Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SUNFLOWERS

Sunflowers are beautiful in Sitka gardens:












and in bouquets:








This sunflower has heart!








Some sunflower plants are short and some are tall:


And some are very tall:







Some sunflower plants are tough! These plants remained standing after being challenged by strong winds and heavy rains. Whew! 
Bad hair day!






Besides providing color and beauty in the garden, sunflower seeds are a delicious treat for birds and humans.
                         This guy loves to eat sunflower seeds. 



                With a little effort, you can grow a lot of flower!!!

Start by selecting and purchasing seeds for the sunflower varieties you would like to grow. You will discover that there sure are a lot of sunflower varieties from which to choose.

If you are most interested in growing sunflowers for eating, tall plants that grow striped seeds are recommended. 
We enjoyed eating the seeds from:
MAMMOTH RUSSIAN
GIGANTEUS
MAMMOTH GRAY STRIPE
KONG
SUNZILLA
TITAN

Once you have made your selection, fill 4 inch pots with potting soil. Place two seeds in each pot about 1/2 inch below the surface. Cover the seeds with more soil. Be sure to label the pots if you are growing more that one variety. I like to write the height on the label with the variety name. It simplifies things later when planting the tall varieties behind the shorter varieties in the garden. 





Place the 4 inch pots in a container or tray and sit it on top of a seed warming mat, or your warmest location, indoors. Water the pots gently and thoroughly with room temperature water.

Cover the entire tray with plastic.





Sunflower seeds usually germinate in five days or less.








Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the plastic cover permanently. No more need for the seed warming mat either. Place the tray of sunflower starts in your sunniest, warmest spot indoors. Water regularly. After about three or four weeks, transplant each plant into a larger, gallon-size container. Once transplanted, it is time for the sunflower plants to go out to a cold frame or greenhouse.
Sunflowers in gallon pots growing in the greenhouse middle right.
 








A few weeks later, around June 1st, plant your sunflowers outside in fertile soil in your sunniest location. If you have a location somewhat protected from harsh weather, that would be good. Under an overhang is good, too. Don't forget to water regularly if under an overhang. If you are growing tall varieties, stake the plants when they grow up past a few feet.







Some of the sunflower varieties we have grown:
AMERICAN GIANT
AZTEC GOLD
GIANT SUNGOLD
GOLDEN CHEER
HUMONGOUS
JOKER
KONG
MAMMOTH
MOONSHADOW
PRO CUT GOLD
RED SUN
RING OF FIRE
SORAYA
SKYSCRAPER
SUNRICH LEMON
SUNSEED
SUNZILLA
TAIYO
TEDDY BEAR
TITAN
ZEBULON








                                    HAPPY GARDENING!!!

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