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Mother Earth News, Sep/Oct 1987
The Easiest Seed-Saving Crops
By Nancy Bubel

Sunflowers. These cooperative seed producers are a good choice for your first season of seed keeping. You might want to tie netting over the ripening heads to keep birds off. On our farm, goldfinches can strip the heads in no time. Shell the heads by rubbing them over a coarse hardware-cloth screen. Then dry the seeds, and seal them securely to keep out mice. Sunflowers that cross repeatedly with nearby wild sunflowers will produce less-desirable plants with each generation. It's usually easy, though, to find and chop down any nearby small-seeded wild plants that might interfere.