Last summer in the community gardens I planted a row of glorious sunflowers along the edges of my plots. They grew tremendously high, ten feet many of them, faces to the sun, and yellow petals being tickled by ginormous bumble bees.
As the summer faded their heads grew heavy with seed and drooped low. Some dropped their seeds for the birds and wildlife, and to regrow, some I retrieved. When the heads are filled with seed and are visible, the yellow center petals being pushed out with the seeds, simply take a pocket knife and cut the heads off (ask first!) and place in a paper bag to dry on the porch. They are very sticky for some time as they dry. In a month or better you will find that you can wiggle the dried head to pop the seeds out Store in a canning jar or bag.
Sunflower seeds were a staple in many Indian tribes. The seeds were shelled, pounded to make meal, to release the oils, and were added to many pots of squash, corn, and/or beans. They would never dream of putting several heads out on the table for the birds like I did. I like watching the small finches hopping around the mounds of sunflowers pulling out seeds and singing. If I am out there reading I will pop a few out to munch on as well. There was plenty to go around this year.
As autumn fades, her beauty and splendor lasted well into the season (our first light snow was just last week). The leaves have long left their limbs, and the autumn sky turns to rain and snow clouds. I bid lovely autumn adieu and welcome the calming time of winter. For next spring, I will have my hands in the soil. They accepted our offer on the house.