Sept 25, ‘14
Another of my gardening goals for Garden ’14 was to grow a successful crop of sunflowers that were in full bloom by the end of August, for my birthday. I’m pleased to report that my goal has more than been met.
I’ve had a plethora of sunflowers growing in front of the house and in the garden close to the house along the south side. I’ve had a constant supply for bouquets of Sunflowers for more than a month. I can see them blossoming from my windows as I work about the house. The ones in front of the house grew higher than the raspberry bushes and I could see them from the street. The ones along the side of the house I could see as I drove down the street in my car. For a few weeks, before the inevitable slide of Summer into Fall, I felt like the Sunflower Queen. At the peak of summer, when the days were warm and sunny, I enjoyed many moments standing in the midst of them – sun on my face, bobbing bright yellow of sunflowers, the scent of earth and water and the sounds of buzzing bees.
I’ve grown sunflowers in recent years but nothing like I had this summer. There are still some blossoming as I write, I can see them from where I sit. I didn’t have good luck growing them when I lived on Culvert St mostly because of lack of space, poor soil and squirrel problems. I didn’t have great luck growing them here on Brookside Ave last summer, mostly because of squirrels and a woodchuck.
This past early spring I read an article about the health benefits of eating sunflower sprouts. I wasn’t so much interested in eating the sprouts as I was in how to grow them. In the past I started my proposed sunflower garden by planting the seeds in the ground. After I read the article on sprouting sunflowers I had the idea to sprout the seeds and when the sprouts were large enough, to plant them in the ground.
This is what worked for me this year, I think.
In early May I bought 3 packages of Russian Mammoth sunflower seeds and sprouted the seeds from package #1. I sprouted the seeds in a flat dish on 2 layers of very damp – not wringing wet — paper towels with 2 layers of very damp paper towels covering them. I made sure that the seeds had plenty of moisture without being drowned. It took 3-5 days for them to sprout. When those plants were an inch or so out of the shell, I planted them in soil in a windowsill planter. After they were 3 or so inches high, I planted them in the designated patch. In the meantime, I’d already begun sprouting the seeds in package #2 and continued this process throughout seed package #3. After all the seedlings were planted, I had sunflowers at various levels of growth. As they flourished and blossomed, I’ve had sunflowers in continual bloom for many weeks.
Back in the day when I was working more hours and had more money, my constant supply of sunflowers came from the floral department in my supermarket. If growing one’s own veggies (and flowers) is like printing one’s own money, the value of my recent sunflower bouquets has been like winning the lottery. Now, if only I could figure out how to grow them all winter….