NM Sunflower Seeds

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Old 08-08-00, 11:41 AM
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I transported some nice sunflower seeds from New Mexico to here in upstate NY, and finally got some of them to grow. My question: how should I go about removing and saving the seeds from these plants, so I can propogate them next year? Is there a particular time that I should remove the seeds from the plants, and how should I go about it?
Thanks. rpr3
 
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Old 08-08-00, 02:14 PM
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Are you talking about the sunflower (helianthemum) or Tithonia rotundifolia (commonly called Mexican sunflower)? If you have Tithonia the seeds are readily available from www.johnnyseeds.com, www.burpee.com, and www.parkseed.com. and you may not want to go through the steps of saving seed. They have both 'Torch' and 'Aztec Gold'. For a good picture of the flower and plant you can go to any of the sites or enter Tithonia on your search engine and then go to www.floridata.com. This will help you in identifying the plant you have.

That said saving seeds can be a lot of fun - sunflower or Tithonia. Here are the steps I would take. 1. Mature the seed on the plant.
2. Protect from birds with paper bag. This will catch any seeds which drop.
3. Sunflowers can be harvested when backs of seed heads are brown and dry. Inner rows still need drying. Cut w/approx 1ft. of stalk, hang upside down in airy barn or loft to dry, remove the seeds by rubbing the heads lightly.
4. All seed must be thoroughly dry before storage. Air dry in a warm room which has good ventilation. Stir occasionally to prevent mold.
5. Store in a paper envelope. I keep my seeds in glass jars with tight fitting lids in the refrigerator. Check frequently (especially at first) to be sure no mold is developing. Re-dry if necessary. Some also put a dessicant packet in with the seeds but I've never found this necessary.

If you find you really like saving seed get in touch with Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, Iowa. They are a source for seeds of many flowers, vegies, etc. that are no longer commonly available commercially. Have fun.
 
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