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Old 11-14-2010, 01:11 PM
 
Location: The Mitten
843 posts, read 1,273,703 times
Reputation: 735

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Alright, I'm getting a little upset about this. I had over 50 sunflowers during summer/fall seasons. They finally died and I cut them down to harvest their seeds. I set them in a dry place to get the seeds to fall out; they've been there for a total of 1-2 months.

Anyways, I keep checking the box (yah, they're in a box I had so many). Some of the seeds feel hollow, others feel like they're very thin and brittle.

Are these seeds dead or dying? Do I need to do anything to prevent from dying off? Any help will be appreciated.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
2,457 posts, read 6,985,789 times
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I can think of two possibilities. One, the seed heads may not have been totally dry when you cut them and they then dehydrated to nothing. If they had been completely dry you should be able to shake the seeds out of the head, or, being in a box, bugs may have gotten in and eaten out the kernels, but if that happened they would have left sign. From your description I don't think those seeds will come up next year but if you pick through all of them you may find enough firm ones to use.

It's a personal choice, but I like to leave the seed heads on the stalk for the birds and buy fresh healthy seeds to plant the next year.
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:38 PM
 
Location: The Mitten
843 posts, read 1,273,703 times
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UPDATE: So, as I mentioned before, I thought my sunflower seeds were bad, so I tossed in my compost pile.

Winter has now shown its pretty, yet mean, face here in Michigan. Nights drop down to -10 degrees and up to 40 degrees during the day. So, the compost will probably slow down a lot. It's still good to throw out stuff in it as things do break down.

Anyways, I found a few bulbs I had from the summer start to grow. I can't just throw them in a colder climate, as I think it'll kill them. The ones that didn't grow yet I set outside in a cold, dry environment. I put the growing bulbs in a pot, which also had a (single) sunflower seed in it just to test them. I forgot all about the seed and when I looked at the bulbs, a long skinny sapling was growing! It's unrelated to the bulbs, as it has different leaves and tends to point towards the light more.

I didn't think it was a sunflower seed right away, assuming they were all bad. Now that this seed was good, does this mean all of them are good? Does anyone think its too late to dig out the seeds from the compost? Should I wait till spring, dump the compost out where I had the sunflowers before and hope they don't decompose?

Any thoughts appreciated!
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Old 11-27-2010, 04:19 PM
 
Location: US, California - federalist
2,794 posts, read 3,557,272 times
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I have been leaving most of the sunflowers that were growing out for the birds as well. I put some of the sunflowers directly on top of a compost pile. I am growing them in containers and can't use more seeds than one sunflower will provide. You may want to put them, or leave them, in the compost pile and pot up or plant any sunflowers indoors as they sprout.

Here in California, I may put any plants that sprout into containers and let them fend for themselves; the rest of the sunflower seeds are for the birds.
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