Mammoth Sunflowers/Homegrown Birdfeeder

We planted several Mammoth Sunflowers in our garden this year.  Clearly, they don’t call them “mammoth” for nothin’, though this is the only one that grew to truly mutant proporations.  It’s gorgeous–I want a whole forest of them.  And once again we stand in awe of that perennial gardening miracle: how did such a thing grow from the tiny seed we planted in an egg carton one chilly flannel-pajama-ed night in April?


We are loving this almost-autumn season, with the pumpkins turning orange, a chill in the still-warm air, the chickens putting themselves to bed earlier every night, and the sunflower heads heavy and drooping with seeds.

SunflowerHeadSunflower seeds are super-nutritious.  You can roast your sunflower seeds for tasty human nibbling, or add them into breads and muffins (for ideas, how-tos, and stronger opinions about sunflowers than you ever thought possible, check out this Mother Earth News article from 1976–back in the day!).   Since we have many seed-loving native birds in our neighborhood (chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, juncos…), and we don’t maintain feeders, we just leave our sunflowers as homegrown birdfeeders.  The chickadees pluck one seed at at time, then sit on top of the flower to eat it.  Couldn’t be cuter.


  1. Nancy Stillger

    I really didn’t think we planted Mammoths but ours got that big! Thanks for the link to Mother Earth News – I was just wondering what I should do with ours… We saw fields and fields of these in their dying back stage in California on our way to Tahoe.

  2. I have had success with Mexican Sunflowers the past few years, and leave them for the birds, too. We noticed a large flock of goldfinches last evening, jumping from fruit trees, to berry vines, to grapes and to the dripping water at the fish pond…. a lovely time of year.

  3. The birds “planted” sunflowers all around our back porch this spring, and the best of the summer has been spent watching the finches sway on the flowers. Never again will I just plant the sunflowers way out in the vegetable patch. We’re keeping them up close from now on: for the birds and for those of us who love to watch the birds.

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