The following article is how to grow sunflowers, the sunflower life cycle and collecting the seed.
Sunflowers have been cultivated for over 3000 years and are natives of Utah and Arizona.
This is one of the essential plants for your Summer Garden. Easily grown from seed, these drought and frost hardy annuals can grow from thirty centimetres to five metres tall. My friend uses them to shade her fragile lettuces in the heat of Summer and then uses the remaining stems of the Giant Russian Sunflower as trellisses for her beans. Plant them in Spring.
To save the seeds cut the heads when the petals have withered and the seed heads feel hard, tie them in bundles and hang them for in the sun (out of the rain of course) for about a week to let the late formed seeds mature. To collect the individual seeds, large heads can be beaten with a rolling pin on a garage floor or for smaller heads the seeds can be rubbed by hand. Hang the seeds for a further week in a paper bag in a dry place. The seeds will last for up to five years if kept sealed from oxygen and moisture.
Sunflowers are part self and part cross-pollinating. Each individual kernel needs to be pollinated so this is where the bees come in. If you have a lot of bees around you will get good pollination and hence an abundance of edible kernels.
Sunflower kernels are highly nutritous and the seeds can be used to feed the chickens. For some cheap green sustenance sunflower sprouts can be very easily grown by just laying the seed heads down on the mulch and watering twice a day. The pollinated kernels will sprout and you can eat them. Living food for you and your family.
The history of Sunflowers is mystical and profound. They have been grown by the American Indians and the Incas.
Remember to plant and harvest by the moon for excellent results in your rasta garden