Sunflower Harvest Alter

Introduction: Sunflower Harvest Alter

Fall is here and the once green and colorful garden is fading as the cold nights start to take over. The broccoli has gone to seed the remaining peppers and tomatoes are dwindling and its time to dig up the onions. But what to do with the massive sunflowers that grew upward of 12ft tall??

In spring while at the local greenhouse getting starter plants I came across a few varieties of sunflower seeds. The one that caught my eye the most was the Russian Giant, which claimed to reach heights over 10ft tall and produce a large seed filled head and at $1.99 that seemed like a good investment to add some color and dimension to the garden.

I planted them on the North and East sides of the garden as to not block the sun, 1 seed every foot. I think every seed I planted germinated and the race for the sun was off!  As the garden grew the sun flowers took the lead in the garden and battled the GMO field corn surrounding our house on 3 sides for the tallest annual.

My 6ft 1 brother appears to be about half the height of the tallest flowers. When the flower started to develop seeds and the heads became heavier they lost some height and the stalks resembled a shepherd’s hook.  The stems became very wood like and strong.

Fast forward to the end of the season.. The flowers are all gone the heads are huge with seeds and the leaves are rotting away it was time to clean up. I feed a few heads to the chickens and saved some seeds for next spring but for the most part I was at a loss of what to do with these giant flowers!

So having just looked at all the awesome forts on Instructables I decided to use that inspiration and make a sunflower fort. My brother went lumber jack on them and I took the loppers and took off the heads. We pulled the leaves off and ended up with a whole pile of shepherd hooks stems. If only the fort contest was still open! We could of made a house out of these things very strong. But contest just ended so we decided on a teepee type structure 

I grabbed some twine and tied 4 together to get a base going and then started to weave and stand the reaming stems up. Before long we had a nice teepee going. But when we added the heads of the sunflower it became a “harvest alter”.

The farmer who owns the corn field is harvesting the corn currently and any left behind stalks I come across will be added to alter.  I’m hoping it stand all winter and feeds some birds and whatever is left come spring will be added to the compost pile!

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    2 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    WOW, they are very high plants!

    Do you toast the sunflower seeds? They are very tasty.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I did. I saved 1 head for that and should be cooking it up this weekend. Depending on how it turns out I may go for a couple more!