Harvesting and Drying Sunflowers

Harvesting and Drying Sunflowers

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Seed Saving
There's more to harvesting and drying sunflowers than many growers realize. How soon you decide to harvest them will depend largely on energy costs, temperatures, and whether you prefer them to dry naturally. Ideally, your sunflowers won't be exposed to insects and diseases, and the temperature will be warm enough to allow them to dry on the stem. However, those circumstances are rare. In reality, most crops will be vulnerable to some level of pests and diseases. And depending upon where you live, the temperature can cause your sunflowers to freeze. In this article, I'll explain some of the benefits of harvesting your sunflowers early. I'll also describe how they're dried and why the moisture in the air can affect your crops. Benefits Of Harvesting Early With energy expenses escalating,…
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Storage Tips For Sunflower Seeds

Storage Tips For Sunflower Seeds

Flower Gardening, Seed Saving
The manner in which you store your sunflowers can play an important role in the preservation of your seeds. For example, if there is excess moisture during storage, it's possible for the moisture to freeze the seeds, causing breakage. This happens often when they're harvested early and stored without proper drying. Harvesting them early can help limit the potential for bird damage and shattering, but the seeds must be dried before storage. In this article, I'll provide a few tips for storing your sunflowers properly to prevent them from being damaged. Tip #1: Measure Moisture Accurately Because storing your seeds when they contain too much moisture can cause problems, you'll need to use a moisture meter. However, if your seeds are less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the meter will not…
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Seed of Tomorrow

Seed of Tomorrow

Community, Food Supply, Organic Gardening, Seed Saving, Sustainable Living
There are many reasons to make open pollinated ["heirloom variety"] seeds an integral part of your gardening experience and food storage. If seeds are collected from F1 hybrids, the plants grown from those seeds will generally not have the characteristics that you desired in the parent plant. Open pollinated seeds allow the gardener the option of saving seed and growing the plants you like, year after year. In the April 1991 issue of National Geographic, in an article titled, "World Food Supply at Risk", the authors point out past failures of agriculture being based on only a few varieties. Such disasters include the 1970 corn blight that destroyed much of the US crop and the potato famine that killed over 1 million in Ireland. Such disasters are not new. The…
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Saving Seeds from Your Garden

Saving Seeds from Your Garden

Seed Saving
For many gardeners, the garden actually begins in January when the first seed catalog arrives in the mailbox. While the cold wind howls outside, we retire to a cozy chair and leaf through the catalog, carefully notating which varieties of lettuce and tomatoes to try and wishing we had the space to plant each and every flower so artfully displayed on its pages. But have you ever wondered where your great-grandparents acquired the seeds for their gardens, before there were seed catalogs and fancy garden centers? They saved seeds for the next year from their own gardens! Saving seeds from your own flowers or vegetables is a wonderful way to fully experience the cycle of plant growth. It's also much less expensive than buying seeds each spring, and seeds saved…
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