I thought I'd share with you how I harvested my Sunflowers Seeds last year and how I'll do so once my newly bloomed beauties have withered away and have gone to seed for me. It's really so easy and if I can successfully do it anyone can!
First, let your Sunflower completely dry out in your garden (this is a Sunflower I planted in May that has passed her prime). Don't cut it or fuss with it, just let the natural process happen and after a month or so it will look like this.
Yup, she's lost most of her glory by this point but she's still stunning to me. Once your Sunflower is ready you should be able to literally put it off of it's stem if it's a smaller plant like mine (this one measured 2 inches across) or if it's a bigger plant you may need to break out the shears and cut it off.
Now the messy and easy part. Over a piece of scrap paper or a paper towel begin rubbing the sunflower back in forth in your hands, loosening the seeds inside.
I peeled it a bit back here so you can see where the seeds are stored. Pretty neat, right? You should be able to slide the seeds right out just by rubbing the Sunflower back and forth underneath your fingers, kind of helping each of the seeds out.
And here's what is left of the Sunflower ... yes, my friends, you are looking at Sunflower guts here. Messy but oh so worth it because ...
You should now have a pile of Sunflower seeds like this! How awesome is that? And so easy, right? I wound up with 160 potentially viable Sunflower seeds when I was done which even if half die would yield 80 Sunflowers next year.
To make sure they were completely dried out and ready for storing, I placed my seeds last year in a small plastic container and left it by the window to further dry out. After about a few weeks or so I gathered them up in a small paper envelope I made and left them in a moisture free cupboard until planting time this year.
Good luck and I hope you have as much success with your own Sunflower Seed Harvesting!