Learn how to harvest sunflower seeds, so that you will have the most success in your seed gathering efforts.

If you are planning to harvest sunflower seeds from your garden, it’s important to collect them when they are mature and viable.

There are telltale signs to watch for with sunflowers that indicate maturity. It’s best to watch and wait before cutting them down and collecting the seed.

A general rule of thumb is to look for signs of maturity on sunflowers at approximately two months from pollination.

Signs of maturity of a sunflower head includes a nodding head, central disc florets which easily fall off, yellowing at the back of the head, and possibly some loose seeds.

After blooming, the sunflower starts to nod and will continue this drooping behavior as it gets heavy and fills with seed.

When the sunflower head is mature, it is very easy to wipe the central disc flowers off the face of the sunflower.

At the back of the sunflower, you will see a gradual change in color from green to yellow. Sunflowers can be harvested when they turn yellow.

As the sunflower heads mature, some of the seeds may become loose and fall to the ground. If the seeds come off easily, they are ready for harvesting.

When the sunflowers are mature, it’s important to harvest them, and get the mature seeds into storage before the garden critters begin to eat them.

Remove the central disc flowers from the face of the sunflower. Cut the stem approximately six inches below the sunflower head, and remove all of the leaves.

After the sunflower heads are harvested it is time to hang them to dry. This process can take several weeks to a month to dry them out well.

After drying the heads, it's time to harvest the seeds. This is relatively easy as the seeds become looser. Work the sunflower seeds with your fingers to loosen them up.

As soon as you get a few seeds loosened and out of the head, it will be easier to work the rest out. Keep wiggling them with your fingers until they drop out.

Some sunflower seeds are empty because they did not have a chance to be fertilized. So no seed was produced.

After harvesting the sunflower seeds, sort through them and remove any empty seed and chaff.Spread the seeds out on a clean dry pan or plate to allow them to dry.

After the sunflower seeds are dried, they can safely be stored away in a clean container until ready to use.

For more information, see the tutorial!