Black oil SUNFLOWER SEED (Helianthus Annuus) Microgreens, Cut flower
Sunflower grown as microgreens have a mild and nutty flavor. Sunflower the 3-4" shoots can be eaten as fresh garnish, added to salads and sandwiches.
Harvest from 3–4" or just before the first true leaves emerge. Sunflower shoots can be eaten fresh, added to salads, used as a garnish, or used in a wide variety of dishes. Organically grown. Avg. 600 seeds/oz.
Maturity: Approx. 7-21 days as microgreens
Planting season: Late spring/early summer
Without question, black oil sunflower seed is the most popular seed among a wide variety of backyard birds, and most birds will at least sample the seeds even if they prefer other foods.
Birds not only bring sound and color into the garden, they can help eliminate insect pests that damage your plants. The least you can do is repay them with some of their favorite food -- black-oil sunflower seeds. Songbirds including finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and jays are all attracted to black-oil sunflower seed. This type of seed has a softer shell than the gray-striped type, with a larger meat that has a high oil content that provides more energy for the birds. They are the type commonly used for commercial bird seed, with "Peredovik" being a widely grown cultivar that you can plant in your own backyard
Black oil sunflower seed is the most familiar and most popular type of birdseed, for good reason. With this one type of seed in your feeders, you can attract dozens of bird species to your yard.
When compared to striped sunflower seeds, black oil seeds are meatier and have a higher oil content, giving birds more nutrition and calories in every bite. Black oil seeds also have thinner shells, making them easier for small birds to crack.
Birds that regularly eat sunflower seeds include:
Northern cardinals and other large grosbeaks
Tufted titmice or other tits and titmice
Mourning doves and Eurasian collared-doves
Gray catbirds and many thrushes
Common and boat-tailed grackles
Cassin’s, purple, and house finches
All types of goldfinches
In addition to these birds, all species of jays, chickadees, sparrows, and nuthatches will eagerly eat sunflower seeds, same with downy, hairy, acorn, gila, red-bellied, and ladder-backed woodpeckers. If the seeds are spilled on the ground, they will be quickly cleaned up by ground-feeding birds such as quail, grouse, pheasants, and turkeys.
How to Feed Sunflower Seeds to Birds
Sunflower seeds are best offered in hopper, platform, or tray feeders since the seeds are too large for many tube and mesh feeders. Sunflower seeds can also be sprinkled directly on the ground for ground-feeding birds, and dried sunflower heads can be purchased for birds to pluck the seeds directly from a "natural" feeder.
Growing Sunflower Seeds for microgreens
Wash and soak seeds for 6-8 hours (do not re-use water). Sow seeds by broadcasting in soil. Cover for 2–3 days or until the germinating. Keep soil moist or bottom water. Grow in a dark area if a blanched final product is desired. As seedlings are growing, knock off the seed coats from the cotyledons. If some seed coats do not fall off readily, removal with fingers may be necessary. Harvest 3-4" or desired length.
Plant seeds 1-2 inches deep and 8-12 inches apart in loose soil and full sun. For the best results, plant sunflower seeds only when the spring is warm and all danger of frost is past. Staggering plantings over several weeks will allow plants to mature at different times and ensure an ongoing supply of ready-to-eat birdseed. Sunflowers can be planted in all types of soil, including deep containers, and supplemental fertilization is not needed. Too much fertilization can decrease the seed yield by increasing the height of the stalks and leaf growth. Water the seeds every day (twice daily in very hot or dry climates) until the young plants are well established, then water thoroughly every other day.
Weeds should be controlled near sunflowers when the plants are very young, but once sunflowers grow several inches tall they will rapidly become established and weeds are no longer a concern. When stalks grow taller than 3 feet, stakes may be needed to ensure they do not topple over during high winds, storms, or when the seed heads become heavy.
Sunflower seeds will ripen in the fall as the seed heads turn downward and the inner flowers shrivel. If you plan to store seeds for refilling feeders later, you should cover the heads with fine, sturdy mesh to prevent birds from feasting prematurely, or they can be left on the stalks for birds to enjoy directly. To store the seeds, cut the flower heads off each stalk to dry. When the heads are completely dry, the seeds can be rubbed off to be added to feeders, or dry heads can be put in tray or platform feeders without removing the seeds. Store seeds you won’t use right away in a cool, dry place so they will stay fresh and appetizing for the birds.