Tips on growing sunflowers...

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by PirateGirl, May 7, 2018.

  1. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist Premium Member

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    I want to garden, but the weather's been bipolar and seems to snow whenever I have a day off work. At least this year it's kept me from planting anything prematurely.

    I have many challenges here beside the weather and I am trying to learn what actually grows and take tips from those who have had more success than I. (I planted catmint last year on a neighbor recommendation and the prairie dogs naturally don't eat it and it's already starting to grow back this year!)

    I have noticed sunflowers growing successfully at other homes in the town last summer and thought maybe this is something I could grow, and while not the vegetable I lust for, it's not just eye candy either because the chickens would love the seeds.

    Any tips on planting, growing, harvesting sunflowers? How do you choose what kind? Is there a kind that's better for chickens? A kind that's better in cold climates/short growing season?
     
  2. Dani & Mikey

    Dani & Mikey Songster

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    I can say this; when they say they will get up to 12’ they mean it! The first year I grew sunflowers I essentially made a canopy over the garden. So my advice is choose the type and the spot where you plant carefully!
    Here’s a picture from that year. See the tomatoes begging for some sun? Oops.
    81C55736-5AAA-4F11-B892-5EB8FF8F7D22.jpeg
     
    boz, Beer can, RUNuts and 7 others like this.
  3. Jamie Molihan

    Jamie Molihan Songster

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    wow, those are big plants. Poor tomatoes....
     
  4. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist Premium Member

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    What sort of soil depth do they need? I'm debating between 2 spots on my property.
     
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  5. Dani & Mikey

    Dani & Mikey Songster

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    I put the seeds in about an inch deep and at the end of the year the root balls on those suckers were bigger than basketballs! Our soil is pretty rich and loose so it worked well in the garden. A little too well...
     
    ChickenLady2014 likes this.
  6. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist Premium Member

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    @Dani & Mikey I'm just debating if they can go in one of my raised beds or if it won't be deep enough. I don't know if the roots grow down more or out more or equally in both directions?
     
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  7. Dani & Mikey

    Dani & Mikey Songster

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    Hmm. I am by no means an expert but it seemed to me that the roots grew equally in all directions. The root ball was totally round. Raised beds should work fine! Plus, there are lots of kinds of sunflowers that don’t grow to insane heights. I went with some of those this year.
    ;)
     
  8. bowden123

    bowden123 Hatching

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    Sunflower roots spread widely and can withstand some drought. However, it is best to water them regularly during their most important growth period which is about 20 days before and after flowering. Deep, regular watering helps encourage root growth, which is especially helpful with taller sunflower varieties bearing top-heavy blooms.
     
  9. RUNuts

    RUNuts Crowing

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    I planted Mammoth Sunflowers this year. They are at 6' and starting to bud. The 12' are impressive. Definitely give them plenty of space. Raised beds will just make them taller. If you are growing chicken feed, plant the BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds) and let the chickens clean up.

    Mine will eat the petals off the Black-eyed Susans. These are a smaller sunflower relative.
     
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  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    I use sunflowers as row markers in my garden. There is some talk about them being aleopathic, but I will neither agree or disagree with that statement.
     
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