What sunflower seeds should I grow for human and animal consumption?

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I would like to grow about an acre of sunflower seeds in the spring for human and animal consumption. My land is in Avon New York. I am not sure what variety to grow. Any help on selection and lessens of growers in the area would be greatly appreciated

-- Charles Dempsey (cdempsey71@aol.com), October 25, 2001


Charles, I would suggest a variety such as Mammoth Russian. Not only are the much larger with more and bigger seeds than the newer varieties more commonly used for cut flowers, but the seed is much cheaper as well. Mammoth Russian is by far the cheapest variety I have found. Good luck with them.

-- Murray in ME (lkdmfarm@megalink.net), October 25, 2001.

Where would one obtain Mammouth Russian sunflower seeds?

-- paul (primrose@centex.net), October 25, 2001.

Seeds of Change has them. I tried growing them this year in my novice's garden. Only two germinated (there may have been seed theft, I didn't think of that until later in the year). One died, don't know why. The other got HUGE. The stem was the size of a small sapling, and the seed head got so heavy, the weight of it pulled the whole thing over. But I got a nice seed head!

-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (CatFlunky@excite.com), October 26, 2001.

I live in the Baltimore, MD area. I've found the Russian Mammoth easy to grow, but they fall over if not staked. I don't know what you would do about staking an acre of them! The last two years mine have had some kind of bug in the seeds, so I haven't saved the seeds. Just let the birds and squirrels have them. Does anyone know what the bugs might be? Or what would prevent them? We keep organic. Thanks,Ann

-- ann k (ann1956ann@hotmail.com), October 26, 2001.

Paul, The most economical seed company that I have found for Mammoth Russian Sunflowers is R.H. Shumway www.rhshumway.com Fedco Seeds www.fedcoseeds.com sells another good variety, Mammoth Grey Stripe. R.H. Shumway sells Mammoth Russian sunflower seed for $6.79/lb or 5lb./$18.95. This is the lowest price I've found so far. Shumway's seeds are excellent.

-- Murray in ME (lkdmfarm@megalink.net), October 26, 2001.

Charles, You said you wanted sunflowers for animals as well as humans. If you mean for birds, black oil sunflower seeds are more nutritious and supposedly have 70 percent more meat than the large striped mammoth type. You can buy them from seed companies, but I find it's a lot cheaper to just use the seed in a fresh sack of sunflower seed for birds.

-- Katherine in KY (KyKatherine@Yahoo.com), October 27, 2001.

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