Or possibly both.
The day after Christmas I placed our first seed order for the gardening year.
One of the things Michael and I want to do is sell cut flowers at the farmers market. So I did some shopping for pollen free sunflower seeds. They are more expensive than standard sunflowers with pollen and there were a lot of packages of 10 seeds for $2.50.
I did more searching and began finding much better deals. One particular variety appealed to me at the moment and this is what I saw.
Nice. Even free shipping!
And the details.
Well, they got here yesterday.
We opened it excitedly, and this is what we found...
Yes. Those kernels have no hulls. They look rather like snacking kernels. I wrote back to the seller:
Hello, I just received my order for these sunflower seeds and they are not what I was expecting at all. These seeds have no shells and they cannot be planted and grown. I am very unhappy with this purchase. Can you please send me seeds that can be planted and grown? I hoped to have these pollenless cutting flowers for this summer. Thank you.
And this was their very informative response. (Read mild sarcasm)
So I decided to be a little more specific in my questions:
YES THEY CAN BE GROWN, SHELL IS JUST A SHELL BUT YOU MAY RETURN IF YOU LIKE.
How and why did they come to be without shells? That is a lot of extra work for garden seeds, and I've never seen that done before. Where is the packaging that shows what variety of sunflower they are?
All this time, I am researching on the web... and I got another slightly annoying response, giving me no more information than I already knew.
I am a dealer and buy my seeds in bulk. That is how they arrive to me.
I have an eBay store. My answers will be MUCH longer and more informative than that. I am considering sending this message back, before leaving negative feedback.
I am pleased by your quick replies, but frustrated by the simplistic nature of them.
Every dollar is a struggle for us, these seeds are not just seeds, but the commitment of valuable garden space for producing cut flowers for setting at market so that my son and I can survive financially. If these seeds are not the pollen free variety we need, then we can't sell them and we've wasted a lot of time and work.
Nothing in my experience of gardening in my entire life has shown me that hulled, unlabeled sunflower seeds would add up to an expensive cut flower planting lot.
I am left with choosing between returning these seeds at my expense, when they were not listed as hulled in your eBay ad, or using up an entire garden bed and hope they sprout and are the type that was claimed in the ad.
If these seeds are as you claim, at least give me the information I need to feel comfortable with my purchase, and not spend the next 6 months wondering if I've been had.
I don't know, am I asking too much? I do not feel comfortable with this purchase. Would you?
OK, so I was off to do research on the web again. You know, a lot of time in my life is spent on research.....
I could not find anyplace that recommended removing the hulls from seeds to plant them in your garden.
I did, however, find that people who sprout sunflower seeds for baby greens, or seed sprouts, buy them this way and that they are indeed supposed to sprout better that way. Many of them say it's good for gardens as well, as an added afterthought.
So I have several questions after all this
1. Why would anyone go to the time and expense of shelling these sunflower seeds for mass sprouting of pollen free varieties? You would not want to spend the extra money on a specialty variety that you were never going to worry about if it were pollen free or not, because you were going to eat them as sprouts.
2. I seriously doubt that this seller, out of the goodness of her heart, individually shelled 100 seeds for me, so they would sprout more easily. So she's obtained them, already hulled, somewhere else in bulk and is selling them off in lots of 100. How do I know that these hulled seeds are even the variety listed?
Actually, somewhere in my mind is a concise and logical list of successive questions to ask, thereby leading all to one conclusion. There is no way this is legit. However, it's locked away tightly in the Fort Knox of my mind and I can't seem to remember where I left the combination right now.
All I know is, we have a choice. Either return these at our own expense, or plant them and hope they grow, and double hope they are the variety she claims so we don't waste valuable garden space on a useless variety.
I don't think we'll be buying seeds off eBay again. I have since found many pollen free varieties, at good prices, from well known seed sellers. And I wonder if we can sprout one of these kernels and see what kind of flower it produces by real sunflower planting time....
Anybody out there with experience planting only the kernels?