I planted fifteen seeds, and all fifteen came up. And they are hardy little buggers. When other plants were wilting from the Sahara like heat that we had this summer, the sunflowers were smiling. When the sprinkler didn't quite hit them and it hadn't rained for weeks, the sunflowers still stood tall and bright. When I didn't get out there for bug control (due to frantically planning a reunion at my farm, which is another story), the sunflowers didn't miss a beat, even though their leaves were getting eaten. This is the first year I have planted sunflowers, and they were very quickly rising to the top of my "love" list of plants.
When the growing season was over and the flowers had gone to seed, I went out to remove the heads. As an aside, sunflowers are covered with tiny little bristles, which apparently I am allergic to. After slathering some Benadryl on my arms and waiting for the swelling to go down (yes I wore gloves and a long sleeve shirt, but the sleeves moved up as I was working!!), I went out to the porch to break all the seeds out of the flower heads. I was able to gather about half of a paper bag full, and left them on the porch to dry.
My plan was to soak them in salt water and then roast them. Once they were completely dry, I put them in a bucket and added some water, along with a good bit of salt. I set them in the corner, and promptly forgot about them. Once the reunion was over and I was cleaning up, I saw the bucket. Oh. Crud.
I really, REALLY didn't want to look in that bucket. I had a lid just sitting on top of the bucket and hadn't closed it up all the way; didn't want them to rot. Ha! When I removed the lid, not only were they rotten but the layer on top all had sickly white sprouts coming out of the seeds. And man, did they stink. GAH!! Ruined! All of them!
I dumped the bucket outside, and came back in the house, extremely disappointed, and embarrassed, that I had messed up so badly. Not only had I done all that work for nothing, but I had wasted the product of those beautiful flowers that took a whole season to grow. Now I had to wait an entire year to repeat the process, and hopefully do it right. *sigh*
The bright spot in all of this is that I do learn as I go. Next year, I will process a little bit at a time, all in one sitting, rather than setting them aside. And learning is what this experience is all about, right?