Who doesn't love the beauty of a sunflower?
Is it the cheerful yellow?
The thought of standing in a field filled with tall stems of sunnies billowing on a breeze?
I plant my sunflowers at the back of my garden, and once mid-August hits I am treated to a marvelous backdrop of sunshine. The sunflowers are glorious against the deep greens of the woods beyond, and add such a regal, yet "down on the farm" feeling to the garden.
This year, I planted my sunflowers a bit late with the chaos of getting ready for our trip to The Azores.
My hope had been to make a HUGE sunflower garden in my 20 x 15 former veggie garden. But time…and a jungle got away from me, so I happily planted what I could at the back of my garden and cheered those babies on!
I usually plant at least one tall variety, one branching variety, and one smaller variety.
Sunrich from Johnny Seeds. I love this variety because I was able to sell it mixed into summer arrangements.
I use a small battery powered tiller to dig a 10 x 10 bed.
I plant in rows, a bit closer than suggested on the package…which also keeps flower head size down, making them perfect for arrangements.
I water and cover with permeable ground cover after planting. This keeps the birds away and allows me to water. I uncover as soon as the seeds sprout.
I water until seedlings are around 6" and look strong, ad then I do not water again unless we are in a drought. Even then, they are surprisingly resilient.
I do not weed the sunflower area. Sunnies are strong and do not allow weeds to overcome them.
(At least not here in the Northeast)
Cut fresh flowers in the morning after the dew has dried.
If you pick when the first few petals are unfurling from the flower head, these flowers will keep longer, and will open within a day or so.
Let a few heads dry on the stems. Harvest these dried seeds for future planting. (If the squirrels and finches leave you any:)