How to plant sunflower seeds
Sunflowers are synonymous with summer like no other plant while they have large flowers with bright yellow petals that make you think of the scorching sun of the hot season. Being an annual plant, the brown centers of the sunflowers end up ripening and filling with seeds and then the plants die.
Some sunflowers reach more than 4 meters in height, although there are also varieties today developed for small spaces and containers.
Most sunflowers are remarkably tough and easy to grow as long as the soil is not too muddy. Most of them are tolerant of heat and drought. They make excellent decorative flowers and many are very appealing to bees and birds.
Sunflowers grow better in places where the sun is present (6 to 8 hours per day). They prefer the long and warm summers to bloom well.
Sunflowers have roots that need to spread, plants prefer soils well dug, loose and well drained. Make sure the floor is not too compact.
Find a well drained place and prepare your soil.
Although not very difficult, sunflowers develop in low acid to slightly alkaline soil (ph 6.0 to 7.5).
Sunflowers are greedy, the soil must be rich in nutrients with organic matter or composted manure (aged). Or, work in a slow-release granular fertilizer.
If possible, put seeds in a place that is sheltered from strong winds, perhaps along a fence or near a building.
Planting Your sunflower seeds
You can easily find sunflower seeds on Amazon.
It is best to sow sunflower seeds directly into the soil after the spring freeze has passed. Ideally, the soil temperature has reached more than 12 ° C.
Give the plants a lot of room, especially for the low-growth varieties that are ramifieront. Make rows of about 75 intervals. (For very small varieties, plants come closer.)
Plant large seeds at no more than 2 cm deep at about 15 cm intervals in mid-April to the end of May. You can plant multiple seeds and then keep the more robust ones where the snails have escaped.
A light application of fertilizer mixed at the time of planting will encourage strong root growth to protect them from the wind.
5 to 6 weeks of plantations will allow you to enjoy flowers throughout the summer.
If you see birds scratching to eat the seeds, spread nets on the area until the seeds germinate.
When the plant is small, watered around the root zone.
Unless the weather is exceptionally humid or dry, water once a week.
Feed the plants in moderation. Overfertilization may cause stem breakage in the fall. You can add diluted fertilizer in the water, while avoiding putting the fertilizer near the base of the plant.
Once larger, the plants require a support, the bamboo being a good choice because the flowers end up being very heavy.
Birds and squirrels will be interested in seeds. If you plan to harvest the seeds, deter pests with barrier devices. As the seed heads mature and the flowers fall, you can cover each of the flowers.
Sunflowers are relatively insect-free. A small grey moth sometimes lays its eggs in the flowers.
Mold, mildew and powdery mildew can also affect plants. If fungal diseases are spotted early, spray with a conventional fungicide.
For flower bouquets, cut the main stem just before its flower bud can open to encourage lateral flowers.
Cut the stems early in the morning. The harvest of flowers in the middle of the day can cause wilting of the flowers.
Gently manipulate the sunflower. The flowers must last at least one week in the water at room temperature.
Arrange the sunflowers in large containers that provide good support for their heavy heads and change the water every day to keep them.
Sunflower seed Crop
To harvest seeds, pay attention to maturity. The back of the flower head will move from green to yellow and the bracts will begin to dry and become brown. This occurs about 30 to 45 days after flowering and the moisture of the seeds is about 35%. Generally, when the head becomes brown, the seeds are usually ready for harvesting.
Cut the head of the plant(about 10 cm under the head of the flower) and remove the seeds with your fingers or a fork.
To protect the seeds of the birds, you can cover the flowers with a light cloth. Or, you can cut the flower head early and hang the head upside down until the seeds are dry. Hang inside or in a place that is safe from birds and mice.