Growing sunflower seeds in quantity for eating
I am following Dr Briffa's natural primal diet, and am growing as much of it as I can.
Nuts & seeds are a part of this.(There is no breakfast as delicious as hot toasted nuts and seeds) I want to grow enough sunflower seeds to feed my family of 4 (approx 1 tablespoonful a day each).
I would love advice on: what is the best variety of sunflower to grow for seeds to eat; (and best place to buy them if allowed to say) is it best to sow indoors first or straight into the ground; at present the entire veg garden is covered in 4" of 3 yr old rotted horse manure (spread on last October), then permeable weed cover to keep weeds out before sowing. I hope the enormous number of worms we have here will have done their job over the Winter & mixed it into the soil beneath. Would this be too rich for them? (Our soil is clay but now improved with compost & manure to a nice dark loam).
Finally, how do I know when to harvest them? And do they need to be dried out in some way to store them?
I am thinking of growing them in fruit cages to keep birds out, (we feed the birds their own sunflower seeds bought in 20 kilo sacks).
Currently, I can only find organic sunflower seeds imported from China or USA which is a lot of unnecessary food miles.