Drying whole sunflower heads

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I planted a very large amount of sunflowers and they are now ready to havest. I have seen the sunflower heads dried whole and used as a little wreath and thought this would make a great gift for my friend who love feed birds. Does anyone know how to dry them??? I have found that if I hang them to dry the mice and birds continue to eat them or the seeds fall out...

-- Debbie T in N.C. (rdtyner@mindspring.com), September 11, 2000


I believe you can cut them to dry (leaving about two feet of the stem) and tie them up in an old pillowcase or in pantihose! But we just left them drying in the garden this year and the birds have had a feast...PLUS...one big giant squierrel goes out there and hangs upside down and eats them like a pig! He is hilarious to watch!!!!

-- Suzy in 'Bama (slgt@yahoo.com), September 11, 2000.

I cut some of ours last week and we hung them inside of the barn to dry, away from the birds, eventually they will get them at the feeder.

-- Hendo (redgate@echoweb.net), September 12, 2000.

Several years ago we made decorative bird houses from extra sunflower heads. Cut a piece of log that has a diameter that would look nice with the sunflower head sitting on top as a roof. Drill a hole in it for a decorative opening. Add a twig or piece of doweling for a perch. We have them on our mantle and many who see them want one so we give them one. A random act of kindness that doesn't cost any money.

-- Sandy (smd2@netzero.net), September 12, 2000.

Debbie, this year I planted 2 rows of sunflowers about 2 ft apart about a 1/2 acre long / & planted them very thick & used them as a divideing fence. They grew together as a thick fence! Of coarse as thick as I planted them not all the heads were as big. They were beautiful!!!!! We have cut part of the heads---I still have more to harvest. We put them in onion sacks & hung them from wires from rafters in a storage building. I got the onion sacks from a food store that throws them away & saved them for me. We also have used burlap bags to put the heads in & hung them from the rafters also. We use them for seed for the birds & also my seed for flowers the next year. Each year I use seed for flowers I have several that have many heads smaller in size. I enjoy the sunflowers!!!! I also put an antique wire roller at the end of the fence / with hollyhocks / & a sign with a bird feeder that says,"seeds for a song", We had several take pictures of our sunflower fence & flowers! So many enjoyed it also---& it worked as a nice divideing fence--it said, this is the property line!!!!!!!! Sonda in Ks.

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), September 12, 2000.

We have to either cover our sunflowers with bags or bring them indoors pretty early -- the years we didn't, the blue jays got all of them in just a few days! Amazing how many blue jays there are around here!!! :-)

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), September 14, 2000.

I too grew sunflowers and I was wondering how do you know when to pick them? So far the seeds still appear to be white. Will they turn black if I pick them now or do I have to wait for the to turn black. Just wondering.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), September 15, 2000.

Coleen, We usually harvest our sunflowers when the stalks & heads are dryed out---but we have harvested heads still green & put them out flat on screens to dry/ so we still could harvest them. Hope that answeres your question! Sonda

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), September 17, 2000.

Colleen--got in a hurry sorry I mis-spelled your name! Sonda

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), September 17, 2000.

Thanks Sonda for the info. I was a little anxious to pick them because I didn't want the birds to get them because I wanted to save them for bird feed for the winter. I went ahead and picked them and I'm glad to hear that it is okay to dry them from the green state. I've got them spread out in the green house where they will get the sun and varmints won't get them.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), September 18, 2000.

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