water sunflowers heavily while they are grown, and then reduce watering when they begin forming the flower head. Sunflower, how deep should I plant the sunflower seed, can we eat the sunflower seeds

They are fun to sit and watch them grow; it seems, like a foot a week! Mammoth sunflowers can be grown for their seeds, or smaller varieties for cut flowers.  There are so many fun varieties to try, and it adds some nice colors to your garden.

Harvesting and Preserving:

Harvest mammoth sunflower seed heads when the head becomes large and all the seeds are fully matured.  Cut off the head leaving about 6 inches (15 cm) of the stem attached to the head.  Hang them indoors for 2 weeks to let them dry.  Then rub the seeds out and store in a clean, glass jar.

To make flavored sunflower seeds, rinse the seeds in cool water.  Then, pour the seeds into a pot and add 2 qts (1.8 L) of water and ¼ cup (.05 L) of salt.  Let the salt dissolve and bring the water to a boil.  Place the lid on the pot and simmer for 2 hours.  Drain and rinse seeds with cold water.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (148 degrees C).  Place the seeds on a baking sheet and spread out to a single layer.  Place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes, stirring half way through to prevent burning.

When seeds are finished roosting, pour 2 cups (1/2 L) of the warm sunflower seeds into a plastic bag and add 1 tsp (5 mL) of olive oil and 2 tbsp (30 mL) of your favorite seasoning like salt, cayenne pepper, ranch flavoring, garlic or barbecue seasoning.  Seal the bag and shake it to coat the seeds with the oil and seasoning.  Then, pour out the seeds onto some paper towels to absorb the excess.  Store them in a clean, glass jar.

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